Is Karate Effective In A Street Fight?

If you’ve ever been involved in a street fight, you would know that any martial art background is a massive advantage at that moment. The style of karate and the training methods involved could potentially play a role just in how effective you will be in a street fight.

Karate can be effective in a street fight, depending on the style of Karate. Kyokushin, Shidokan, and Daidojuku are the most effective styles of Karate in a street fight. The key to the different styles lies in the training that forms part of it.

Let’s face the facts about a street fight. Normally it’s a surprise event that escalates quite quickly and out of nowhere. It is a dangerous space to find yourself in and potentially deadly as there are no rules involved. If you do have some karate background, you have an advantage. However, if your training has just been katas and shadow fighting with no hard sparring (Kumite), then you could be in for a nasty surprise.

What Karate Styles Are Effective In A Street Fight?

When you have been practicing karate for a couple of years, you will become quite confident in your ability. Where does that confidence stem from? Have you been actively sparring with another student, practicing what the Japanese call Kumite? Or have you been doing kata after kata (rehearsed moves performed in repetition), never really putting into practice what you have learned against an opponent that fights back?

Some karate styles consist of performing katas (some have 50 different katas to work through) and employ a point-based fighting system. When it comes to graduation or participating in a competition, they employ this point system to fight. When you attack with a kick or punch and hit your opponent, you will earn a point.

What matters most is not the strength behind the kick or punch Rather, the fighter’s speed gets rewarded. After each point, the fighters reset and start over until the next point is secured.

Doing katas perfectly will not ensure success in a street fight; practicing shadow moves will only get you so far. Actively sparring during training sessions prepares you mentally and physically for a real fight. The following three karate styles incorporate sparring (Kumite) in their training and will increase your effectiveness in a street brawl.

1) Kyokushin – ‘’ The Ultimate Truth.”

This style of karate is well known across the martial art world. It is considered a “hard” form of karate for it is very physical in its training. If you want to add toughness to your karate training, look no further than Kyokushin.

Training includes body conditioning and hard sparring(Kumite). This style allows students to test their fighting skills through active sparring. You will be taught effective punching and kicking techniques, as well as how to use your knees and elbows in a fight. Learning how to block, throw and put attackers in locks is all part of the training.

Training is focused on exploiting your opponent’s pressure points and their body’s sensitive areas to attack; the goal is always to end the fight as fast as you can. Regular sparring develops your pain tolerance and teaches you how to read your opponent’s body language. These elements of training will prepare you well for when a real fight occurs.

This karate style does not promote punching to the head area; it does allow kicks to the head, though. The skull is a tough bone to hit with the hand, and normally you will do more damage to yourself than your attacker if employed. The flip side is that you are trained to attack the head with your body’s stronger parts (legs, feet, elbows and knees).

Kyokushin karate is very popular all around the world. There should be a couple of dojos in your living area, so joining should not be a problem.

2) Shidokan – ‘’ Refer To A Group That Follows The Samurai Way.’’

Shidokan is a relatively young style of karate. It was created by adding elements of the following martial arts together.

  • Kyokushin
  • Muay Thai
  • Judo
  • Jui-Jitsu
  • Wrestling

If you are a student of this form of karate, you will be taught how to grapple and use your knees and elbows as effective weapons. Not to mention how to perform locks, throws, sweeping moves, and how to strike with bare hands. Still sticking to the basics of Kyokushin as the base style. If this does not sound like a potent skillset to have in a street fight, I don’t know what is.

3) Daidojuku/Kudo

Daidojuku or Kudo is a full-contact style of karate that borrows techniques from various other martial arts. This results in a very combative fighting style. Here you will learn to grapple and punch people in the face. This forces students to consistently keep a high guard when training, protecting them in a street fight.

This style focuses on distance control through effective kicking techniques. This is a crucial factor in a street fight as you don’t want to be closed in and not be in control of the fight. Controlling the distance between you and your attacker would essentially give you a chance to escape should the opportunity present itself.

The styles or forms of karate listed above incorporate some of the skills and techniques you would need to survive a street fight. If you are trained in any of the above, it could dramatically increase your effectiveness in a street brawl. Remember that anything goes in one of these fights, so expect the unexpected. An advanced skill set will only stand you in good stead.

What Style Of Karate Will Be Less Effective In A Street Fight?

1) Shotokan

This is a light contact karate form. The focus of Shotokan is not on using power strikes and doing great damage like in Kyokushin, for example. This form of karate will teach you how to attack only the upper body and the head.

Training is conducted in full safety gear, so you do not learn how to punch or kick without hurting yourself as you are always wearing protection. When competing, the action stops after every strike, and points are then allocated. This is not how a street fight will go down. Attackers will keep on coming until you are finished and beaten up.

My point is that some karate forms will prepare you for a street fight, where others will prepare you for a heavy safety-oriented scoring system tournament.

Is Karate Effective In MMA/UFC?

Kyokushin karate has proven to be very effective in MMA and UFC. Famous and successful fighters that fight with this karate style, Georges St Pierre and Uriah Hall, have obtained high success with this martial art form as their base style.


Karate in any form is about discipline, commitment and perseverance.  It teaches its students many good traits and adds structure to their lives in many departments. If doing katas is your thing and not so much actual fighting, then that is your choice and will be respected. Karate is an art form that has many levels to it, and some do it only for exercise and health benefits.

 If you want to protect yourself and fight if required, you need to look at specific types of karate. Kyokushin is widely respected as a callous form to practice, and many students can’t stand up to its level of toughness. If you decide to partake in this style, you will have to be very determined and handle some pain along the way.

Of one thing you can be pretty sure, if and when a street fight occurs, you will have had the proper training through the practicing of your skills on another student. Karate is only as effective as the person using it. 


The Beginner’s Guide to Kyokushin Karate | The Martial Way (

Differences between Kyokushin Karate and other karate: martial arts (

How Effective is Kyokushin Karate? | Martial Arts Unleashed (

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