Karate is one of the most extensively practiced martial art forms in the world. It relies on keen physical coordination and mental focus. Martial arts were developed in Asia, mainly India, China and Japan, over the course of several thousand years. There are numerous martial arts variations, and there are hundreds of disciplines practiced today.
Modern karate developed out of martial arts forms practiced in Okinawa, an island that is now part of Japan. For hundreds of years, Okinawan martial arts experts honed a variety of combat styles. Sometimes the ruling establishment would ban peasants from possessing any weapons, leaving them with only their own bodies and household items to protect themselves. This played a part in the development of martial arts elsewhere in Asia as well.
A man named Funakoshi Gichin is recognized with transporting the karate form beyond its geographical roots. In the early 20th century, he brought together elements from many Okinawan fighting styles and introduced the combat technique to mainland Japan and, eventually, the rest of the world.
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