Karate-Do (way of the empty hands) is a Japanese martial art originating from the unarmed self defense techniques of Okinawa (the largest of the RyuKyu islands).
It seeks the rational and scientific use of the body parts (fists, palms, feet, knees) as weapons to get an opponent out of combat in minimum of time. Pressure points of the human body are targeted to cause serious injuries.
Karate roots came from China via trading routes and its development and improvement was driven by the ban by Japanese authorities to islanders from using weapons (Okinawa is occupied by Japan since 1609 and was annexed in 1879). Karate (then known as Okinawa-Te) began to be introduced in Japan from 1922, when Gichin Funakoshi, considered the father of modern Karate, held a demonstration before the Japanese Emperor.
It is divided into various styles (below, with their founders), among whom Shotokan style is the most widespread:
• Shotokan (Gichin Funakoshi)
• Shorin-Ryu (Chosin Chibana)
• Goju-Ryu (Chojun Miyagi)
• Shito-Ryu (Kenwa Mabuni)
• Kyokushinkaikan (Masutatsu Oyama)
• Wado-Ryu (Hironori Otsuka)
• Uechi-Ryu (Kanbun Uechi)
• Kenyu-Ryu (Takamassa Tomoyori)