There is a range of different disciplines of karate, and each one has its own unique benefits.
In this article post, we will discuss the five most popular types of karate:
- And Shorin-Ryu Karate
We will talk about the history of each style, as well as their main techniques and principles.
History of karate
Karate history can be traced back to about 1400 years to Daruma, the founder of Zen Buddhism in Western India (Source). Recently, karate has become very popular in the United States, but it originated in Asia.
The word karate, which means “empty hands” in Japanese, means that a karate practitioner doesn’t hold a weapon.
The practice of karate has evolved, generating a variety of styles. There are nowadays more styles of karate available than you can count. Here are the six main types of karate.
6 Different Types of Karate
Karate is among the most popular martial art used for self-defense. It helps develop physical and mental strength and discipline.
Here are the most common types of karate.
1- Shotokan, Karate
Shotokan karate is a style and discipline of karate that emphasizes linear techniques, powerful strikes, and deep stances. It is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most popular styles of karate in the world.
Shotokan was founded by Gichin Funakoshi, who is credited with introducing karate to Japan in 1922.
Funakoshi’s style was based on the martial arts he had studied as a youth in Okinawa, such as Shuri-te and Naha-te. He named his style “Shotokan” after the pen name he used when writing poetry, which means “wave man.”
2- Kyokushin Karate
Kyokushin karate is another popular style of karate that was founded by Mas Oyama in 1964. It is a full-contact style of karate and is one of the most widely practiced styles in the world.
Kyokushin kaikan karate training focuses on developing strength, power, and spirit through hard training and discipline.
Kyokushin karate is known for its powerful techniques and full-contact sparring. The style emphasizes practical self-defense and physical conditioning.
Kyokushin karate training includes body conditioning, weight training, running, and other exercises to build strength and endurance. Sparring is an important part of Kyokushin karate training, and competitions are held regularly at the local, national, and international levels.
Kyokushin karate has been instrumental in the development of other styles of karate, such as kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
Some of the most famous Kyokushin karate practitioners include Chuck Norris, Bob Sapp, and Lyoto Machida.
3- Shito-Ryu Karate
Shito-Ryu Karate is a style of karate that was developed by Kenwa Mabuni. It is one of the four main styles of karate and is practiced by many people worldwide.
Shito-Ryu Karate is characterized by its use of techniques from both hard and soft styles of karate. This makes it a unique and versatile style that can be used for self-defense and competition.
Shito-Ryu Karate is also known for its use of kata, or forms. These are pre-arranged patterns of movements that help practitioners to learn and master the various techniques of the style.
Many schools and clubs offer instruction if you are interested in learning Shito-Ryu karate. You can also find online resources that can help you get started.
4- Wado-Ryu Karate
One of the most popular forms of karate, Wado-Ryu, is a traditional Japanese martial art that emphasizes self-defense.
The name Wado-Ryu comes from the Japanese words “wa,” meaning “harmony,” and “do,” meaning “the way.”
Founded in the early 20th century by Grandmaster Hironori Otsuka, Wado-Ryu is known for its emphasis on using an opponent’s momentum against them rather than relying on brute force. This makes Wado-Ryu an ideal form of self-defense for smaller stature practitioners.
Wado-Ryu Karate is based on four main principles:
- Avoid or redirect an attack using the opponent’s momentum
- Use natural body movements to generate force
- Use the minimum amount of force necessary to subdue an attacker
- Control or neutralize an attacker with techniques that disable rather than injure
These principles are reflected in the Wado-Ryu kata or pre-arranged forms. The kata teaches students how to defend themselves against common attacks such as punches and kicks.
While Wado-Ryu karate is often considered a “soft” martial art style, it is still a highly effective form of self-defense. When used correctly, the techniques can be devastating.
However, they can also be used for sports or competitions. Wado-Ryu Karate is practiced worldwide and is a popular choice for those looking for a well-rounded martial art.
5- Goju-Ryu Karate
Karate is a form of powerful martial arts that originated in Okinawa, Japan. It is now practiced all over the world, and there are many different styles of karate.
Goju-Ryu is one of the most popular karate styles, characterized by its use of hard and soft techniques. It is a very well-rounded style of karate that can be used for self-defense, competition, and exercise.
Goju-Ryu Karate is named after the Goju school of Chinese martial arts, which was founded by the legendary martial artist Chōjun Miyagi.
Compared to the other four styles, this one is considered the most traditional style of karate and is steeped in history and tradition. Goju-Ryu Karate is characterized by its use of both hard and soft techniques.
Hard techniques are used to strike an opponent, while soft techniques are used to control or redirect an opponent’s attack. This makes Goju-Ryu a very well-rounded and effective style of karate.
6- Shorin-Ryu Karate
Shorin Ryu is among the oldest karate styles and is predominantly in Okinawa. The symbols Shorin Ryu (少林流) mean “scanty” and “forest,” respectively and are pronounced as “shōrin” in Japanese. These symbols are also used in Chinese and Japanese to symbolize the words: Shaolin.
This martial arts style heavily focuses on kicks, punches, katas, and weapons. Matsubayashi-Ryu is a major sub-style of Shorin-Ryu; however, Matsubayashi-Ryu and Shorin-Ryu, are generally used interchangeably.
Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu Karate was born on the island of Okinawa, between mainland China and Japan. Shorin-Ryu Karate was designed from the teachings of masters Motobu, Kyan, and Arakiki by Shoshin Nagamine Sensei (Source: Wright State University)
Grandmaster Nagamin’s Shorin-Ryu combines the arts of Shuri-te and Tomari-te, native martial arts significantly influenced by southern Chinese Kung-Fu.
Is Learning Karate Worth It?
Karate is worth learning as it is an exceptional way to stay fit and learn self-defense, but it takes commitment and discipline to master the art. If you’re considering signing up for karate classes, here’s what you can expect from the experience.
The first thing you’ll need to do is find a reputable karate school in your area. Some schools are better than others, so it’s important to do your research before making a commitment. Once you’ve found a school you’re comfortable with, the next step is to sign up for classes.
Most karate classes will start with a warm-up routine followed by some basic techniques. These techniques will be repeated multiple times throughout the class so that you can get a feel for them. You’ll also learn some basic defense moves if you’re attacked.
As you progress through the classes, you’ll start to learn more advanced techniques. These will be more difficult to master, but they’ll be essential if you ever need to defend yourself in a real-world situation.
Karate is a great discipline; it provides a way for people to stay fit, learn self-defense, and meet new people. It’s important to find a good school and be prepared to commit to the classes, but it will all be worth it in the end.
Which Type of Karate Should You Learn?
With so many different types of karate out there, it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. It’s very crucial to consider your goals and objectives before making a decision. Do you want to learn self-defense? Compete in tournaments? Or just get in shape?
Once you’ve decided what you want to get out of karate, you can start to narrow down your options. For example,
- If you’re interested in self-defense, you might want to consider a style like Goju-Ryu or Shotokan. These styles focus on practical techniques that can be used in a real-world situation.
- If you’re more interested in competition, on the other hand, you might want to consider a style like Wado-Ryu or Shito-Ryu. These styles place more emphasis on forms and techniques, and they’re often used in tournament competitions.
No matter your end goals, there’s a type of karate out there that’s right for you. It’s
So there you have it, a brief overview of the different types of karate. Each style has its own strengths and weaknesses, so choosing the one that’s right for you is important.
This decision will be based on your goals, objectives, and personal preferences. Overall, all types of karate can be used for self-defense.
If you are unsure which type is best for your needs, research the dojos in your location and discuss with the students, sensei, or instructor to learn about practice and principles taught by the school.