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What is karate?
 Ref:  Karate Canada

What is karate?

The Origins of Karate


The word "karate" (or karate-dō) could be translated as "way of the empty hand". It refers to a traditional martial art and modern combat sport that developed in the Ryukyu Islands, now known as Okinawa, Japan.

Karate spread around the world during the 20th century and quickly became an extremely popular activity, particularly because of the many benefits, values and healthy lifestyle it promotes. It is estimated that approximately 100 million people practice karate in the world today.


The sport of karate


Over time, karate has become a very well structured and organized sport worldwide. Created in 1990, the World Karate Federation (WKF) is the largest governing body for sport karate, with over 130 member countries. It is the only karate federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee and has more than ten million members.

The WKF organizes the World Junior and Senior Karate Championships, which are held every two years, and continental federations such as the Pan American Karate Federation (PKF) hold continental junior and senior championships each year. These bring together the best athletes from all member national federations (for example, the Pan American Karate Championships, to which Karate Canada sends its national teams each year). Karate is also included in the Pan American Games (a multi-sport competition held every four years).


To the delight of the international karate community, the International Olympic Committee recently announced that karate will be included in the Tokyo 2020 Games in both kata (forms) and kumite (fighting) categories.

To the delight of the international karate community, the International Olympic Committee recently announced that karate would be included in the program of the Tokyo Games in 2020 in the kata (forms) and kumite (fighting) categories.

Main benefits


The practice of karate (in its more traditional form or as a modern sport) provides many benefits, regardless of the age of the participants:

  • Improved health and fitness (strength, balance, flexibility, cardiovascular health, coordination, etc.)

  • Improved ability to concentrate and increased energy;

  • The acquisition of self-defense skills;

  • Improved confidence and self-esteem.

Other Benefits


Promotes the development of life skills

Karate builds character; it instills and promotes important values and life skills such as discipline, respect, perseverance, integrity, honor, sportsmanship, problem solving and peaceful conflict resolution.


For everyone


Karate is accessible to people of all ages, men and women, even those with disabilities. And unlike many other sports, karate is very affordable. To train and learn, all you need is a uniform (gi) and access to a recognized dojo (club and coach).

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