Karate, which literally means ‘bare hand’, is a Japanese martial art for both self-defense and attack. Historically, karate was conceived as a full fledged martial art, which included unarmed combat with the use of bladed arms, firearms, and throwing weapons.


In addition, some karate styles included training in various military tactics and other aspects of warfare.

Karate in the Game program


  • Karate has both beginner ranks — ‘kyu‘ and master ranks — ‘dans‘. Typically, there are ten ranks, but their actual number may vary depending on the style of karate.
  • Karate is still developing today, as each great master attempts to add some of his own techniques, which often gives rise to a new style. 
  • A Black Belt is always unique to its holder, and is embroidered with his name and dan rank. The manufacturing technology is different from that used for the coloured belts: it is made to be more durable, as it is granted only once, when the master is awarded their rank.


Traditional karate is a type of hand-to-hand combat which has its origins in the island of Okinawa. It was based on older Chinese wushu styles and later diverged into various schools (styles). In the 20th century this martial art started to be practised outside Okinawa and gained popularity throughout the whole of Japan. The Shotokan karate school, which teaches the style of the same name, was founded in 1936. It was later recognised as a classical karate style. In Shotokan, speed and accuracy count for more than the physical power of a blow.

In 1948 the Japanese Karate Association was founded. Since that date karate has been evolving both as a system of self-defense and as a sport. Karate soon became increasingly popular at a global level — the first All Japan Karate Championship was held in 1957 and the first World Cup in (unofficial) full-contact style karate was held in Chicago in 1963. In 1957 the Japan Karate-Do Federation was established, followed by the European Karate Union in 1959 and the World United Karate Organisation in 1970. In 1990 a number of organisations merged to form the World Karate Federation, which represents the sport in the International Olympic Committee. In 2020, karate along with four other disciplines, became an Olympic sport. Today over 20 million people worldwide do karate.

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