Definition of traditional karate


"In traditional karate victory is not an ultimate aim. Tradition karate is an art of self-defence which uses only and in the most efficient way human body. It employs mainly blocking, blowing, punching and kicking techniques"


Through traditional karate an individual acquires means to develop his mental and physical skills. Thanks to constant search for tech-nical perfection, a person achieves an allround development of his possibilities. There are no limits to search in traditional karate, whereas by aiming at getting higher in sports hierarchy, one only improves one?s technique. The only existing limits are the capability of an individual to increase his abilities and his potential in pursuing new achievements. But one must try to go beyond the limits.



History of traditional karate

The final stage in the evolution of traditional karate took place about 1930 in Japan. Basic techniques originated earlier from to-de, the art of weaponless fight which developed on the Japanese isle of Okinawa. To-de developed when the authorities of Okinawa of that time forbade people to possess any weapons. Okinawan to-de was based on a fighting art of China, known as chuan-fa, which came into being thousands years ago. It is generally believed that a variation of chuan-fa, called nan-pei-chun, which flourished in the Chinese province of Fukien, had the greatest influence on the development of Okinawan to-de.
Traditional karate came into being as a result of a combination of martial arts' philosophy and basic to-de techniques. It happened around the year 1600 when various Japanese martial arts became one, both in terms of technique and philosophy. The fact that fighting arts became one system of martial arts contributed to the creation of budo together with which the need to constant search for the highest perfection of an individual arose.
There are many so called styles (systems of schools). However, they break up into two major groups: shuri-te (including tomari-te) and naha-te. Shuri-te evolved in Okinawa region called Shuri (currently being a part of the city of Naha). Shuri-te was based on Chinese chuan-fa from 15th century. Afterwards it was developed in geopolitical conditions of Okinawa. Naha-te derives directly from nan-pei-chun of the 1890s. It was brought to the Okinawan region of Naha directly from Chinese Fukien.



Individual and Team Matches

Individual Matches Open Category
•    Shobu Ippon or a match lasting till one point awarded (2 wazari or 1 ippon). Duration of the fight: 90 seconds (effective time).
•    Sanbon Shobu - a match consisting of three fights Shobu Ippon (like three sets in tennis).
•    Jogai (out of bounds): a competitor who is Jogai twice is penalised by awarding his opponent wazari.
In order to be awarded a point, a competitor who executes a technique should maintain a proper stance, stability and zanshin (readiness to continue the fight, the spirit of fight). During the execution of the technique any contact is forbidden. If a contact happens, the judge assesses the consequences in the following way:
•    a contact which does not cause any injuries of the opponent, with good and precise control = 1 full point
•    a contact causing visible injuries of the opponent = a judge may treat it as hansoku (disqualifcation)
•    a contact with minimal consequences for the opponent = chui
•    in the case of hikiwake, if the victory is to be awarded after the first wazari or ippon, ketteisen is required, or the judge's decision determines the score.

Team Matches
The team who has got a higher score after the match wins. Points are counted in the following way:
•    ippon = 10 points
•    wazari = 4 points
•    chui = 4 points for the opponent
•    hansoku = 10 points for the opponent (if previously chui was awarded it does not count)
•    jogai = 2 points for the opponent.
Team and individual matches are played in a system of single eliminations without repasages.

Kata, Fukugo and Enbu


Individual and Team Katas
They are judged through a point system. When judging katas, judges take into consideration: technical correctness of kata movements, their order, continuation of techniques, speed characteristic of every kata, interpretation of the application of particular kata techniques. In team kata there is also an element of synchronisation of team?s movement. The team consists of three men or women.
A contest in which each competitor takes part in two events. In one discipline kata and kumite are played alternately. Athletes simultaneously demonstrate composed katas called Kitei. Elimination matches are always scheduled so as kumite was played during the final.
Choreographicaly arranged fight. Duration - 55-60 s. Competition played in pairs, both man / man, and man / woman. The judgment is through a point system, like in kata.



Differences between traditional karate and modern schools

Traditional karate, that is original karate, came into being as an art of fight in Japan. Traditional karate is based on the conception of the "finishing blow". The finishing blow is defined as a technique sufficient to render an attacking opponent. Together with other accompanying techniques, the finishing blow technique unites in itself the total body power, focusing it on one blow. Traditional karate competition is entirely based an the art of self-defence. For example, only the finishing blow technique is awarded a point. Moreover, according to the rule that the finishing blow is the last blow of the fight, in traditional karate competition the fight lasts till one point is awarded. Thanks to the rigorous observing this rule, the number of facile actions and careless techniques is limited to a minimum.
As in the case of every other art of self-defence, the height and the weight of the competitor is neither defined nor important. According to the rules of self defence competitors must be ready to repel the attack of every opponent, regardless of his weight and height. Moreover, many a time an individual who attacks is of a more powerful build than the attacked person.
As a sports discipline, traditional karate uses the tournament as one of training means and a way to enrich the general development of an individual through a higher emotional equilibrium, inner discipline and complying with the rules of etiquette. Altogether, these objectives create a framework of traditional karate sports rules.
Other, modern karate schools are descended from traditional karate. New schools based their techniques and stances on punches and kicks of the Japanese karate. Keeping the external resemblance, these schools introduced some basic changes. Changes in philosophy and moving the stress from the art of fight and self-defence to the point awarded sports competition consisting in punching and kicking, had biggest consequences. For example, it does not take an expert to notice that modern schools took from karate punching and kicking techniques only in the most general sense. In sports competition points are awarded on the basis of possibly the fastest and the most precise hitting the target with a fist or a foot. In view of this fact, the "finishing blow" requirement became unnecessary. As a result, it became unnecessary to put power generated from the total body movement into punches and kicks. Moreover, the main stress was put on the economy of movements. In this most important respect, body dynamics of modern karate schools is a complete opposite of traditional karate dynamics. After getting rid of the finishing blow requirement, new karate schools based their sports rules on a multi-point system, instead. In modern karate usually either three or six times half a point is awarded.
Traditional karate is based on the art of self-defence. As, in consequence, the weight and the height of the opponent do not matter, there are no weight categories. Meanwhile, modern karate schools treat a fight as a sports event, not as an art. Therefore, one of modern karate schools has eight different weight categories. 

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