Karate is the word used to describe fighting techniques that use all parts of the body by performing strikes. The feet, legs, arms, fists, and the whole body itself can be used to apply attacks and also in defense.
Martial Arts is a generic term that encompasses many different fighting methods. Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, boxing, wrestling and others are just names that gives either a national flavor to the style or are the type of fighting one is studying.
In the end, it comes down to how to attack and defend yourself against someone using just your body parts. When martial arts weapons are involved then you get even more terms such as fencing, archery, soldiering, escrima or stick fighting, and many others.
Karate tends to provide a deeper understanding of philosophy and ethics than the fore mentioned styles due to the influence of Japanese culture. Karate itself means the open hand. The term Karate-do (pronounced "doe") implies a way or path of Karate. The implication of adding the suffix do is to give fighting a philosophical approach. Fighting must now be studied for the mental and physical progress that one achieves. This will include a belief that one will become better in character and adhere to such ideas as benevolence, loyalty, honor, and truth.
Historically, Karate owes its roots to many forms of fighting during the past centuries. Modern Karate stems from around the late nineteenth century from the island of Okinawa, after which it was exported to mainland Japan in the early 1920’s. It brought with it many other influences such as weapons fighting andChinese movements. The figure who receives most of the credit for this development was Gichen Funakoshi, a school teacher by profession in Okinawa. As a result, an entire style of Karate known as Shotokan was named after his pen name, Shoto, and is one of the classic and most highly followed styles in the world.
Today, sports Karate has taken hold exceptionally in the modern societies of the world. Many enjoy the very competitive television broadcasts of mixed martial arts, kickboxing, wrestling and others that are offshoots of the more classical arts. Still there persists the strong desire to study under the traditional ways where the mind and the body are involved in the pursuit of fighting methods. Many people want to develop the focus and inner strength that Karate-do can bring so they can apply those to their daily life in the workplace, at school and with their families.