The Beginnings of Karate

Karate dates back more than 1400 years to Daruma, the Western Indian monk who founded Zen Buddhism. Daruma is said to have brought Buddhism to China and combined spiritual and physical teaching techniques into his teaching style. Many of his followers would frequently pass out from exhaustion due to his methods’ rigour, which laid the foundation for the martial art known as Karate.

Karate is now a popular martial art that has developed from a crude form of self-defence into a competitive sport with precise regulations. The history of karate, current training techniques, game theory, the evolution of the sport, and distinctions between Kumite and Kata will all be covered in this article.

How It Began

Legends abound on the origins of Karate’s influences. One of them claims that it was transported from India to China thousands of years ago by the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma, who arrived in the region to impart the form of boxing that strengthens both the body and the mind.

This myth might be true if Bodhidharma visited southern China. For instance, there are many parallels between “southern kung fu” forms and the traditional Japanese martial art when you compare the kung fu styles south of the Yangtze River. Just look at the fundamental stance and strikes; this idea has a solid foundation!

Who Invented Karate?

In its early phases, karate was known as “Te” on Ryukyu Island in Japan. Okinawan masters Sokon Matsumura and Sakugawa Kanga served as the first instructors. Later, this form developed into contemporary karate.

Japanese karate is thought to have been officially founded by Gichin Funakoshi. Gichin Funakoshi had instructions from Yasutsune and Anko Itosu, who helped him become a master in Okinawan Karate.

To witness a martial arts display of Okinawan Karate, the Japanese emperor Hirohito paid him a visit. Gichin Funakoshi established Shotokan Karate, which is sometimes referred to as “modern Karate.”

What Was Karate’s Purpose?

Karate, often known as “empty hand,” was a martial technique used for self-defence against intruders.

During a time in the history of Japanese karate when carrying a weapon was prohibited (such as in the former Ryukyu Kingdom), individuals were forced to acquire Okinawan martial arts in order to protect themselves from intruders.

This was in the early 1600s when King Shoha conquered Okinawa. The people, unable to bear arms took up unarmed martial arts to learn to defend themselves.

The Japanese Karate Association was founded in 1948 by Gichin Funakoshi, and by 1955, Karate was ingrained in Japanese society. The first dojo was opened in Yotsuya, Tokyo in 1955.

After the conclusion of WWII, karate’s popularity began to rise in Japan, and as masters began to emigrate it soon became the world’s fasted growing martial art. Shotokan Karate is the most popular style of Karate today with over 6 million students across 190 different countries.


If you are interested in beginning your karate journey, The Powerhouse Academy offers age-specific Shotokan karate programs to properly challenge you in the right environment.

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