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What is Karate?

This is probably one of your first questions. Understanding what karate is from the beginning and what it will do for you will largely determine whether karate is right for you.

The word karate, pronounced “ka-ra-te”, combines two Japanese characters: “kara”, meaning empty, and “te”, meaning hand; thus karate means “empty hand”, and therefore is classed as a weapon-less, or empty-handed form of fighting.

Karate, like most martial arts, was born out of a basic need to defend and protect oneself against armed and unarmed assailants. The physical training methods of karate are aimed at teaching you how to become a more efficient and effective fighter, thereby allowing you to better defend and protect yourself, if the need ever arise.

However, the ultimate goal of karate is more than a method of physical fighting skill, it is, as the modern founder of karate Ginchin Funakoshi so eloquently states, “a means of character development; the true nature of karate does not lie in the physical confrontation but in the pursuit of perfection of action through pure and truthful thought”.

Therefore, karate is a perfect way to condition the body, cultivate the mind & nurture the spirit.

Karate training

Karate training can be defined as a system of fighting, an aggregate of offensive and defensive techniques; a variety of blocks, strikes, evasions, throws, and joint manipulations that teach, through systematic moves, an effective method of fighting.

The training is designed to make all of those offensive and defensive moves, second nature, a reflex; so they happen naturally and without thought.

Therefore, the goal of Karate training is to turn every part of the body part into a weapon, and in turn, to train the body and the mind to react, under pressure, in specific situations in a specific way.

What is Kyokushin?

Kyokushin karate is a physically demanding and hard style of karate. It combines the fundamental elements of traditional karate, the basics, the Kata (patterns), with the free flowing style of full contact fighting to produce a system of karate that is unique, practical and effective.

The word “Kyokushin” is a combination of two Japanese characters: Kyoku, meaning extreme, and shin, meaning truth; thus Kyokushin is translated as “ultimate truth”. Adding the suffix “kai” to the word Kyokushin meaning, “to meet”, conveys the sense of people coming together striving for the common ideal.

Kyokushin kanji

The word Kyokushinkai translates to “Society of the Ultimate truth”, and embodies the spirit of Kyokushin, which is, to transcend the physical limitations of technique and attain the ideal of truth and character perfection through hard training.

Kyokushin karate is a mentally and physically demanding style of karate, one that does not suit all people, however, for those that do stick with it find the daily challenges rewarding and fulfilling.

See also Dojo Etiquette | Dojo Kun