Karate Essay

1399 words - 6 pages

Martial Arts Grade 10 Contracted gym October 28, 1996 Martial Arts Levi 2 The word karate literally means "the art of empty hands." It is the most widely practiced of all the martial arts. Karate is a sport and a means of self-defense that uses the body as a weapon in striking, kicking, and blocking. In Japan, where it is called karate-do, it involves discipline of the mind as well as of the body. Unlike judo and aikido, it is not a grappling or throwing sport. There are hundreds of varieties of karate, stemming from the intense rivalry among teachers of the art. Some of which will be touched upon in this report.In the early 6th century AD, Bodhidharma, an Indian priest and knight, brought Zen Buddhism to China along with a system of 18 self-defense exercises. The exercises evolved into a form of boxing, which spread, with Zen, throughout China and in the 12th century reached Japan. Karate originated in Okinawa many centuries ago, where it was based on combat techniques imported from China. It was not called karate until it was introduced into Japan early in the 20th century by Gichin Funakoshi. It was he who gave the art its present name in 1935 to differentiate it from Okinawan types that used weapons. Its worldwide popularity came about after World War II, when many United States servicemen stationed in Japan discovered it. The martial arts are popular in many parts of the world today as means of self-defense, law enforcement tactics, competitive sports, and exercises for physical fitness. Among the better known forms are karate, kung fu, Levi 3 jujitsu, judo, aikido, tai chi chuan, tae kwon do, sumo wrestling, and kendo.The language of karate is chiefly Japanese. A karate training hall or gym is called a dojo, and the white, pajamalike garment worn in all training is called the gi. More than 200 specific Japanese terms are used for the various blows and moves that are employed in movement sequences called kata.Degrees of achievement are formally recognized in karate training, each represented by a cloth belt of a particular color worn around the gi, the usual colors being, in ascending order, white, orange, blue, green, purple, brown, and black. Qualifications for belts differ from school to school, depending upon the style and standard of karate taught. The black belt, or dan, signifies the highest proficiency in karate and, like the other belts, is itself qualified by degrees of honor or skill, the highest dan being the ninth or tenth degree. Karate has strict rules of etiquette. Students entering or leaving the training room, or dojo, execute a standing bow, and they perform a kneeling bow in front of the teacher. Students wear white uniforms made up of a jacket and pants. Beginners wear the white belt. Training is done according to grades, and each student must show proficiency in his grade before passing to the next rank. There are two kinds of karate competition: individual and sparring between two opponents. Individuals are judged on...

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