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Karate – the Most Versatile Martial Art?

Funakoshi Gichin Karate Demonstration (on the right)

Modern Karate consists of three main pillars - Kihon, Kata, Kumite. When it comes to the types of techniques, there are blocks (uke waza), punches (tsuki waza), kicks (keri waza) and throws (nage waza), not to mention that there are 25 katas, each consisting of 20-67 movements[1]. And so, the variations of how to practice karate are almost limitless. This is not the only thing that makes karate versatile and there are other factors that contribute to it.

There are numerous elements that make Karate extremely flexible, compared to other martial arts. Funakoshi outlines the following elements that make it unique.

1. No space or equipment needed.

If you think about it, you don’t need a lot of space to practice karate techniques, you don’t need a specialized area either. You can do it at home or even in the backyard. Karate essentially does not require any equipment but rather trains using your whole body as a weapon.

2. Can practice in a team or by yourself.

There are so many ways you can develop your techniques, whether you train with or without a partner, in a group or by yourself. You can adjust your training to fit different objectives depending on whether you are training with a partner or by yourself.

3. Karate is adaptable.

Karate is truly a tool for development no matter your level and the way you practice evolves with time and changes.

It is also worth mentioning that you can practice karate regardless of your age or physical condition. It is suited for kids and well as adults and seniors and has a lot of room for adjustment when it comes to one’s physical ability. It is truly an amazing tool for physical development, as you can adjust your training to suit your personal level and still push yourself to the best of your ability.


冨名腰義珍 『琉球拳法唐手』 榕樹書林、2006.

船越義珍 『空手道一路』、株式会社講談社、1976.

[1] In this article we are referring to Shotokan Karate only, we are not exploring other styles or schools.


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