All About Karate

Karate is a system of unarmed self-defense which originated in eastern Asia and involves the use of the hands, elbows and knees, or feet for kicks and blows to vulnerable parts of the body such as temples, throat, and groin. Karate should not be confused with a similar Asian sport, ju-jitsu, sumo and judo which involve wrestling, throwing, and holding an opponent on the ground and choking him.

Karate during the seventies was referred to as an acrobatic boxing. Karate involves a little personal contact and the opponent becomes immobile because of powerful and well directed blows which are delivered far from the opponent as possible. Experts in Karate can crush a large block of ice using his fist, he can splinter a six inch thick pine wood by a single kick and he can shatter stacks of tiles using his head or an elbow.

Calisthenics, an area in karate, involves rigorous, acrobatic flexibility and speed. Another area in karate is called kumite which involves training in specific karate blows, kicks, chops or blocks with the use of ones knuckles, the ball and outside edge of the foot and the blade of the hand.

This can strengthen the extended fingers which can be very effective when used like a spear point. Katas, which is the third area in karate involves acrobatic forms of kicking, punching, blocking, turning, leaping, dodging and are often practice with an imaginary adversary. Those who are trained in karate school or dojo are barefoot on the wooden floor without mats when they do their training.

Punching bags, weights, bamboo blocks, deep boxes of any dry beans or coarse sand used to strengthen the extended fingers of the hand. A loose fitting jacket and pants called gi is the traditional costume in karate.

Rank of someone who does karate can be indicated by the color of his belt. Black belts are of course for experts and those using white belts are amateurs. Next to the beginner are the following in respective order - yellow, green and brown. The holders of black belts also have different degrees which are based on their skills and effectivity in teaching. Today, schools are only up to the 8th dan.

Karate was very popular especially during the seventies. Many movies were released like Bruce Lee's Game of Death and David Carradine's Kung Fu. The spirit of this sport has not died today. In fact, there are still movies today that are patterned using this theme. The most recent is the newly released Karate Kid's third installment with Jackie Chan and Jayden Smith, son of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith.

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Then came another popular movie martial art character, the Japanese assassin, the ninja ninjutsu. How would you like to learn this ancient Japanese art? Buy an instructional DVD or take ninjutsu classes and acquire the ninjas' skills and discipline.

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