Karate and Kung Fu are different forms of oriental martial arts. Karate was developed in what is now Okinawa, Japan, and Kung Fu in China.

Karate is a form of unarmed Japanese martial art developed from fighting methods from the Ryūkyū Islands in Okinawa, Japan. Kung fu comprises a number of fighting styles that have developed over the centuries in China. It is also a form of exercise with a spiritual dimension stemming from concentration and self-discipline.

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Karate

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What is it? Karate is a form of unarmed Japanese martial art developed from fighting methods from the Ryūkyū Islands, what is now Okinawa, Japan. Kung fu comprises a number of fighting styles that have developed over the centuries in what is today the country of China. It is also a form of exercise with a spiritual dimension stemming from concentration and self-discipline.
Movements Karate is primarily a striking art, with punching, kicking, knee/elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques.The movements are crisp and linear. And also has various blocking techniques like parries; and takedowns are taught as well. Many styles feature circular, fluid movements and forms that mimic the attacks of animals. Most styles include the punch, jabs, strikes and kicks common to Karate since Karate is technically an offshoot of Shaolin kung fu.
Also known as Karate-Do Wushu and hundreds of other styles (Hung Gar, Wing Chun, Praying Mantis and Choy Li Fut to name a few).
Olympic event No No
Parenthood Chinese Kung Fu was brought to Okinawa and developed into indigenous martial arts of Ryukyu Islands Most present day Kung Fu originates from the martial arts developed by Buddhist monks in the Shaolin monastery over the course of the past 1500 years. However, other martial arts practices existed in China dating as far back as 3000 years ago!
Organizations Some of the main organizations are: European Kyokushin Karate Org., World Seido Karate Org., USA National Karate DO, Japan Karate Federation, International Karate Assoc., Kenkojuku Karate Assoc.WKF World Karate Federation, SKIF IKF (International Kung Fu Federation), USAWKF (United States of America Wushu-Kungfu Federation), IWUF (International Wushu Federation)
History According to legend, the evolution of karate began in 5th Century CE when Bodhidharma (Indian Buddhist monk) arrived in Shaolin-si (small forest temple). From there it appeared in Okinawa, a Japanese Island. As martial art, kung fu can be traced to the Zhou dynasty (1111–255 bc) and even earlier. As exercise it was practiced by the Daoists in the 5th century BCE.
Meaning The meaning of the word karate is "empty hands." It refers to the fact that Karate originated as a system of self-defense which relied on the effective use of the unarmed body of the practitioner. In Chinese, colloquially, kung fu (or gung fu) alludes to any individual accomplishment or cultivated skill obtained by long and hard work. It also refers to the form of martial arts.
Country of Origin Japan (Ryukyu Kingdom) China
Self-defense Yes Yes
Clothing Gi with patches representing the style students practice or school (dojo) they practice in, Barefooted, and colored cotton belt (depending on their skill level. Example: Beginners start start at White belt level) Varies by style and school, but often includes kung fu pants (a loose fitting, elastic band cloth garment), kung fu shoes and a belt.
Common title for instructor Sensei Si fu
Typical Style of Bow Arms straight against the torso, hands just below the waist, and the bow executed by bending the torso down while keeping your eyes on the opponent. The same as the bow for Karate, but one or more hands are usually in front of the sternum. The position of the hands vary- one common variation is having the right fist enclosed in the left palm with the bottom of the hands facing outward.
A Kung Fu competitor
A Kung Fu competitor

edit Movements

Karate is primarily a striking art, with punching, kicking, knee/elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques. The movements are crisp and linear.

The fluid, circular movements in Kung fu are often imitations of the fighting styles of animals, initiated from one of five basic foot positions: normal upright posture and the four stances called dragon, frog, horse riding, and snake.

Contestants in a Karate tournament.
Contestants in a Karate tournament.

edit Traditional Uniforms

The traditional wear for Karate is a white uniform called a gi, with has a light, loose fitting. Due to the nature of Karate training which emphasizes striking, kicking and a limited range of standing throws, the karategi has evolved so as to maximizes mobility and speed. Most quality karategi are cut from a light canvas-like cloth which will stand up to a considerable amount of abuse without restricting the mobility. Different styles of Karate have slightly different uniforms though all share the same basic design, differing only in the lengths of sleeves, legs and the skirt of the uwagi (jacket). Many karate practitioners tend to wear their obi (belt) much longer than practitioners of judo and other martial artists. The color of the belt varies, depending on the rank. Black belt is the highest ranking belt. Karatekas generally practice barefoot.

Kung fu uniforms vary a lot in color, style and material. Most uniforms have tops with Chinese style buttons, unlike the overlapping tied-up fronts of a karategi. As opposed to the consistent white karategi, Kung fu uniforms come mostly in fabrics like satin in a variety of bright colors. Chinese martial arts schools in Asia do not show rankings in uniforms. Kung fu practitioners often wear shoes with the uniform.

edit Meaning

The meaning of the term kara te is "empty hands." It refers to the fact that Karate originated as a system of self-defense which relied on the effective use of the unarmed body of the practitioner.

In Chinese, colloquially, kung fu (or gongfu) refers to any individual accomplishment or cultivated skill obtained by long and hard work. It also refers to the form of martial arts.

edit History

According to legend, the evolution of karate began over two thousand years ago, in fifth century BC when Bodhidharma (Indian Buddhist monk) arrived in Shaolin-si (small forest temple). From there it appeared in Okinawa, a Japanese Island.

As martial art, kung fu can be traced to the Zhou dynasty (1111–255 bc) and even earlier. As exercise it was practiced by the Daoists in the 5th century B.C.

edit Organizations

Some of the main organizations are: European Kyokushin Karate Organization, World Seido Karate Organization, USA national karate DO Federation, Japan karate federation, International karate association, All India Budokan Karate Federation.

Some Kung Fu organizations are IKF (International Kung Fu Federation), USAWKF (United States of America Wushu-Kungfu Federation), IWUF (International Wushu Federation).

edit Videos

Students of Kyokushinkai karate and drunken and snake kung fu go at it in the video below. The karate students are wearing white (with black belts) and seem to have an upper hand. This does not mean that karate is superior. It is a matter of individual skill rather than the martial art itself.

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