When people, whether friends, colleagues, or just anyone who you are talking to, finds out that you do karate, it tends to garner a lot of interest. While talking to people about karate, I always seem to get asked the same questions, so I thought I would answer some of them in this post. The most common question I get is whether karate is still popular today?
Yes, karate is still popular, in fact, the martial arts discipline is growing in popularity. Karate can be dated back at least 200 years and today, it is more popular than ever before.
People are signing up for karate lessons every day, and you might be considering it yourself. Maybe you already do take lessons and are just curious. Either way, in this article, we will discuss some important information about the discipline.
Why did karate become popular?
During the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, a lot of martial art films were being released. Some of the more memorable films were:
- Dragon inn (1967)
- The steel edge of revenge (1969)
- Karate, the hand of death (1961)
- Come drink with me (1966)
- Fist of fury (1972)
- Enter the Dragon (1973)
- Bloodsport (1988)
- The karate kid (1984)
As we enter and go further into the 70s, actors like Bruce Lee and others became household names in the western world. This contributed heavily to the rise in martial arts in the west. Hollywood started investing more into the martial arts genre in the 80s we saw movies like Bloodsport, karate kid, best of the best, and more.
The west started having their own martial art inspirations like Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris.
We are not trying to say that karate became popular because the west adopted it. We are merely trying to highlight the reasons why karate started rising in popularity around the globe at such a fast rate. One of the contributing factors is film and TV from Asia and the west.
Quick fact: During the early stages of martial arts in the west, all forms of martial arts were referred to as “karate.”
Which is best, karate or kung fu?
While you may be expecting a general answer to this question like, “it depends on you,” both of these martial art forms are very different from each other, and we can find a definitive answer. We first need to know what is so different between the two.
Firstly, karate originates from Japan. It was later expanded on by Chinese influence, and that is where the two forms of martial arts, karate, and kung fu, get their similarities from. While they do have similarities, both are very different from each other.
Karate, as a form of martial art, is straight forward in the sense that you are taught how to get yourself out of trouble by attacking. Karate teaches you how to move straight towards your opponent, instead of backing away. This means that, while karate is taught as a form of self-defense, and it is a form of self-defense, it is actually more offensive than defensive.
This does not mean that karate encourages you to look for trouble. What it actually means is, karate can help you get out of trouble when trouble finds you. Karate does this by teaching you how to defend yourself by being offensive.
Unlike karate, which originates from Japan, Kung fu is a Chinese form of martial arts. Kung fu teaches you how to defend yourself by being more reactive than offensive. You are taught to shift your weight in different ways to what karate teaches you. Kung fu will show you how to shift your weight from side to side while you anticipate your opponent’s moves.
With kung fu, you are taught to react to your opponent. So, in terms of self-defense, it is more true to self-defense than karate.
Which is best?
Both disciplines teach you how to get out of trouble. Karate is better for attacking and injuring your opponent, and kung fu is better for preventing your opponent from injuring you.
In my experience, Karate is better than kung fu, especially for self-defense, even though the art form itself is more offensive than defensive.
Does karate help with anger?
Karate has always been associated with discipline, control, and a sense of understanding. That could be why so many parents enroll their kids into karate classes. Not only does it help teach self-defense, but it also teaches kids and adults about the principles listed above.
Having discipline and being able to control your emotions is a skill that not many activities teach directly. Karate, however, does teach you how to control anger, and it gives you the discipline to apply those controls when needed.
Being able to control your anger or any emotions is a vital skill that can help you succeed or excel in other parts of your life. This leads to the next section, which is why you should enroll your kids in karate.
Why karate is important for kids
There are many reasons why any sport is important for kids to learn about and partake in. Karate offers something different from other sports and activities.
- Karate teaches kids discipline and control. This carries through from the class and into a child’s everyday life. It is not just about controlling the child’s own emotions, but it also reinforces discipline in terms of behavior.
- Karate can build good character. Most instructors will teach kids about humility when winning and persistence when losing.
- Karate shows that focus and hard work are rewarded. When a kid progresses through the ranks within karate, they are rewarded with new ranks. These ranks are often worn as a sense of pride and accomplishment. That feeling of accomplishment is carried through into all aspects of life.
- Tolerance, understanding, and acceptance: Karate classes are often attended by kids from all different walks of life. Apart from learning new physical skills, your kid will also learn about different cultures. Kids can learn to see past things like how much money someone has or where they come from because while in class, all that matters is skill.
- Self-defense: There are two main ways that self-defense will be instilled into your kid. They will learn that looking for trouble is a bad thing, and they will learn to avoid trouble. Most importantly, they will learn how to get themselves out of trouble when trouble finds them.
- Karate does all of this while keeping your kid in good shape and good health, all in a safe environment. As parents, the safety of our children comes before anything else. Karate can give us the peace of mind we need while our kids stay fit, healthy, happy, and, most important of all, SAFE.
So should you enroll your child or children in karate classes? I think it is more than worth it. The benefits will carry through into your child’s personal and professional life.
Is karate effective in real life?
The most important thing that Karate teaches you that is effective in real life is, how and when to avoid trouble. It is also beneficial to have discipline and control in your day to day life. Most martial arts teach all of this, so you could say that martial art, in general, is effective in real life.
As for the combat and self-defense side of karate, it can be effective if you find yourself in a situation that requires you to defend yourself or your family. Karate will teach you how to control your emotions in a fight, and it will teach you how to analyze your surroundings.
You can also take your skills into the ring and become a professional fighter if you are good enough, of course.
How good you become depends on how much effort you are willing to put in.
In conclusion, Karate is still popular today, more so that ever. And it is well worth it to learn, for yourself or your kids, as it can add tremendous value to your life and teach you valuable skills that you can apply to many areas of your life.