History of Karate

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Karate originated on the island of Okinawa off the southern coast of Japan. However fighting systems had existed in Asia for thousands of years before the name 'Karate' was ever used. When the various martial arts that existed in China were practiced on Okinawa, they were collectively known as Tode, or Chinese Hand.

Okinawa also had its own systems of combat known as Te; the main ones being Naha-te, Shuri-te and Tomari-te. It was the fusion and development of these arts that became widely known as Kara-te when a council of Okinawan-te masters agreed the term in 1936.

Karate, or empty hand, was therefore never meant to be a 'style' in its own right; rather a global term to represent all unarmed fighting arts. Therefore, although the name 'Karate' is relatively new, the fighting art that we practice has a heritage of several thousand years.