Is Karate a martial art? (please read full post)

Andrew Green

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Technically karate isn't a martial art. Martial means war like/used in war, that sort of thing. Karate was never developed for the battlefield, it was developed for civilian self protection from criminal violence.

By that logic pretty much everything people think of when they hear "Martial arts" doesn't count. From now on whenever someone asks which martial art they should train in its a choice of army, navy or air force first. :D
 

Jenna

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If we found out that aliens came down in year 46 B.C. and taught their personal combat system to some village or other, which led to the future development of all the stuff we have today... would you think Karate was somehow "different" than it is today?
The Alpha Centauri Prime lineage is what I was schooled in.. Start of every class we remember how they landed in the sea off of Okinawa.. like you say 45 BC.. same today as when it was taught to the locals by the spacemen in exchange for their variety raw fish takeout.. course they had to adapt techniques to our paltry single pair of arms
 

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By that logic pretty much everything people think of when they hear "Martial arts" doesn't count. From now on whenever someone asks which martial art they should train in its a choice of army, navy or air force first. :D
So were the Samurai in the Army Navy or Air Force?
 

Andrew Green

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So were the Samurai in the Army Navy or Air Force?

How many schools practicing samurai arts do you know of? Even Kendo was developed as a sport, might have roots in military usage, but it's a civilian sport, not a military art.

Pretty much anything that doesn't start with weapons training and deal with group combat instead of one one one... that's not military.
 

Paul_D

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How many schools practicing samurai arts do you know of? Even Kendo was developed as a sport, might have roots in military usage, but it's a civilian sport, not a military art.

Pretty much anything that doesn't start with weapons training and deal with group combat instead of one one one... that's not military.
Kendo was developed as a sport from Kenjutsu, which was a military skill used in battle. Karatejutsu was not a military art used in battle, it was a civilian art.
 

Andrew Green

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Kendo was developed as a sport from Kenjutsu, which was a military skill used in battle. Karatejutsu was not a military art used in battle, it was a civilian art.

Kenjitsu - yes, but kendo - no. And to say karate was not without any influence from military would be a bit of a large assumption. A plausible case could connect it right back to Alexander the Great... not with a great deal of proof, but plausible. All oral history going back that far is going to be full of holes though.

You're dealing with some very fuzzy lines in how you define things here that go very much against common usage.
 

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By that logic pretty much everything people think of when they hear "Martial arts" doesn't count. From now on whenever someone asks which martial art they should train in its a choice of army, navy or air force first. :D
he is using a very narrow defintion of war , war is commonly fought by civilians. These are usually called civil wars
 

Paul_D

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Kenjitsu - yes, but kendo - no. And to say karate was not without any influence from military would be a bit of a large assumption. A plausible case could connect it right back to Alexander the Great... not with a great deal of proof, but plausible. All oral history going back that far is going to be full of holes though.

You're dealing with some very fuzzy lines in how you define things here that go very much against common usage.
Like I said originally, you could argue it isn't a martial art if you wanted to get technical, but I don't want to get technical, I'm happy to call it a martial art.
 

mograph

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Perhaps I should be thinking of it like painting; You can say "I am creating a painting" or you can say "I am creating an abstract painting". In then same way then, you should be able to say "I know a martial art" or "I know the martial art of Taekwondo". The more deeply you go into naming it, the better an idea the person you are talking to will have of what you do.
Nope, sorry. That analogy only works because the other person actually knows what an abstract painting looks like. In terms of martial arts, going deeper only conveys more information if the other person is familiar with those terms.

I play a musical instrument
I play a trumpet.
I play a piccolo trumpet.
I play a Bb (not A) piccolo trumpet.

Each of those conveys more information, but only conveys more meaning if the other person actually knows what those things are. How many of you actually give a rat's behind as to the difference between an A and Bb piccolo trumpet?

Back to martial arts: if they're heard of taekwondo, then yes, they have a better idea of what you practice. But Chung Do Kwan? You've lost me.

Just as I could tell someone:
I do martial arts.
I do Chinese martial arts.
I do Xingyiquan.
I do Hebei style Xingyiquan.
Unless they're familiar with various styles of Xingyiquan, and have heard of Hebei style and can attach some meaning to that knowledge, their eyes would have glazed over by this point.

Is karate a martial art? Nothing is anything unless people say it is.
If, by consensus, people define "martial art" a certain way, and karate fits that definition to people's satisfaction, then it's a martial art.

