What is Karate?

You've probably heard of Karate. It's a martial art that is well-known for its use of striking, punching and kicking techniques. However, throws, locks and grappling methods are also used.

Where does Karate come from?

Modern Karate is a Japanese martial art. We don't quite know how Karate began, but it may have started hundreds of years ago in eastern Asia. It was developed on the island of Okinawa, which lies in the sea between Japan and China. When it was introduced to Japan in the 1900s, Karate became very popular and continued its development. Since then, the Japanese have introduced Karate to many other countries, and today it is one of the most familiar and popular martial arts in the world.

I've heard that there are different styles of Karate…

There are many different styles of Karate. At Ripley Aiwakai Karate Club, we study a style called Wado Ryu. It is one of the most well-known styles. Other major styles of Karate include Goju Ryu, Shito Ryu and Shotokan. If you're new to Karate, these styles may look quite similar to one other, but each has its own principles, methods and philosophy.

What is it like to train in Karate?

At our club, you will come across a number of different ways to train. You will certainly perform basic techniques, such as kicks, over and over again. You will learn a number of kata. A kata is a sequence of techniques which helps you to understand methods of combat and movement. You will practice "partner work", in which you practice methods of attack and defence with another person. You will train in free-fighting or sparring, which improves your timing, movement, speed and distance. You will also get to use modern training equipment such as kick-shields and focus pads.

Why do Karate students wear coloured belts?

To show that your Karate is getting better, you have to pass a test called a "grading" every few months. In order to pass the test, you must perform all the techniques you have been practicing. Each time you pass a grading, you may wear a coloured belt to demonstrate your level of ability. When you begin Karate, you wear a white belt. After months and years of training and improving, you might eventually be awarded a black belt. Some people think that when they gain a black belt, it's the end of their training. They're wrong! Karate takes a lifetime to learn. To be successful, you must train hard, keep learning and have the desire to improve.

Why is it worth learning Karate?

There are so many benefits to training in Karate that I can't list them all! Karate can give you self-defence and combat skills. It can improve your balance, co-ordination, strength, fitness, endurance and overall health. It can give you confidence, self-discipline and a feeling of achievement.

[Top] [Main Page]