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Who's Who in

Fumio Demura
Gichin Funakoshi
Chojun Miyagi
Mas Omaya
Gogen Yamaguchi
Ray Geraneo
Hidy Ochiai
Tak Kubota

Kenneth Funakoshi
Tsutomu Ohshima
Hironori Otsuka

Sokon Matsumura
Tatsuo Shimabuku

History of Karate

Discuss Karate with other enthusiasts

Karate (空手, Karate) or karate-dō (空手道, karate-dō?) is a martial art that developed from a synthesis of indigenous Ryukyuan fighting methods and Chinese kempo. "Karate" originally meant Te, or hand, i.e. Chinese hand, which was later changed to a homonym 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 (空手家).

Originally, karate training did not use a ranking system, however, Gichin Funakoshi (船越 義珍 Funakoshi Gichin, 1868�1957) adopted the idea from judo founder Jigoro Kano using an identical scheme with a very limited set of belt colors.

As karate became more widespread there was a corresponding increase in the variation of rank numbers and belt colors. In traditional schools there are ten ranks of "color belt", referred to as kyu, and five or more dan or "black belt" ranks, with ten being the most common, or eleven if the rank of probational black belt (shodan-ho) is used. It is common for extensive periods of time to be required to pass before being allowed to test for promotion, and Jyudan is frequently awarded only after a notable karateka has passed away.

  • Shodan-ho
  • Shodan
  • Nidan
  • Sandan
  • Yondan
  • Godan
  • Rokudan
  • Shichidan
  • Hachidan
  • Kyudan
  • Jyudan

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