What is Karate?

Karate can be described as a weaponless means of self-defense. It consists of dynamic offensive and defensive techniques using all parts of the body to their maximum advantage. The object of true karate practice is the perfection of oneself through the perfection of the art. It is not the possession of great physical strength that makes a strong karate practitioner; rather it is the ability to coordinate mind and body.


The word “karate” is a combination of two Japanese characters: kara, meaning “empty,” and te, meaning “hand;” thus, karate means empty hand. Adding the suffix  do (pronounced “doe”), meaning “way,” i.e., karate-do, implies karate as a total way of life that goes well beyond the self-defence applications. In traditional karate-do, we always keep in mind that the true opponent is oneself. Karate practice is divided into three aspects: kihon (basics), kata (forms), and kumite (sparring).

“Originally this was the most important thing about martial arts–to reach a higher level, to become a strong human being. Strong doesn’t mean big arms. It means who can be a more strict human being with himself. That is the ideal of martial arts.”

Gichin Funakoshi


We strive to make our physical techniques pure expressions of our mind’s intention, and to improve our mind’s focus by understanding the essence of the physical techniques. By polishing our karate practice we are polishing our own spirit or our own mentality. For example, eliminating weak and indecisive movements in our karate helps to eliminate weakness and indecision in our minds–and vice versa. It is in this sense that karate becomes a way of life, as we try to become very strong but happy and peaceful people.


“Mind and technique become one in true karate”

Gichin Funakoshi



Why Practice Shotokan Karate?

  • Learn self-defence
  • Increase your stamina, speed and coordination
  • Stay physically and mentally fit
  • Learn and practice self-discipline
  • Develop composure and self-confidence

Take a Trial Class


In order to achieve victory you must place yourself in your opponent’s skin. If you don’t understand yourself, you will lose one hundred percent of the time. If you understand yourself, you will win fifty percent of the time. If you understand yourself and your opponent, you will win one hundred percent of the time.

Tsutomu Ohshima


Shotokan Karate practice with Ohshima black belt