History of Karate

Bill Mattocks

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I think a lot depends on when a person thinks the martial art we call karate started. I am not an expert, but as I understand it, karate (empty hand) was once defined as 'China hand', and before that, there were semi-indigenous forms of unarmed self-defense known as 'te' (hand). Different familes had different versions of it, as did cities (Naha-Te), etc.

Okinawa was a major trading hub for so many different countries, and it exchanged more than just trade goods, it seems. Self-defense methods and techniques seemed to flow back and forth to the extent that it is hard to say what started where and when sometimes. Or at least that is how it seems to me.

Okinawa, or the Ryukyu Islands (often translated as the "Great Loo Choo Island" in English at the time, was known for its fighting styles at least as the first Western reports began to be printed in England and the US.

"Account of a Voyage of Discovery to the West Coast of Corea" by Basil Hall, Herbert John Clifford, 1818 discusses the form of 'boxing' they found on Loo Choo Island. One presumes they are discussing Karate in whatever form it existed at that time.
 

hoshin1600

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It can be traced back to the late 17th century when a ban on weapons was imposed by the samurai rulers of Japan. Here is so much information about Karate.
False. The entire story of Okinawans defending themselves against samurai because their weapons were taken away is myth.
 

TSDTexan

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False. The entire story of Okinawans defending themselves against samurai because their weapons were taken away is myth.
Thank you. You beat me to the punch on this issue. But yes, this myth has been thoroughly debunked.

This myth is also perpetuated in American Kabudo circles as well.
 
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