What are the Styles and Core Values of Karate?
The study of martial arts, such as Karate, is a journey that transforms the mind, body, and spirit. It involves rigorous physical fitness training, a heightened focus on self-defense techniques, and learning core values passed down from martial arts masters for centuries. Studying Karate not only provides you with the tools to protect yourself, but it also arms you with a peaceful mindset determined to avoid conflict.
Although Karate, as a distinct discipline, may be younger than other ancient martial arts systems, a dedicated student gains a wealth of benefits. If you are considering learning Karate at a self-defense studio, these are things to consider.
What is Karate?
“True karate is this: that in daily life one’s mind and body be trained and developed in a spirit of humility, and that in critical times, one be devoted utterly to the cause of justice,” Gichin Funakoshi said.
The fundamental principle instilled by the martial arts founder, Gichin Funakoshi, is that “you never attack first in Karate.” That’s largely because Karate places an equal or higher value on self-discipline and ethical practices above the punches, strikes, and kicks used to protect oneself.
Funakoshi reportedly brought the practice to Japan in 1917, and the word Karate has its roots in Chinese characters that essentially mean the “empty hand way.” Those who dedicate themselves to the study of Karate are tasked with developing themselves as a complete person. This involves striving for excellence in all things of the mind, body, and spirit.
Like many Eastern martial arts, Karate migrated to the United States, where it was introduced as a type of hand-to-hand combat in the armed forces during the 1940s. By the 1960s, Karate had become something of a phenomenon in North America. Karate studios opened, and Americans began to put their imprint on styles and techniques.
What are the Different Types of Karate?
Although there are several popular sub-genres of Karate, four traditional styles were established by Funakoshi and his students. While each has differing techniques, they all rely on the core principles of the original Okinawan Karate. These include the following.
- Goju-ryu: This style was developed during the early 1930 and is recognized by its counter-strike moves and circular blocking strategies and breathing techniques. Its defensive postures resemble Jujitsu in many ways.
- Shotokan-ryu: This style was developed by Funakoshi after relocating from Okinawa to Tokyo in 1938. Shotokan is known for wide stances that allow practitioners to deploy efficient and powerful strikes. Its distribution of blows from the elbows, knees, hands, and feet makes it among the most prevalent and popular styles on a global scale.
- Wado-ryu: Considered an offshoot of Shotokan, Wado also emulates Jujitsu in many ways. Instead of teaching self-defense through strikes, students learn to avoid body blows using fluid motions and short stances.
- Shito-ryu: Developed by Kenwa Mabuni in 1928, Shito teaches almost the precise opposite of Wado. This style emphasizes the use of powerful blows. It also places a high value on technique mastery, as evidenced by practitioners learning more than 50 katas.
- Shaolin Kempo: A relatively modern form of martial arts developed by Grandmaster Fredrick J. Villari during the 20th Century that combines Eastern and Western self-defense traditions. The disciple focuses on strikes, kicks, felling, and grappling into a system that helps eliminate perceived flaws in other art forms. Using elements of Kung Fu, Karate, Jujitsu, Mongolian wrestling, and classic Western boxing techniques, Shaolin Kempo emerged as a comprehensive martial art during the 1960s and 1970s.
Outside the four traditional branches of Karate are schools of thought such as Kyokushin-ryu, Shorin-ryu, Uechi-ryu, and Isshin-ryu, among others. Although not as well known, the appropriate study of self-defense, coupled with personal and spiritual growth is generally respected.
Benefits of Studying Karate
Like other martial arts, Karate provides physical fitness benefits that include improved muscle tone, flexibility, cardiovascular health, and endurance. Cognitive benefits such as enhanced concentration and memory have been well-documented. But perhaps the greatest benefit to studying Karate stems from the values it engrains in youngsters. These include the following.
Karate is generally considered appropriate for young children. The core values, work ethic, and mental aspects of practicing martial arts typically translate into sound social skills and better study habits.
How to Get Started Learning Martial Arts
The United Studios of Self Defense Vancouver offers world-class instruction in three different types of self-defense and martial arts: Shaolin Kempo, Tai Chi, and Kung Fu. We offer both group instruction and one-on-one classes to fit your schedule and instruction needs. We offer classes for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced in each of the above three disciplines. Classes are available for both adults and children. If you or a family member would benefit from learning Shaolin Kempo or another martial art, contact United Studios of Self Defense Vancouver today.
Contact USSD Vancouver
The United Studios of Self Defense (USSD) Vancouver offers world-class instruction in three different types of self defense and martial arts: Tai-Chi, Kung Fu, and Shaolin Kempo. We offer both group instruction and one-on-one classes to fit your schedule and instruction needs. We offer classes for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced in each of the above three disciplines. Classes are available for both adults and children.
Contact us today to learn more about our martial arts programs or to set up a time to visit one of our classes in person. Our instructors work with students at every age and stage of martial arts development and are dedicated to helping you cultivate self defense skills that meet your goals and make you feel great about yourself.
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