Is Kata still useful in modern day martial arts? Is it still a useful training tool martial artists should practice?.
By Ben Lee
Karate history is very shrouded. Due to the fact there are no written records, everything was passed by word of mouth. What is known is that it started in Okinawa as a style called Te which was similar to wrestling.
When Okinawa started trading with other countries, mainly China they also traded fighting techniques. These techniques were mixed to make the first karate (translated china hand). Then after the samurai invaded Okinawa, karate more than likely took on some of the Japanese fighting arts.
This is only an educated guess as no one truly knows. When Karate travelled across to Japan, Master Funakoshi Changed the Way karate was written slightly So that it translated to empty hand rather than china hand. This was so the Japanese were more likely to accept it into there country. A lot of the techniques had their name changed to Japanese in order to fit.
Karate started as an Art for life or death circumstances and today is very effective as a self defence, but karate also offers so much more. Confidence, health and awareness as well as a heightened state of mind, although this takes years to achieve. There are many great benefits to practising karate.
Although the history of karate is shrouded there are many stories of real masters old and new. These stories tell of karate's prowess as a fighting art and also of karate's spiritual benefits.
I always remember the story of a great student of karate who was walking to Training early one morning. He took a shortcut through a field with a horse in it. While walking by the horse, it kicked out at him and started to buck. The karate student managed to avoid all of the kicks and subdue the horse. The great students master heard of this incident as the village was amazed at the student's abilities. The master looked down and when the student finally arrived, the master told him to leave and not train at his dojo (training hall) any more. The village asked the master why he had sent the student away, The master replied "The true karate student would have avoided the field sensing that it would be dangerous and walked a safer way instead of putting himself in danger like that".
I think this is a great story and there are many more like this but I'll save them for another time.
I hope this offers a small idea of where karate came from and what karate is about, There will be many more articles about karate coming so look out for them and thanks for reading
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