What Are the Advantages of Karate?

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Obviously, most of us know that martial arts will help us if we ever need to defend ourselves. And Karate is the best-known martial art. So, specifically, what are the advantages of Karate?

Here’s what I know from lots of practice:

Karate helps develop and boost self-confidence, patience, resilience, and the ability to better self-regulate emotions. It also helps to strengthen the entire body, improve coordination and flexibility, quicken reflexes, and increase stamina.

But there’s also a lot of misconceptions.

Parents frequently believe that Karate is simply a form of violence and aggression. The misunderstanding stems from the fact that it is intended to teach discipline and control, but the actual practice involves kicking and punching.

More and more people are taking karate lessons these days.

The reason for this is that many of them have already discovered the numerous benefits of Karate, not only in terms of physical fitness but also in terms of social and emotional well-being.

Can’t afford classes, or prefer to learn Karate at home?

Check out this recent article of mine where I gave tips on learning Karate at home, especially if you do not have a partner you can spar with. I even cover how you could earn a black belt at home!

Just click that link to read it on my site.

So, are you ready to learn more about Karate and its advantages? If so, continue reading. You’re already here. Isn’t it more logical to finish up?

How does Karate compare to other martial arts?

Compared to soft martial arts such as Tai Chi or Aikido, Karate is more physically demanding. And compared to martial arts such as Systema or Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Karate can seem rigid and choreographed, and not as applicable for self-defense.

But really, a more in-depth answer is called for.

We cannot compare Karate with all martial arts, so we’ll pick a few to dive deeper into. Let’s pick BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-jitsu), then Judo, and finally Kung Fu. But before we compare, let us learn a little about Karate.

Karate is a well-known martial art form that is highly effective for self-defense exercises. This martial art is characterized by sharp, precise, and linear actions and movements entirely based on hand movements.

In Karate, the body and hands, in particular, are made extremely tough to withstand and break objects.

Karate’s fundamental principles increase health benefits and make the body iron-like or as hard as a rock. This art form uses elbow strikes, punches, knee strikes, kicks, and open hand techniques. It is one very dynamic martial art.

How does Karate compare to BJJ?

Karate is primarily a standup art with a focus on punches, kicks, and blocks, whereas Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is primarily a ground-based art that focuses on submissions executed on the ground after taking an opponent down from a standing position.

Karate also has a heavy focus on traditional Japanese Kata, which are almost like solo choreographed dance moves.

Also, Karate has eight belts for adults compared to five for BJJ. BJJ is also much better for self-defense. And while there is a risk of injury in practicing any martial art, BJJ is generally thought of as the martial art you retire into.

In other words, many martial arts are better when you’re younger. BJJ works well for older people as there is less risk of injury and damage.

In comparison to Judo

Judo is a soft martial art, whereas Karate is a hard martial art. But Judo, which is an offshoot of traditional Japanese Jiujit-su, is also mostly ground-based. Karate is well-known for its standup striking techniques, whereas Judo is well-known for its throwing and grappling techniques.

Judo is a Japanese word that means “gentle way.”

It is well-known for its grappling and throwing techniques. The main goal of Judo is to knock the opponent to the ground.

Want to dive in deeper on the differences?

In a recent article of mine, I compared the two martial arts. I get into all the similarities and differences, including the 1 thing that makes more people choose Karate.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

In Comparison to Kung Fu

Karate and Kung Fu are very similar as true Japanese Karate was originally based on the Chinese art of Kung Fu. However, The Chinese use the term Kung Fu to describe a wide array of martial arts from Wing Chun to Tai Chi, and while there are multiple styles of Karate, they share many similarities.

Wing Chun, of course, was what Bruce Lee originally practiced before forming his own art called Jeet Kune Do.

Kung Fu’s history as a martial art can be traced to the Zhou dynasty, perhaps even earlier. The Daoists used it as an exercise in the 5th century.

Kung Fu’s fluid, circular movements are frequently imitations of animal fighting styles, initiated from one of five basic foot positions: normal upright posture and the four stances known as dragon, frog, horse, and snake.

But in terms of stances, kata-like movements, strikes, kicks, and blocks, it’s hard to find 2 other martial arts that are so similar.

Is Karate useful in a real fight?

Karate can be effective and useful for self-defense and a real-life fight, especially against an untrained attacker. But other less choreographed martial arts such as Muay Thai, BJJ, or Krav Maga can provide more realistic training for street fights.

And before I get a flurry of emails, I know Krav Maga, which I just mentioned, isn’t really a martial art as much as it is a self-defense system. Anything that focuses on pure technique and lacks a spiritual component isn’t really a martial art.

But knowing any martial art, even Karate, is better than not knowing any.

For example, single Karate techniques, low stances, and rigid footwork that allows for quick and flexible movement can be pretty effective in a real fight or for self-defense.

But what are the best Karate moves to know in a real fight?

You can read up on this recent article of mine that sheds more light on if Karate is effective in a real fight. I even cover the 1 move that will take out an opponent 90% of the time.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

However, using Karate alone and adhering to martial art’s strict rules (no illegal strikes) is unlikely to be the most effective fighting or self-defense option.

It’s worth noting that Karate wasn’t initially intended for fighting.

It was instead formed for personal protection and self-defense. When taught as a martial art, Karate focuses on developing mental strength and teaching self-discipline. It also prepares practitioners for combat methods when taught correctly.

It should be noted that there is a significant difference between learning an all-encompassing martial art and learning street-fighting self-defense techniques.

If you want to use Karate effectively in a real-world street fight, you should begin learning and practicing traditional grappling right away. 

