Ever saw the guys fighting in a white robe with colorful belts and using kicks as well as punches and grapplings with an energetic shout? Yes, it is a famous martial art known as Karate. There is hardly any chance of anyone not hearing its name. irrespective of its origin, it is popular and has got practitioners in many countries. It is basically a striking art that uses kicks and punches. However, in modern styles, it is modified to a large extent and many joint locks, submission holds, grappling and throwings are also taught.
The training is divided into 3 stages-
KIHON – It covers the basic fundamentals of Karate and rules, regulations, and disciplines regarding it.
KATA – It introduces different forms of the martial art
KUMITE – It involves sparrings with different players, competitors or practitioners.
Was Karate originated in China? Is it from Korea? Or is it from Japan? The history and origin of anything are always interesting. This martial art has also an interesting history and a long road to walk from the old days to the modern world.
Karate was developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom of Okinawa, Japan. During the 1500s, traders from China visited Okinawa. Some of them taught the people of Okinawa the art of Kung Fu. The Okinawans combined the art of Kung Fu with their native fighting styles. It was originally known as “Te” meaning hand. It was well introduced again to Japan when Okinawa became a part of Japan in the 20th century by Master Gichin Funakoshi and at that time was known as Karate-Do. Sometimes he is called as founder of Karate.
In 1917 Master Funakoshi gave the first public demonstration of Karate. The Japanese government also gave lots of support in its development. In 1924, Keio University to open a Karate club. In the 1930s, this martial art reached Canada. The Japan Karate Association or JKA was founded in 1948. In 1950, This martial art made its way to reach the United Kingdom. After some time, this martial art started to make a very good reputation not only in Japan but in other countries as well. And with huge support, it started to spread very quickly. Many different styles and forms like Shotokan, Kyokushin, etc, were introduced.
2.Different Forms of Karate
There are 10 different styles of Karate. Each and everyone is very effective and best at their own levels. The effectiveness of the moves of this martial art does not depend upon the styles but the hard work and time the practitioners have invested in that particular move. The different styles of this fabulous martial art are:
It is the oldest form of Karate. Master Gichin Funakoshi founder of Karate and his poetry name was Shoto. So in his honor, this form of martial art was named Shotokan. Many believe that the famous Korean martial art, Taekwondo is the modified version of Shotokan Karate.
The word Kyokushin means “society for the ultimate truth”. This style gives intense training to promote physical, social, and mental wellness. It helps to learn self-discipline a lot.
This style is a mixture of Karate and jiujutsu. In its name, Wa stands for peace while Do stands for truth. It focuses on making its practitioner a better person rather than sport views where the main objective is to win.
This style mainly focuses on balancing yourself as well as your mind. It involves different ways of using your hands to strike your opponent.
It was created by Master Teruo Hayashi in Okinawa. It
involves building big muscles and developing the power to produce strikes and
neutralize your opponents.
This style teaches the handling of different weapons. Nunchucks are among the most popular
weapons used in this art. These are made with rice flails.
Shaolin Kempo Karate
This is the combination of Karate, Kempo, and Shaolin. It involves all the four elements of kicking, punching, grappling, and takedowns.
This style was developed in Okinawa by Shoken Matsumura. It helps in defending yourself from multiple opponents.
It was developed by Kenbun Uechi in China. Later, he moved to Okinawa and spread this art there. This style consists of 8 different series or Katas.
It believes in the principle of hitting just one or two blows to neutralize the opponents. It focuses on the study of the most vulnerable areas even the areas below the waist. It was developed by Tatsuo Shimabuku who taught this art to many United States Marines due to which it got huge popularity.
If we talk about martial arts especially of Taekwondo and Karate then who will forget those colorful belts. But do you really know what is the significance of these belts or what does each and every belt meant? The rankings of the belts are as follows in increasing order (the 1st one being of lowest and last one is of the highest rank:
It represents the start of the martial art journey for the
student. The white color signifies that the student is of a clean mind and soul
and have the willingness to learn.
It represents that the student has completed their beginner
lessons. It signifies the rising rays of hopes in the heart of the student.
As the sun rays become brighter, it changes from light
yellow to dark orange. The orange color signifies that the student has got more
lights in his or her carrier. This belt is awarded to those students who have
completed their fundamental training.
The green belt represents the maturity of the student. Just like a seed matured and a green plant comes out of it. Similarly, a green belt is awarded when his or her skills got matured enough.
As a green plant grows and reaches towards the blue sky
similarly, the green belt student evolves and got promoted to blue belt.
As the student develops, his training as well his thoughts
got deeper so do the belt color from blue to purple.
Just like a ripening seed, the student also got matured for
the advanced level of training. So he is awarded a brown color belt which is a
color of a ripened seed. In some variations, the red belt is not
there but there are 3 brown belts- the 3rd kyu, 2nd kyu,
and 1st kyu respectively.
Just like a spectacular sunset is red in color, a student
also almost got to the end of the training. The color represents the hard work
and dedication of the student towards art.
It symbolizes the end of the journey. As the day starts with lights and ends with dark so does the color of the belts from white to black. It may be the end of the Karate journey but it’s the beginning of the new journey for the highest ranks of the Master. It consists of a black belt from 1st dan to 10th dan.
Karate is not just influential in Japan anymore. It is widely popular all over the world. A practitioner of this martial art needs to know that it is not just about kicks or punches. It’s about gaining complete peace of body and mind through physical movement.
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