Karate is a martial art,a method of unifying the body and spirit and of making human life at once broader and deeper. "Karate" is a combination of two Japanese words, "Kara" meaning empty or open and "Te" , meaning hand, and is therefore used to describe a style of unarmed combat.
The origins of karate are to be found in India (525 AD). The credit is given to a Buddhist priest named Bohdidharma. He studied the attacking techniques of animals and insects and the forces of nature, and, combining these with a special breathing technique, he created the basis for a legendary system of weaponless fighting and mental concentration. He created in China the Shao-Lin temple in the province of Honan and in that monastery he instructed other monks in his particular style of unarmed combat.
The system developed at the temple gradually spread throughout Asia, to Okinawa, Korea and Mongolia. By 1130 AD, aspects of this system had even been incorporated into the military disciplines of geographically and culturally isolated Japan. Various regionally and family-based styles and schools evolved, one of these being the Kempo style of Okinawa.
By 1901, Kempo was being taught openly in Okinawa, and in 1916, was demonstrated in Japan by master Gichin Funakoshi. There, under the name of Karate, practical applications of the system were further refined and united with the Zen-based philosophy of the Japanese disciplines. The popularity of karate as both a martial art and a sport spread quickly in Japan and beyond, contributing to the development of diverse systems and schools.It is a practical form of self-defense, emphasizing kicks, punches, blocks and body movement. It is an intense physical activity, which directly benefits mental conditioning.