What Are the Major Styles of Karate?


Karate Styles

There are in fact more and more styles are coming out into the open now. When I started karate in the 70s there were really just a few. Shotokan, which is what I do, is probably the most widely spread for a number of reasons. First of all, because they had an instructor’s program guiding from the early 60s in Japan and the Japan Karate Association sent out instructors all over the world in the early to mid-60s so that really spread karate. In fact, anyone who does Shotokan karate today probably can trace their original instructor from that first group of teachers that came from Japan.

Other styles which are very popular, you have Kyokushinkai which is like Shotokan a very big scale technique of karate but they focus much more on building a heavy power because they have a knock-down system. They don’t have punches to the face. They have kicks to the face, so obviously you have to have quite a high guard which is very characteristic of that style. They hit really hard so they’re usually more heavily muscled than some of the other karate styles.

Another very, very big style is Goju-ryu which bears its Okinawan roots a little bit more strongly than something Shotokan and there’ll be more body conditioning in that one, more makiwara training which is the punching post which is a very traditional training tool. And other styles such as Shito-ryu and Shorin-ryu resemble each other to a degree but they all have their emphases. Some of them are more flowing. Shito-ryu has the big stances of Shotokan but not quite as much expansive body movement, etc., etc. But there are really many styles out there and they all have their own character.

Karate Techniques

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