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Karate (空手, karate) or Karate-do (空手道, karate-do) is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa-Ken, Japan from indigenous fighting methods and Chinese kenpo. It is primarily a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands and ridge-hands. Grappling, locks, restraints, throws, and vital point strikes are also taught in some styles. A karate practitioner is called a karateka (空手家, karate-ka). Kara (空) could be translated as "empty" and Te (手) could be translated as "hand". In it's full name, it is called Karate-do which in it's most simple and most popular translation means "The way of the empty hand".

Originally, karate meant "Chinese art" (唐手, karate or Tang-te). In Japanese the Chinese character Tang was read as Kara. However, in 1937 the meaning of karate was changed and it was read in Japanese as empty hand. If you want to see the "original" meaning and the reasoning for changing the Japanese characters of Karate-do, you may want to see the book Karate-do Kyohan by Gichin Funakoshi.


There are many different styles within karate. The four 'main styles' (Yondai Ryuha) recognized by the Japan Karate-do Federation (JKF) are Shotokan, Wado-ryu, Goju-ryu and Shito-ryu. The following is a list in alphabetical order of (almost) all styles within the karate world. If your style is not mentioned, please add your style to the list.