Karate vs. Kung Fu

Karate
Kung Fu

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.

Contents: Karate vs Kung Fu

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. 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.


Movie scene where Bruce Lee (Kung Fu) fights with Robert Wall (Karate)

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Comments: Karate vs Kung Fu

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Anonymous comments (11)

April 28, 2014, 6:07pm

Kung-fu is the best... :)
I know kung-fu..
I love kung-fu.. :)

— 49.✗.✗.223
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April 7, 2014, 11:47am

Why do some people say things like "kung fu fighters are faster than karate and so kung fu is better martial art" ?
Speed doesn't come from the martial art itself, it depends on the fighter who's using the martial art.....
And there is also a comment who said karate is not good for self defense.... but it actually depends on 'speed' and 'experience'.....
By the way kung fu is more popular and is more used often in movies.....

— 85.✗.✗.249
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February 19, 2014, 10:32pm

Notice how Karate is so much more common in the USA than Kung Fu is? Karate preaches a very small number of blocks and punches, and a small number of kicks. Every Karate style should be proficient in the crescent kick, spinning reverse back kick, front kick, side kick, and roundhouse kick. Whereas Kung Fu has many basic styles(tiger, crane, snake, eagle, dragon, praying mantis) and whereas Kung Fu has many techniques within each style; the secret of the Karateist is to be highly proficient in strong, fast kicks, punches, and blocks which all, in all, constitute just a small number of techniques and therefore not to be bound to rely on many, many techniques(as in Kung Fu), of which some techniques can be forgotten, take too long to remember in a real fight situation, slow up a person trying to remember in a fast moving fight situation, etc.

— 199.✗.✗.249
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February 10, 2014, 4:16pm

Karate

— 101.✗.✗.222
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August 12, 2013, 1:53pm

when one studies kata karate becomes unlimetless

— 49.✗.✗.210
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May 20, 2013, 3:53am

Martial arts is a way of developing ones own defensive skills. In the end if you call yourself a martial artist and aren't able to utilize the art effectively, then you fail yourself not the art. Every art, every technique has a place and time to be used and if you disagree, then you close your mind to how versitile you can really become. Its not the weapons, but the man behind the weapon. The art is as blunt, sharp, good, and bad as you want it to be. So, be humble and shutthefullcup. Teehee!

— 108.✗.✗.127
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April 11, 2013, 2:19pm

kung fu tries to knock the fighter out quickly and elegantly like a girl BUT KARATE IS THE WAY FOR REAL MEN!!!! so in conclusion gils do kung fu and boys stick to karate

— 90.✗.✗.108
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April 30, 2012, 12:06pm

karate and kung fu are both powerful martial art. it depends in the martial artist.
it depends who has a greatest speed and power

— 112.✗.✗.142
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April 17, 2012, 11:35am

Kung fu for me is more realistic than Karate simply because the mechanical movements from Karate can't defend one-self from a real fight. FIghting is fluidity so Karate lacks it either traditional styles (goju-ryu, uechi-ryu, shorin ryu etc.) or modern (kyokushin, ashihara, enshin, shotokan etc.). Kung-fu can be perfected without a partner compared to karate that needs a partner (besides kata). The comment is made by an amateur wanna-be martial artists, sorry this post is false....

— 79.✗.✗.55
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November 6, 2010, 10:33pm

Well that explanation is a little simplistic and could be said the other way around too. Karate just means an empty hand, so technically kungfu when practiced without a weapon is simply another form of karate. And the who is to say when someone has trained enough to be considered "enough experience" so there is no kungfu at all.

— 174.✗.✗.111
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June 12, 2010, 12:31pm

please get it right for once. kungfu just means a "a man with substancial training or work" , hence it encompasses tens of thousands of style of martial arts, thus it includes karate also.
Example, a karateka went to china say 300 years ago, he would be considered a kungfu man. Kungfu connoisseur at the time would know the karateka 's movements resemble to a form of kata practiced in Shiaolin temple in China-thus people would say the man's kungfu has some leanage.
Since all martial arts originated from Shaolin temple which spread to China Korea Japan, inevitably a small Shiaolin branch went to an island in Japan; hence karate can not be used to include kungfu, the term kungfu is all inclusive and karate is not an exception. kungfu is a generic term to mean "work" for short, it's referring to any kind of style dating back to thousands of years. in sort, karate is a kungfu(work) style of the shaolin temple thus very specific. So, karate is Zenist kungfu, taichi is Daoist kungfu, etc.

— 75.✗.✗.169
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