Karate, the ancient martial art taking the world by storm

Karate is a modernized version of an ancient Chinese art known as Kung Fu, however the martial art greatly advanced in Okinawa around the late 17th century, when a ban of weapons was imposed on the Japanese samurai. The Japanese word “karate” means “empty handed” and it is an apt description for this martial art as training by early masters had to be done in secret as weapons could no longer be carried on the island. Self-defense had shifted to being based on empty handed techniques. Watching Tom Cruise’s movie, The Last samurai helps explain the forces behind the demise of the samurai and what led to the ban.