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A Brief History of Karate

             Karate is an art and sport that has been in existence for centuries. There are many different styles and traditions depending on the country from which it originates. Many people in the United States believe all forms of karate come from Japan and fail to realize that different styles are from different places. Each style also has it's own history and traditions but most agree that modern karate styles began in the same place with the teachings of a Buddhist monk named Bodhidharma. .
             Bodhidharma traveled from India to China in the sixth century to help spread Buddhism. It is believed that he was so disturbed by the unhealthy appearance of the monks that he began teaching them physical exercises. This system of calisthenics is often referred to as Shoalin ch?uan fa. Bodhidharma's goal was to develop mental vitality, concentration and physical fitness. These exercises were later developed into an art of unarmed self-defense called karate. .
             It is commonly believed that karate developed either on the Japanese mainland or on the island of Okinawa. But history shows that the teachings of Bodhidharma spread to other parts of China and Asia before arriving in Japan. It was the travels of the Chinese monks that brought karate to Okinawa and the people of this tiny island were responsible for developing karate into the art we study today. .
             The most accepted version of how karate arrived in Okinawa is a story of shipwreck survivors. It is believed that a ship from China was caught in a typhoon and the people on board were the first to bring karate to the island. Through the centuries the natives of Okinawa and other Asian immigrants to the island helped develop karate into the self-defense art form studied today. There were also many historical events in the history of Okinawa that helped the development of karate. Because of fighting with Japan in the 1500's, all weapons were banned on the island.

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