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Karate (Empty Hand)

Karate has been practiced as a martial art for over 100 years. The discipline developed on the Japanese island of Okinawa, evolving from the Chinese martial arts that travelers introduced there. In the early 1900's, teachers were invited to mainland Japan to develop karate as part of the educational system.

Students practiced conditioning, strengthening, and range of motion exercises to prepare their bodies for blocking/parrying, footwork, and striking with the hands and feet. Self-defense training also included strikes with other parts of the body and using joint-locking techniques on an opponent.

In the 1950's, Japanese karate senseis (teachers) started to travel to other countries to establish karate dojos (schools). Many different styles and associations developed, usually led by a major karate sensei or shihan (master).

One of the most popular karate styles, Shotokan, was developed by karate master Gichin Funakoshi. Invited to Japan in 1922, Funakoshi's method quickly caught on in the universities. By the mid 1950's, Sensei Funakoshi's main group had incorporated as the Japan Karate Association, and tournaments in both kata (forms) and kumite (free-sparring) were being held.

Today, many associations and independent schools teach the Shotokan style. KUMA Karate-Do teaches Shotokan kata with influence from Takemasa Okuyama, 10th Dan, Kancho, Hachi O Kai International Budo Federation.

Kuma Karate-Do is also part of the World Karate Federation (WKF, www.wkf.net) pathway in Canada, through the Ontario Karate Federation and Karate Canada. The WKF is recognized by the International Olympic Committee, and one of the WKF's goals is to establish technical standards for the major styles of karate that competitors represent, including Shotokan. For more information, see the "Affiliations" page on this website.

In August, 2016, the IOC voted to include karate as a demonstration sport at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Athletes within the WKF will go through a qualifying process to compete in kata and kumite at this Olympiad.

 

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