Which people? Generally those having the discussion. :D
 

Gerry Seymour

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Perhaps I should be thinking of it like painting; You can say "I am creating a painting" or you can say "I am creating an abstract painting". In then same way then, you should be able to say "I know a martial art" or "I know the martial art of Taekwondo". The more deeply you go into naming it, the better an idea the person you are talking to will have of what you do. Taekwondo is a martial art, Chung Do Kwan is a style of Taekwondo, and the school I go to has a particular look upon the style that is unique to any other school. As far as Karate goes, are the different styles similar enough to be considered the same form of art?
There is enough difference between some styles of Karate to be immediately recognizable as different styles. Some of the kicks in Kyokushin come to mind.
 

Gerry Seymour

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The Alpha Centauri Prime lineage is what I was schooled in.. Start of every class we remember how they landed in the sea off of Okinawa.. like you say 45 BC.. same today as when it was taught to the locals by the spacemen in exchange for their variety raw fish takeout.. course they had to adapt techniques to our paltry single pair of arms
ACP lineage? That's just watered-down Proxima Centauri System lineage, and entirely misses the point of the other arms.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Karate is a martial art, however, compared to Muay Thai which was developed for the battlefield it may seem rather soft

Karate versus Muay Thai
I like the part where the author mentions MT being slow on kicks, then uses an elite fighter (an exception) to show that it's still possible to be fast. Oddly, he doesn't mention any elite karateka as being highly powerful.:rolleyes:
 

oftheherd1

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Thank you for making my point.

If we found out that aliens came down in year 46 B.C. and taught their personal combat system to some village or other, which led to the future development of all the stuff we have today... would you think Karate was somehow "different" than it is today?

Sinanju? Sorry, couldn't resist
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Karate is a martial art, however, compared to Muay Thai which was developed for the battlefield it may seem rather soft

Karate versus Muay Thai
  • Shotokan [traditional] allows weak kicks and punches in the head - surface contact only
  • American kenpo [hybrid] incorporates techniques from a different styles of karate. Often taught in McDojos
Those two lines made me stop reading. Both of those are generalizations, that are very biased and pointless to mention.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Karate is a martial art, however, compared to Muay Thai which was developed for the battlefield it may seem rather soft

Karate versus Muay Thai
  • Shotokan [traditional] allows weak kicks and punches in the head - surface contact only
  • American kenpo [hybrid] incorporates techniques from a different styles of karate. Often taught in McDojos
Those two lines made me stop reading. Both of those are generalizations, that are very biased and pointless to mention.
Just decided to read through it anyway, as I have some free time. Going to go point by point.

in Muay Thai there is no kata. The main pressure is put on pad work, heavy bag work and a mean, tough full contact sparring. That's how you learn how to fight with a tough opponent that - using Bruce Lee words - can kick back. I think is much more real that way."

I would agree with this IF the point was that just kata is not enough. But karate also can do pad work, heavy bag work, and full contact sparring. Just because it does kata does not negate any of those things.

in Thai boxing training experience comes from a full contact sparring as opposed to karate semi contact and point sparring.
Again, Karate can do full contact sparring. And point sparring has a time and place as long as its not all that's being done.
a different philosophy of fighting: in karate you aim and stop your fist at the opponents face,
Blatantly incorrect. I have never once heard any of my karate friends say you stop your fist at the target. The idea is always to push through or behind the target (true for friends of any martial art actually).

since most of a Karate styles doesn't allow punches to the head, fighters keeps hands low which makes them open for attacks. Especially for such an offensive strike that Muaythai can deliver.
True, if the person does not practice full contact. But, it's a habit that gets fixed very quickly when switching to full contact, so it's not a huge deal IMO.
in general karate straight leg kicks are faster but Muay Thai kicks are much more powerful. On the other hand Buakaw, who is a Thai boxing living legend, is able to deliver lightning fast and a very powerful head kicks.
I'm going to refer to Gerry's comment about finding the exception in muay thai but not in karate (ignoring the idea that for some reason karate kicks are less powerful than muay thai without any evidence to back it up).
Karate practitioners are very vulnerable to sweeps due to the very narrow stance. They be dropped on the ground at will be a seasoned Thaiboxer.
Because Thai boxers specialize in sweeps? As far as I know, both will have difficulty grappling with an art that focuses on grappling (unless it's a style of karate that spends a lot of time on grappling), so I'm not sure that can really be used against karate in favor of MT.

I'm not even a karateka, but every single point made about why muay thai is better is questionable.
 
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