What is karate?

Karate is the Japanese (strictly speaking, Okinawan) martial art of unarmed combat that has been developed over the last several hundred years into an effective self defence form.

It uses punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open hand techniques such as knife-hands, spear-hands, and palm-heel strikes. It also has take-downs, throws, joint locks, restraints, and vital point strikes.

There are lots of different styles of karate all teaching slightly different approaches to achieve the same end. The main ones are Goju ryu, Wado ryu, Shito ryu, and Shotokan.

We study Goju ryu (“hard/soft style”, go-jew-roo) which is one of the main traditional Okinawan styles of karate, featuring a combination of hard and soft techniques. Hard (go, go) techniques are bit like boxing whereas soft (ju, jew) are more like judo.

We focus more on the soft side and so it’s particularly suitable for the very young and old or those who are more interested in technique than in brute force.

The mainstay of traditional karate are the kata (ka-tah). These are a series of movements containing all the particular techniques of karate. They start off quite basic but as you progress through the grades (belts) they become ever more complex.

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