A Brief History Of Karate

While it is hard to pinpoint the exact origins of karate, it is agreeable that the earliest forms have been around for several hundred years. It is important for children to know the history of karate as it can help increase their interest, as well as understand the basic principles. Karate has a rich history that has spread the art across the world, to what is now one of the most popular forms of martial arts. This is a simplified history of karate that can help children understand the foundations of how karate has risen to where it is today.

According to ancient Okinawan legend, early fighting styles were brought to China by and Indian Buddhist monk. That monk was known as Bodhidharma. While living at the Shaolin Temple in Honan Province, Bodhidharma taught other monks his philosophies. Bodhidharma believed that one could strengthen the mind and condition the body through self-defense. These philosophies were then passed down to new students before arriving in Okinawa through a monk who had also lived at the temple.

Karate then went through years of development and amalgamation with other fighting styles. After this, the self-defense method of karate that we know today was introduced to mainland Japan in the early 1900’s. Gichin Funakoshi was one of the Okinawan karate masters that introduced karate to the mainland and is considered the founding father of modern karate. The name karate-do was coined by Gichin Funakoshi, which literally translates to “the empty hand way”. There are many styles of karate as with other martial arts, due to the amalgamation of different arts and development over the years, however, Funakoshi’s Shotokan Karate-Do is considered one of the most widely known styles of today.

During the American occupation of Japan following world war two, many US servicemen were able to watch the Japanese performing karate as part of drills and exercises. Due to the fascination and curiosity, the servicemen joined in. When the American’s were posted back home in the early 1950’s, many of them began teaching the art they had learned, and thus modern karate was introduced to the US. By the mid-1960s, karate’s popularity had boomed, resulting in many countries offering Japanese teachers the option of teaching karate on a permanent basis. Following the huge rise in popularity, karate movies birthed great stars like Bruce Lee and dojos were opening up worldwide.

Today, with millions of karate students worldwide, the art is an alive as ever. The popularity of this art continues to grow, which is a testament to benefits that be enjoyed as a student. Karate is now so popular that almost every country worldwide offers at least one club and is practiced by many people from all different walks of life. So while it is hard to trace the exact origins of this art, it is fair to say that is has helped and inspired millions of people throughout the years to achieve great things, and as a student of karate, perhaps it could help you too.