The  word karate is  a combination of  two Japanese  characters:  kara, meaning empty,  
and te,  meaning hand; thus,  karate  literally  means  "empty  hand." Adding  the suffix  
"do" (pronounced "doe"), meaning "way," karate-do or  Karate-way implies  karate as  
a total way of life that goes well beyond the self-defense  applications.  In traditional  
karate-do, we  always  keep in  mind that the true opponent is oneself.
               Black Tiger Shotokan Karate- Hara Kenkojuku Florida
                               Martial Arts Dojo
What is Karate?
Karate can be described as a martial art, or  a  fighting method, involving  a variety of
hand and foot techniques or a combination of both. Those techniques can include:
blocks, strikes, evasions, throws, and joint manipulations. Karate practice or training is
divided into three aspects: kihon, kata, and kumite.

What is Shotokan Karate?
Shotokan is a style of Japanese karate, developed from various martial arts by Gichin
Funakoshi (1868–1957), and his third son - Yoshitaka (Gigo) Funakoshi (1906–1945).

Learning Shotokan Karate:

The following are the three fundamental types of training in Shotokan karate:

Kihon Waza: 'Kihon' means  basic. 'Waza' means  technique. Together, kihon waza
means isolating and studying the fundamental techniques of karate, the building  blocks  
for more complex training.  When  practicing kihon  waza, students are  challenged  to
perfect  individual elements  of  karate  such as balance, speed, power, focus, and
correct form.

Kata:  Kata Is detailed choreographed patterns of movements and combinations of kihon
in defined structured patterns. In kata, students test their ability to perform kihon
in sequences that further develop mastery of balance, rhythm, and coordination.
Changing tempo, changing direction, examining elements of strategy and tactics, and
using different levels of speed, power, and focus are all part of kata practice.

Kumite: Kumite is controlled sparring, testing the quality of your techniques in practice
with a live partner. In kumite, weaknesses that are not observable in solo practice are
often revealed. Learning to properly control distance, control timing, control targeting,
and control the application of power are all important parts of kumite practice. Kumite
always conducted under the supervision of the instructor or an advanced, senior

Shotokan Karate founder, Gichin Funakoshi, said that: "
mind and technique become one
in true karate. We strive to make our physical techniques pure expressions of our
mind's intention, and to improve our mind's focus by understanding the essence of the
physical techniques. By polishing our karate practice we are polishing our own spirit
or our own  mentality.  For example,  eliminating weak  and indecisive movements in
our karate helps to eliminate weakness and indecision in our minds...and vice versa'
Karate Training:
"To train means to arrange ones life around activities you can do that will enable you,
over a period of time, to do what you cannot do by direct effort alone.  Training,  in  
Karate,  is  an indispensable ingredient for pursuing personal transformation"

Karate training today is much different  than what is  was when it was first conceived.
Today, some will say Karate is a sport. Others will say it is an art form. Karate means
different things to different people, so I believe that somewhere in the middle is what
Karate truly is today. Here are some things to consider:

Self Defense is one of the foremost reasons many people begin their Karate training.
With regular training Karate will give you a much better chance to defend yourself, in the
unfortunate event that you are attacked or otherwise provoked to defend yourself.
Confidence develops naturally with correct  and regular  training. However, I  always
encourage my students to first  seek  other alternatives to physical confrontation if

Health and Fitness are natural results of regular and correct Karate training.  Proper
technique, through regular, systematic, conscientious training is the key to success in
Karate. A person’s size, sex and muscular strength are not important. Everyone can
benefit from Karate training.

Generally, age is also of no concern in Karate training. Over the years I have known and
trained with students raging in age from 4 to 65 years and have known the black belt to
be awarded to students older than that.

We don't believe that the age of a person is detrimental to training in Karate. Of course
as with any physical activity there are things to consider and it is always prudent to let
your doctor know of your intent to begin martial arts training, regardless of age.