A Brief History

Origins of Karate

Karate is a martial art that originated in the Ryukyu Kingdom (present-day Okinawa, Japan) in the late 19th century. The word “karate” itself is a combination of two characters in the Japanese language: “kara,” meaning empty, and “te,” meaning hand. Together, “karate” translates to “empty hand,” referring to the use of one’s body as a weapon rather than relying on traditional arms.

The origins of karate can be traced back to the indigenous martial arts of Okinawa, which were heavily influenced by Chinese martial arts brought to the island by traders. These indigenous arts were known as “te” (hand) and “tuifa” (Chinese hand), and were practiced by local farmers and fishermen as a means of self-defense.

In the late 19th century, a man named Gichin Funakoshi began to formalize and popularize the practice of karate. Funakoshi, who was born in Okinawa in 1868, had studied the indigenous martial arts of his home island as well as the Chinese martial arts that had influenced them. He began teaching karate in the early 20th century and eventually moved to Tokyo, where he established the first dojo (training hall) for karate in Japan.

Funakoshi’s teachings emphasized the use of the body as a weapon and the importance of discipline, respect, and humility in the practice of karate. He also introduced the concept of kata, a series of pre-arranged forms that practitioners would perform alone or with a partner.

After the World War II, Karate begins to spread to the other parts of the world. American servicemen stationed in Japan and Okinawa during the occupation after the war brought karate to the United States, where it quickly gained popularity as a form of self-defense and physical fitness. From there, it spread to other countries, including Europe, South America, and Africa.

Today, karate is a popular martial art practiced all over the world. It is also a sport, with competition held at both national and international levels. The World Karate Federation (WKF) is the international governing body for sport karate and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Karate is a martial art that originated in Okinawa, Japan in the 19th century. It was popularized by Gichin Funakoshi and it’s a form of self-defense and physical fitness. Karate is now a sport, with competition held at both national and international levels. And it’s widely spread all over the world.

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Chief Instructor Alex Benson


Chief Instructor Alex Benson

With over 20yrs of Taekwondo experience, Chief Instructor Alex Benson leads Australia’s leading martial arts school Action Tae Kwon-Do.

Action Tae Kwon-Do offers 55+ classes a week for children, teenagers and adults across multiple different locations around the North and South sides of Canberra, Queanbeyan and Jerrabomberra as well as many locations in Hobart.

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