The ‘Way’ of karate (karatedo) is one of Japan’s most famous Budo (martial arts). It is an art of self-defense that, for the most part, uses no weapons, hence the meaning of karate― ‘empty hand’.
Karatedo places emphasis on courtesy and moral development. Rigorous training enables practitioners of karatedo to control their emotions while being respectful of their training partners. This respect extends beyond the confines of the dojo. Practitioners also learn perseverance, self-discipline and the ultimate goal of self-perfection.
Karate-do, as a form of “human education”, promoting mental discipline and character development. This is what makes karate a ‘do’ or a ‘Way’ of life for the practitioner. It can be studied by all people of all ages. The goal of karatedo, as with the other Budo arts, is not to beat the opponent for appeasing one’s own ego, but to overcome one’s own shortcomings and to live in harmony with others. When teaching or learning karate, the true meaning of karatedo can only be understood by putting one’s heart and soul into each and every technique.
Training in karatedo is hard, and the goals are not always clear. However, perseverance and hard work allow the practitioner to push beyond their physical and mental boundaries.
The study of karatedo is an effective way of cultivating the physical and mental strength necessary to deal with the trials and tribulations of everyday living.
Karatedo has its origins in the traditional culture of Okinawa. It has changed with the times while maintaining fundamental philosophical elements. It is important that karate keeps developing to suit the needs of contemporary society, but it will benefit all practitioners to uphold the traditions of karate as a way of personal development. It is essential that respect, above all is never forsaken.
This is the “Way” of karate.