Karate is a Japanese Martial art with many different levels of training. It is widely recognized as a sport and an art of self-defense. While there are many extensive physical aspects of this martial art, it also incorporates psychological elements and leadership techniques.
The practice of karate relies on different forms, patterns, and interpretations. Techniques employ kata (forms), kumite (sparring), kokoro (attitude), and kobudo (weapons training). Kata is a series of movements that demonstrate psychical principles of a combat attack. Kumite employs grappling, punching, and kicking in a competitive environment, most notably during tournaments. Kokoro an integral part of Karate, as itís believed to be its center. Without heart and character, you will not be self-improved through this martial art. Lastly, kobudo refers to training of traditional weaponry.
Although Karate is now considered a sport by many, it was introduced as an art of self-defense. At that time, only three obi-belts were used in Japan as a system of rank. The colors were white, brown, and black. Each belt color consisted of several levels. It was only after Karate became so popularized and widespread that additional colors of obi were introduced.
The development of Karate took place during a time of political conflict and wars. Gichin Funakoshi founded Shotokan karate and attributed to spreading and popularizing karate on the main islands of Japan. In 1936, after some of the highest level martial arts masters met together, they announced the introduction of karate, which originated in Okinawa. Some of these major masters of Karate are Chojun, Chomo Hanashiro, Kentsu Yabu, Chotoku Kyan, Genwa Nakasone, Choshin Chibana, Choryo Maeshiro and Shinpan Shiroma.
Okinawa is a significant region for martial arts because it used to be a political center ruled by King Sho Hashi who banned weapons. This prohibition encouraged the development of unarmed combat. Little did these men who helped make karate official know what the future would hold for Karate, including it inclusion in the Olympics and the way Karate functions as an integral part of popular culture.