Is Karate An Effective Martial Art For Self Defense?
Karate is one of the oldest martial arts in history. Dating back to 1372 in Okinawa, Japan; Karate is a martial art that incorporates combinations of kicks, punches, knees and elbows. After a group of Chinese settlers moved to Japan, the martial art became a popular and common practice of self defense for the purpose of cultural exchange, where they established the community of Kumemura and shared their knowledge of a wide variety of Chinese arts and sciences, including the Chinese martial arts. The political centralization of Okinawa by King Shō Hashi in 1429 and the policy of banning weapons, enforced in Okinawa after the invasion of the Shimazu clan in 1609, are also factors that furthered the development of unarmed combat techniques in Okinawa. In short Karate was born through the banning of the peasants being able to arm themselves with weapons.
Today, Karate is a mainstream sport with a cult like following because of the elements of focus, self discipline, confidence and a demand for hard work ethic it takes to eventually earn the rank of black belt. Although the sport of Karate has been further popularized by Hollywood movies and actors like Chuck Norris, the martial art of Karate is still practiced by many life long martial artists teaching the ancient ways of self defense to children, women and men of all ages, shapes and sizes. Karate has also been effectively used in Mixed Martial Arts competition as a devastating strike and evade tactic. The UFC has seen multiple fighters like Harold Howard, Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida & Georges Saint-Pierre successfully use Karate to win matches over opponents. Recently, at UFC on FX 8 Vitor Belfort used a spinning heel kick to defeat Luke Rockhold in devastating fashion.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), is a full contact combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, from a variety of other combat sports such as Karate, Tae Kwan Do, Boxing, Kickboxing, Judo, Wrestling & Jiu-Jitsu. The roots of modern mixed martial arts can be traced back to the ancient Olympics where one of the earliest documented systems of codified full range unarmed combat was in the sport of pankration. Widely considered as the most effective form of modern self defense, MMA has incorporated techniques from Karate to become a complete martial art. So if the question is asked, “Is Karate an effective form of self defense?” The answer is a resounding yes. However, as far as being a complete self defense system, Karate is great for striking but neglects to give credence to the situation if it finds itself taking place on the ground.
Karate has also been too often commercialized by becoming “black belt factories” in which the dojo hastily awards merit of belt rank to undeserving students just so long as they merely pay the belt promotion fees to reach the next level, rather than using the old tradition of earning the belt through the foundations of having a hard work ethic, practicing self discipline, control, focus and awareness. The standard of being a Karate black belt has been watered down in some cases and has unfortunately tarnished the martial art due to some organizations looking to make a quick buck. There are still a number of Karate dojo’s who’s strict standards and traditions have not wavered & require nothing short of excellence. When looking to enroll your child or yourself in to a martial arts program do your research and ask the school or organization about their testing fees and belt rank standards. The level of instruction will reflect how long or short of a time it takes for someone to reach the black belt level, in general the estimated time to achieve the highest rank in any martial art should range between 5 to 8 years depending on the level of commitment by the student. Don’t fall for the fast talking sales gimmick of the “Karate Sensei” who tells you that you can be a black belt in two years. It’s a scam and shows that they are looking to make fast money rather than teach martial arts to life long students who embrace the culture and lifestyle.
If you are looking for a complete self defense system, give Mixed Martial Arts a try today and enroll in our beginner MMA program for 30 days FREE. It’s a great way to learn fundamentals and get in to the best shape of your life.