Karate is a widely practiced martial art that is rich in history and tradition. In addition to teaching self-defense techniques, it also has many other known benefits that include: improving physical and mental health, building self-esteem, and strengthening self-confidence while providing an effective and enjoyable workout.

Have we convinced you to sign up for karate classes yet? If so, here are five karate facts you should know before you learn karate.

  1. Origins:
    • Karate is a martial art that originated in Okinawa, Japan as a form of protection for the Okinawan people. It can be traced back to the late 17th century when it was created in response to a ban on weapons that was imposed by the samurai rulers of Japan. However, it wasn’t until after World War II that karate was popularized worldwide thanks to the efforts of the Japan Karate Association, which was founded in 1948.
  2. The definition:
    • The word karate translates to “Empty Hand”, which comes from the combination of two Japanese characters: kara, which means empty, and te, which means hand. These words were chosen to describe karate because it is a striking art that uses open-handed techniques and detailed patterns of movements referred to as the Karate Kata.
  3. The ten elements of kata are: 
    • Yoi No Kisin- Concentration of readiness
    • Inyo – Active and passive movements
    • Chikara No Kyojaku – The correct application of strength
    • Waza No Kankyu- Speed of movement
    • Tai No Shinshuku – Expansion and contraction of the body and movement
    • Kokyu – Breathing relative to movement
    • Tyakugan – Focus, aiming points
    • Kiai – Demonstrating martial spirit
    • Keitai No Hoji – Correct stance, positioning, angles and movement
    • Zanshin – Remaining on guard, staying mentally focused
  4. Colors:
    • White is the most common and traditional gi color.The belt rank colors are (from beginner to master) white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, red and black.
  5. Olympic Debut:
    • Karate will debut as an Olympic sport at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, where it will join judo, taekwondo, and wrestling as the only Olympics-approved martial arts for 2020. Both men and women will compete in two karate events: kata, which is a solo form discipline, and kumite, which is sparring based.