Unfortunately, modern karate classes tend to emphasize striking, but research into the traditional Okinawan style of Karate reveals that grappling was a major focus. Throwing, joint locking, and grabbing are some of the grappling techniques that practitioners will learn.

Taking ground grappling steps is also an excellent way to ensure that your karate techniques can be applied in self-defense, particularly for women.

You will end up on the ground if you are thrown or knocked down, and this is where basic techniques in ground grappling can really help you.

Know a few techniques for submitting your attacker and getting back on your feet.

You don’t have to become a grappling pro; just know a few basic moves to protect yourself if you end up on the ground.

What are the health benefits of Karate?

Karate has been shown to help improve cognitive functions and balance. It can also strengthen the musculoskeletal system and improve muscle tone and posture, resulting in improved confidence and an overall improved quality of life.

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Let’s go over some of the best benefits of Karate in greater detail:

Physical Advantages

  • Improving your muscle tone and mass can help you improve your metabolism, which can help you lose weight. Martial arts are an excellent form of exercise, particularly if practiced at least 2-3 times per week.
  • Agility and mobility are required in many martial arts disciplines. Martial arts practice will undoubtedly improve your body’s ability to move faster.
  • Whether sparring or competing, dodging and blocking your opponent’s attacks is essential. Your reflexes will begin to improve as you learn moves through repetition, and you will notice that you have faster reaction times in all aspects of your life.

Other advantages include increased strength, coordination, flexibility, cardiovascular health, and blood pressure control. (source)

Self-confidence, values and morals, focus, improved mood, and healthy lifestyles are some of its mental benefits.

What makes Karate unique?

Kata is probably Karate’s most unique feature. Katas are a set of movements, typically performed as a solo practice, and each a sequence of about 20-60 techniques. These have the look and feel of a choreographed dance.

Karate katas have been passed down from the grandmasters on Okinawa.

They are the foundation, the essence, of Karate. Karate was associated with kata by the old masters. “Karate begins and ends with kata.” (Mabuni) Karate and kata were essentially interchangeable in their minds.

I won’t lie. I’ve never gotten into katas. They just aren’t my thing.

But kata was not just about mastering the moves for them. It was to understand the meaning of kata because each kata is a self-defense system with its own set of principles and techniques.

So here are a few reasons why many believe kata is an excellent training method:

  • Karate katas are a compact form of accumulated knowledge of Karate. They are the traditional Karate teaching syllabi.
  • Katas include drills to help you memorize movement patterns.
  • Katas are time-tested and effective methods of civil self-defense.
  • Katas include techniques from all martial arts: parries, thrusts, blocks, punches, grappling, kicks, escapes, restraints, locks, throws, strangles, and even pinching, raking, and poking. All of this is done with the help of establishing target areas that allow for optimum effect (kyusho/vital points).
  • Katas use representative examples to demonstrate principles.
  • Katas include partner training drill templates.
  • Katas are ideal for the solo practice of fighting principles (when no partner is available).

If you want to get the most out of your martial arts techniques, you should practice and learn from katas.

Katas are choreographed moves used in the martial art of Karate. These movements include a slew of brutally effective grappling, choking, throwing, and joint locking techniques.

Many people underestimate the value of learning the katas.

Is all Karate the same?

All forms of Karate are not the same and have some key differences. Some focus less on striking and more on kata. Others focus more on self-defense aspects, while others focus more on the spiritual components.

Goju-Ryu, Wado-Ryu, Shotokan-Ryu, and Shito-Ryu are the four major Karate styles. All are derived from Gichin Funakoshi’s Karate.

Let’s explore the similarities and differences of each:


Goju-Ryu is a karate style founded in 1930 by Chojun Miyagi, a student of Kanryo Higaonna.

This form consists of powerful counter-strike movements in the offensive positions and soft, circular blocks in the defensive positions similar to Jiu-jitsu.

It also employs breathing power and a variety of stances to demonstrate the differences between karate styles through soft and hard techniques.


Shotokan-Ryu is a style developed by Gichin Funakoshi and named after his pen name when writing poetry.

After studying Karate on the island of Okinawa, he relocated to Tokyo and established this style after some years. This form enables students to deliver impressive strikes in a quick and efficient manner using the hands, elbows, knees, and feet by utilizing wide stances and linear methods.

This is by far the most popular style, and it is well-known all over the world.


This karate style is an offshoot of Shotokan-Ryu and is all about movement harmony, similar to Jiu-jitsu.

In 1939, Hironori Otsuka developed this spiritual form of Karate.

It teaches students how to move their bodies to avoid attacks rather than contact sparring. This fluid form of Karate uses shorter stances than other karate styles to distinguish itself from others.


Shito-Ryu, a fourth style developed by Kenwa Mabuni in 1928, is about landing powerfully accurate strikes.

This style emphasizes technique, as evidenced by the fifty katas students learn, which students must perfect. These katas are frequently demonstrated as part of competitions, and students can be tested on them.

To perform the moves in this style, you must possess physical strength and a strong stance.

Karate Style Comparison! Names & Characteristics Explained


In the starting paragraphs, we looked at how Karate compares to other martial arts.

We checked if Karate is useful in a real fight. We also highlighted the health benefits of Karate. We found out what makes Karate unique. And then we wrapped up with checking if all Karate styles are the same.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell was Academy Director for a large martial arts school for over 7 years, and has trained extensively in a variety of martial arts including Brazilian Jiujitsu, different styles of Karate, the Russian Martial Art of Systema, Aikido, and much more.

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