10 Things You Didn’t Know About Karate


For many, karate is life…but do you know about karate’s life? Here are 10 interesting facts that you may not have known about the art of karate. 

  1. You may know that the art of karate originates from Japan, but do you know where? Although geographically it stems from Japan, its roots are Chinese. Karate was born in the southernmost part of the country, in the coastal region that we know today as Okinawa. Okinawa’s culture is heavily-influenced by China, and it was formally known as the Ryukyu Kingdom. In the 17th century, this was the region where karate was first seen, and where its tactics were first adopted. 
  1. There’s a reason for the colour order when it comes to belt ranks. The creation of the black belt goes back140 years ago thanks to a man by the name of Jigoro Kano. Similar to now, the belt system was used as a way to mark a student’s progress visually. The tale goes that all students began with a crisp and clean white belt. Over time, training, blood, sweat, and tears, it’s told that the students’ belts would slowly start to become dirty and worn out. This would, over time and training, cause belts to turn a darker color like the black belt we know today. You would be able to mark a student’s progress based on the darkness of their belt. Today, it is modernized by using fun, coloured belts!
  1. Karate was originally called ‘tode’ which translates from Chinese to ‘China hand’. It was then renamed by the Japanese when they took it under practice.
  1. There are some famous black belt holders! Celebrities like Elvis Presley, Ed O’Neill from Modern Family, Chuck Norris, and Keanu Reeves are all black belt recipients. 
  1. Karate has a day too! June 17th marks World Karate Day and is celebrated by students and senseis in dojos worldwide. It also makes just so happens to fall around summertime which a very popular time of the year in which new students enroll. 
  1. Karate wasn’t always considered an official Olympic sport. It made its debut just a few years ago at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. In which, eight participants took home a gold medal, as well as many others taking home silver and bronze. Since then, the sport has also grown larger than ever before and is practiced in countries all across the world. 
  1. Karate really made its mark on Western culture after the release of a certain movie in the 1980s. Any guesses? That’s right, 1984’s Karate Kid caused a major spike in the popularity of karate and martial arts in North America. Many other films stars like Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, and Jackie Chan also had a major influence. Although karate was already present post-World War II, it was Hollywood that really ignited a lot of its spark in North Americans.
  1. Slow and steady really does win the race. According to various studies and measurements, it is said to take an average of 3 to 7 years for a student to achieve their black belt in karate. For some, it can even take longer as everyone goes at their own pace! In fact, the average age of a karate black belt is around 28-years-old. This truly emphasizes the point that good things come to those who wait. 
  1. Karate can be seen in many forms. There are many different styles of karate, but some of the most popular tend to be Shotokan, Wado Ryu, Goju Ryu, and Shito Ryu.
  1. Contrary to common belief, karate does not involve the use of weapons of any sort. Often depicted in films and TV, students and senseis are seen using an array of weaponry. Although some styles may utilize this, the karate classes you know and love do not. Instead, students are tought to work with their body, mind, and spirit. 

Douvris Martial Arts offers karate programs to those as young as 4-years-old all the way 18-years-old and beyond. You can view all of our programs, levels, and weekly schedules here.  

Note: These facts were obtained by our own knowledge, and through medias we have consumed. Due to the nature of these, we cannot truly fact check them.