“The practitioner will develop physical fitness, mental focus, and spirit. Ultimately, freedom from our own self-imposed limitations is the reward of serious karate training.”
Karate originated on the island of Okinawa as an art of unarmed combat. The word “karate” comes from the two words “kara” (empty) and “te” (hand). Karate is therefore known as the art of the empty hand. It teaches students to use distance, evasive movement, and blocking to evade an adversary’s attack and respond with powerful strikes using the hands and feet.
Karate has since evolved into Karate-do, a “way” or method of self-development. As such, it has distinctive characteristics that differentiate it from a mere system of unarmed combat.
Combining the study of a fighting discipline with the traditional Japanese philosophy associated with such training, the student develops not only fighting skill, but also the ethical, philosophical, and restraint characteristics required of a person with such training.
As in many oriental endeavors, to westerners the results appear contradictory. Reputable karate instructors teach martial skills in order that they are not used. Therefore, this philosophical and sometimes unexplainable approach has been called “Martial Art”, stressing the “Art”. Formally this is called Karate-do and character development becomes the ultimate aim. In practical terms this means developing physically, mentally and spiritually. Since every student of Karate-do is unique, some may look for greater physical health and others for mental and spiritual health. The aim however is to develop all in a balanced harmonious way. And, since Karate-do is taught in a strenuous and disciplined manner, it also acts as a means of “weeding- out” those of weak character who might use karate techniques dishonorably.
The training will test and challenge your mind, body and spirit. It is in facing and overcoming these challenges that personal growth occurs. This doesn’t mean however, that students who are weak-minded or weak in body will fail in their training. In fact, they are encouraged to train and will inevitably find these attributes within themselves diminish with every practice. By adopting a measured and steady approach to training the practitioner will develop physical fitness, mental focus, and an indomitable sense of spirit.
For many practitioners the Dojo (school) becomes a refuge from the stress of everyday life, a place where they can face themselves, in an introspective process of personal growth.
Ultimately, freedom from our own self-imposed limitations is the reward of serious karate training.