Although Karate was founded in the early 1900s, its origins go back millennia. While contemporary Karateka use some of the same moves as the old martial artists, some methods have been entirely reinvented. Even the fundamental Karate style brought to Japan by Gichin Funakoshi has evolved into something absolutely unique. Not nearly a century later, a variety of Karate styles are practiced all over the world. Let’s have a look at a few and study the differences between them.
Defining Karate styles
What exactly do we mean when we talk about various Karate styles, vs different martial art forms? Shotokan and Wado-ryu Karate are very diverse from one another, however they are both classed as Karate. However, something like Tae Kwon Do, which resembles Karate, is not the considered to be Karate.
What’s the difference?
The majority of it has to do with the way the styles were created. All karate styles have origins in either Japan or Okinawa, or both. At some time in their history, nearly all martial arts systems have had some impact on one another. The core categories we have today, on the other hand, come from different regions. Taekwondo, for example, is a Korean martial art, whereas Kung Fu is a Chinese martial art, and Muay Thai is a Thai martial art. Karate is a martial art that originated on the island of Okinawa and was subsequently perfected in Japan.
As new schools and notable Karate examined different facets of the technique, many forms of Karate splintered off and thus the emergence of various Karate styles.
Most effective Karate Styles
There are up to 75 different types of karate and these are the 5 most effective and popular styles:
One of the most prominent karate styles in the world is Shotokan Karate. It was formed in Tokyo by Gichin Funakoshi, the Father of Modern Karate. Shotokan methods are extremely powerful and straight (as opposed to the circular, flowing motions seen in Kung Fu). The art is made up of around 70% hard techniques and 30% delicate motions when taken as a whole.
When performing techniques, students are encouraged to concentrate on speed, form, balance, and breathing. Beginner stances are usually deep, but as the pupil progresses, the stances get longer. Students must learn 26 kata in this technique.
Shito-ryu is the most popular type of Karate in West Japan, despite Shotokan’s global popularity. Kenwa Mabuni established the form in 1934, and it is primarily influenced by Okinawan Karate traditions.
The style is characterised by short, low postures similar to those used by Sumo wrestlers, as well as a substantial kata component. It is the Karate style with the most kata, at 94. As practitioners attempt to defend themselves, they are urged to tie the motions from the kata together.
This Goju Karate style is based on Okinawan Karate systems, which were largely inspired by Chinese martial arts and Kung Fu in the past. It is also highly influenced by Fujian White Crane, a Chinese martial style.
Chojun Miyagi, who founded and developed the Goju-ryu style of Karate in about 1930, was the inspiration for Mr. Miyagi’s role in the classic film “The Karate Kid.”
As a result, the style is a more balanced blend of hard and soft techniques, as evidenced by the art’s name. In Japanese, “Goju” literally translates to “hard-soft.” Many of the motions in Goju-ryu are more circular than in Shotokan Karate. Only 12 kata are used in this style, and the stances are deep and natural.
Hironori Otsuka founded Wado-ryu in 1939, which means “the method of harmony” in Japanese. There is a heavy emphasis on mental harmony and tranquility. Wado practitioners attempt to avoid punches, whereas other schools of Karate emphasize on forceful attacks. Students learn to move their bodies to avoid or lessen the force of blows, and counter-attacks are integrated.
Wado employs Jujitsu-style techniques just like joint locks and throws, unlike most other Karate forms. Students learn 15 kata and stances are primarily natural positions.
Kyokushin Karate is a hybrid of Shotokan and Goju-ryu styles. Despite the influence of Goju-ryu, it is regarded as a very difficult style.
It is also a very harsh kind of Karate known as Japanese full-contact Karate or knockdown Karate in the sports arena. Unlike other Karate schools, Kyokushin pupils are not encouraged to withdraw their punches in sparring sessions, and possibly permanent debilitating strikes are permitted. There are 23 Kata plus 8 ura Kata, with the majority of the stances being natural.
You may have noticed that the term “Ryu” appears in the names of all the Karate styles. What does the Japanese word Ryu mean?
“Ryu” can refer to a style, school, system, genre, or form in Japanese. It’s primarily used as a suffix in written Kanji, as you can see above after the style names. The term “ryuha” can also signify “school” or “school of thought” on its own. Different ryuha are used to categorize Japanese martial arts.
Now, which of these styles is the one for you? The only way to find out is to get in touch with your local dojo, find out what styles they teach and as most dojos offer a free introductory class, take those classes and chose the one that speaks to you the most! Once you do sign up for Karate classes, what you’ll need is a Karate kit. Starpro offers some of the best Karate uniforms on the market and as you’re a new karateka, score a complimentary white belt on us with this beautiful and lightweight Gi.