By Marco Martins
Listen to this post as a podcast.
Tie up your gee, take your stance and remember your training. The moment has arrived. Your opponent stands opposite you, glaring into your eyes.
He is prepared for the fight.
The Question is, are you?
The crowd cheers. Your heart thumps in your chest. Your opponent steps forward and strikes. You block this attack and respond with a punch to the chest that sends him stumbling. The crowd roars at this display of artistry because that is precisely what Karate is, a martial art.
Let’s explore this ancient discipline in greater detail.
History of Karate
Karate is an ancient form of self-defence that comes from Japan. It comes from a time in Okinawa before it was even a part of Japan.
The word “Karate” means “Way of the Empty Hand”. Not just the “Empty Hand” but “Way” too. This word was an essential part of Karate’s history because immediately, the people who started practicing karate realised that it was more than just a fighting technique. It was also a way to improve themselves through discipline and focus.
As early as the 1900s, Karate was introduced to Japanese schools as part of a fitness program. People could see that karate had great benefits, for the body, the mind and the soul.
During World War Two American soldiers began to learn Karate in Japan. Eventually, after the war, they took Karate back home with them. From here Karate started to spread all over the world.
Practice Your Katas
The great thing about Karate is that you don’t need any equipment to practice it. All you need are your katas. A kata is a choreographed set of movements that you practice, repeatedly. Every kata is a combination of defensive and attacking motions that train your body to react to attacks of all kinds.
When you become serious about karate, your katas become more than just something you do. They become your steps to become a part of the Karate family. This climbing of the Karate ranks happens through Karate Gradings, tests where you receive your belts.
The Karate Grading System
While you don’t need equipment to start your formal Karate career, you will need a uniform. This uniform is a white suit, and it’s called a “gi”. Along with your gi, you’ll need a belt to tie around you. These belts come in different colours, and no, you can’t just pick your favourite! Every belt is earned, beginning with white.
White belt is your first belt in Karate. It means that you’re a beginner and you’ve only just started your learning journey. White is followed by yellow, gold, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, red and finally black. A “black belt” in Karate means that you’re the kind of person that knows how to protect, defend, disarm and calm other people.
If you’re disciplined and serious about learning, you can become a black belt in 5 years. That’s two gradings a year, and a whole lot of katas that you’ll be practicing every day.
The Inspiring Karate Movie
If you’re curious to learn more about Karate and everything that it can do for you, consider watching The Karate Kid.
It’s an all-time classic film, about a boy that is tired of getting beaten up and wants to learn how to fight. What he doesn’t know is that Karate is so much more than just the power that comes with being able to compete. It teaches him more about the depths within himself than he ever thought were there.
With all that Karate can teach you, when are you going to give it a try for yourself?