/keuh rah"tee/, n.1. a method developed in Japan of defending oneself without the use of weapons by striking sensitive areas on an attacker's body with the hands, elbows, knees, or feet. Cf. judo, jujitsu.2. a sport based on this method of self-defense.[1950-55; < Japn, equiv. to kara empty + te (earlier *tai) hand(s)]
* * *Martial art in which an attacker is disabled by crippling kicks and punches.Emphasis is on concentration of as much of the body's power as possible at the point and instant of impact. Striking surfaces include the hand (particularly the knuckles and the hand's outer edge), ball of the foot, heel, forearm, knee, and elbow. In sporting matches (usually lasting about three minutes) and in sparring, blows and kicks are stopped short of contact. Performances are scored by a panel of judges. Karate evolved in East Asia over a period of centuries, becoming systematized in Okinawa in the 17th century, probably by people forbidden to carry weapons. It was imported into Japan in the 1920s and spread from there to other countries. See also tae kwon do.
* * *Japanese“empty hand”unarmed martial-arts discipline employing kicking, striking, and defensive blocking with arms and legs. Emphasis is on concentrating as much of the body's power as possible at the point and instant of impact. Striking surfaces include the hands (particularly the knuckles and the outer edge), ball of the foot, heel, forearm, knee, and elbow. All are toughened by practice blows against padded surfaces or wood. Pine boards up to several inches in thickness can be broken by the bare hand or foot of an expert. Timing, tactics, and spirit, however, are each considered at least as important as physical toughening.In sporting karate and sparring (kumite) in training, blows and kicks are stopped short, preferably within an inch of contact. Sporting matches commonly last about three minutes, to a decision, if neither contestant has scored a clean “killing” point in the estimation of the judges. Contests of form (kata) are also held, in which single competitors perform predetermined series of movements simulating defense and counterattack against several opponents. Performances are scored by a panel of judges, as in gymnastics.Karate evolved in East Asia over a period of centuries, becoming systematized in Okinawa in the 17th century, probably by people forbidden to carry weapons. It was imported into Japan in the 1920s. Several schools and systems developed, each favouring somewhat different techniques and training methods. Karate, like other Asian martial-arts disciplines, stresses mental attitude, rituals of courtesy, costumes, and a complex ranking system (by colour of belt). There is some overlapping of technique with other fighting styles.
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