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Karate

After Okinawan King Sato paid tribute to China’s Ming dynasty in 1372, trade was opened between the two countries. In 1392, 36 Shaolin martial artists from Fujian province arrived in Okinawa to teach them Chinese martial arts. This led to the development of Okinawan martial arts that were named after the villages of their origin—naha-te, shuri-teand tomari-te. From these three villages arose the various styles of karate, two of which were shorei-ryu and shorin-ryu. After studying these two styles of karate in Okinawa, Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957) simplified the movements and introduced karate into Japan from Okinawa in 1921. By 1939, Gichin Funakoshi built his first official karate dojo and called it the House of Shoto (Gichin Funakoshi’s pen name) or, as it is mostly called today, shotokan karate.

The term “karate” was first used in 1722 when Okinawan martial artist Sakugawa created his martial art karate-no-sakugawa, wherein kara refers to China. Thus, karate originally meant “Chinese hand” or “Tang Hand” after China’s Tang dynasty. However, when karate was introduced into Japan, the meaning of “kara” was changed to “empty.” This is why karate today is translated as “empty hand.”

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  1. Karate Techniques: Master the Knifehand Strike

    Karate Techniques: Master the Knifehand Strike

    Tough. Versatile. Effective. This is how Damian Ross describes what is often erroneously referred to as the “judo chop.” But when used correctly in close-combat situations, the knifehand strike is no laughing matter.
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  2. George Dillman: The Controversial Karate Master Who Popularized Pressure Points

    George Dillman: The Controversial Karate Master Who Popularized Pressure Points

    A former tournament standout, George Dillman first learned of the role pressure points play in self-defense from Hohan Soken. Subsequent training under Seiyu Oyata opened Dillman’s eyes to the effectiveness of the art, which is known as kyusho-jitsu.
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  3. Defending the Use of Human Pressure Points in Kyusho-Jitsu Self-Defense Moves

    Defending the Use of Human Pressure Points in Kyusho-Jitsu Self-Defense Moves

    In the martial arts community, those who practice kyusho-jitsu (pressure-point fighting) are often subjected to criticism. It all started when their self-defense moves were first brought into the limelight and onlookers didn’t even want to believe the techniques were real. Those days are long past, however, and the reality of
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  4. Wing Chun Techniques: The Secret Weapon Against Leg Attacks

    Wing Chun Techniques: The Secret Weapon Against Leg Attacks

    In 1966, karate legend Joe Lewis rocketed to stardom by winning Jhoon Rhee’s U.S. Nationals in Washington, D.C. Incredibly, it was his first tournament, and he won every single point with only one technique — the side kick.

    For six years, Chuck Norris ruled the karate world with his spinning kicks.
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  5. Top 10 Karate Concepts Every Martial Artist Should Know

    Top 10 Karate Concepts Every Martial Artist Should Know

    For many practitioners, one of the most challenging components of karate training is learning the nuances of the terms used in the dojo. Any instructor can offer a one-word definition of each Japanese word, and that can certainly lessen the complexity of what’s being taught. But often a quickie translation
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  6. Knockout and Concussion Statistics for Violent Encounters

    Knockout and Concussion Statistics for Violent Encounters

    Editor’s Note: Because it’s impossible to defend yourself when you’re unconscious, knockouts play a critical role in any fight, whether it takes place in the ring or on the street. In our September issue, we explored the physiological effects of a knockout and why head trauma is such a controversial
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  7. Ikken Hissatsu: the Kendo-Karate Connection

    Ikken Hissatsu: the Kendo-Karate Connection

    If you practice any form of Japanese karate, you need to understand that one of the most significant influences on your martial arts training has been kendo. Virtually all senior Japanese karate instructors in the West have been influenced by it since the 1960s. Sometimes the influences are conscious, other
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  8. Learn the Real Chuck Norris Facts

    Learn the Real Chuck Norris Facts

    Like most netizens, we love Chuck Norris jokes. But Chuck Norris is more than just an aging action hero. As this classic interview with Sara Fogan shows, the former karate champion is also a deeply spiritual man who has devoted his life to helping children. Here are the real Chuck
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  9. Bill “Superfoot” Wallace on Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, Bob Wall and Jean-Claude Van Damme

    Bill “Superfoot” Wallace on Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, Bob Wall and Jean-Claude Van Damme

    It was 1 o’clock, and I was sitting at Jun Chong’s taekwondo school in Los Angeles getting ready to work out. In walked Dolph Lundgren, 6 feet 5 inches tall and built like a brick [outhouse].

    He said, “You’re Bill Wallace, right?”

    I said, “Yeah, and you’re Dolph Lundgren.”

    I stood up and
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  10. Colbey Northcutt: Round-Kick Combination

    Colbey Northcutt: Round-Kick Combination

    Colbey Northcutt competes in the toughest sport-karate arenas on the planet: five-star and AAA-rated open tournaments. She’s been inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame as the 2009 Competitor of the Year, so she obviously knows what she’s doing. In fact, she was featured in the August 2010 issue
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