WHAT IS KARATE? Karate or karate-do is a martial art of Okinawan origin. Rather than being the product of any one person, culture or era, karate is a synthesis of various Okinawan fighting methods, enhanced intermittently with various forms of Chinese kung fu. In modernity, it is categorized by some as budo, introduced to the Japanese main islands from Okinawa in 1921 by various Okinawan practitioners who migrated to Japan during the early 20th century.
"Karate" originally meant Tang hand, i.e. Chinese hand, which was later changed to a meaning 'empty hand' in Japanese It is known primarily as a striking art, featuring punching, kicking, knee/elbow strikes and open handed techniques. However, grappling, joint manipulations, locks, restraints/traps, throws and vital point striking also appear in karate. A practitioner of karate is called a karateka.
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