University of Michigan
|What is Karate?
Karate may be defined as a weaponless means of self defense.
It consists of dynamic offensive and defensive
techniques using all parts of the body to their maximum advantage.
Karate practice is divided into:
In each category, the beginner is given instruction at the most basic
level until the techniques become spontaneous.
As the student progresses technically, he or she progresses physically as
well, and advanced practices demand greater stamina.
At this stage, the student becomes involved with more
intricate and difficult katas and more dynamic forms of kumite.
As the student approaches black belt level, technique, stamina, speed, and
become natural as a result of strong practice. It is at this stage that the
discovers that his or her study of karate has only just begun. The object of
practice is the perfection of oneself through the perfection of the art.
Karate as self-defense
Karate is one of the most dynamic of all the martial arts. A trained
karateka is able to coordinate mind and body perfectly, thereby allowing
the unleashing of tremendous physical power at will.
Therefore, it is not the possession of great physical strength that makes a
strong karateka; rather it is the ability to coordinate mind and body.
Upon developing this ability, even the smallest person finds that he or she
has within himself or herself the power to deliver a devastating blow to
any would-be attacker.
The benefits of karate
In our everyday lives we often forget the value of exercise to both our
physical and mental health. The practice of karate tones the body, develops
coordination, quickens reflexes, and builds stamina.
Also, the serious practice of karate develops composure, a clearer thought
process, deeper insight into one's mental capabilities, and more
self-confidence. In this, karate is
not an end, but a means to an end. It is an activity in which advancing age
is not a hindrance. Rather it encourages proficiency in the keen coordination
of mind and body.