Karate – The North American Term For All Things Martial Arts.

Karate has over the years become the default generic term for the average person to refer to martial arts training.  Karate was the first martial art to gain wide spread popularity in the United States and Canada and it just stuck.

Karate means “empty hand” in Japanese so it actually does fit nicely as the default title term for the layperson when referring to martial arts. The term karate traditionally also embodies what most other martial arts styles claim to teach: Self defense, high personal standards of discipline and focus, honorable behavior and respect for tradition.

There is a immense variety of actual karate styles and systems. Most typically focus on kicking and punching, but many also incorporate take-downs and locks. A lot of karate systems also teach a wide range of traditional weapons. With that much diversity it becomes obvious that to the casual observer there is as much difference between two styles of karate as there is with Kung Fu or Tae Kwon Do.

The most striking example of karate having become a generic description of martial arts training is the latest Karate Kid Hollywood blockbuster. The movie actually takes place in China with Jaden Smith learning Kung Fu.  The movie really helps to understand that for most of the population the martial style is irrelevant. What matters are the benefits gained through training whether the moves are called karate or jiu-jitsu. Jaden Smith’s character could have been living in a different country learning a completely different martial art and the plot could have been identical.

When most people talk about learning karate what usually is on their mind are the benefits they stand to gain through martial arts training. The reality is that those benefits can be gained through any martial art style. The most important factor is actually the school and the instructors. Had the Karate Kid not encountered the right teacher he would have had a completely different outcome regardless of style.

Karate can make a huge positive impact on your life, whether its actually called Jiu-jitsu or kung fu. The key is to find a great school with instructors dedicated to your success. For some tips on choosing a martial arts school click here.

Take action today and try karate!