First and foremost Karate is a Martial Art: it is the Art of Empty Hand Fighting. Karate as we know it today is fairly young, but its ancestry is firmly rooted in ancient oriental history. And it is because of this that Karate is a lot more than just fighting. Karate provides our modern society with an excellent form of physical exercise, in which, unlike most modern sports, both sides of the body are, as much as possible, equally trained and developed. Furthermore, there also is a rather important mental aspect to the training of Karate, emphasized by the following five concepts:
Contrary to popular Western interpretation this does not mean that practicing Karate will make you a better a person, but one cannot progress in the study of Karate as a Martial Art without the simultaneous development of ones inner strength and character. For the advanced student the Art of Karate touches on all aspects of their day-to-day life; it becomes a Way Of Life.
"Karate-do is a Martial Art for the development of character through training, so that the karateka can surmount any obstacle, tangible or intangible."
(Masatoshi Nakayama, Chief Instructor, JKA 1955-1987)