There is some confusion as to what the term “traditional karate” means. The belt ranking system synonymous with different levels of karate experience is actually borrowed from judo. The language used by the originating culture of karate in Japan to describe the positions and techniques is quickly becoming extinct. The modern understanding of sparring is also newer than the idea of traditional karate suggests. Even the concept of loyalty has changed, with loyalty to a single instructor a new phenomenon. Karate has changed so much from its origins as a noble art form, it’s difficult to say there is any true traditional karate still.
- Many think of traditional karate as the practice of donning clean, white, training uniforms with colored belts indicating a student’s level of expertise.
- Kumite, which is the act of sparring with a partner, is fairly new to the tradition of karate.
- The language of karate is mostly Japanese terms to explain certain techniques, postures and traditions.
“Some may see tradition in the practices handed down to them over generations, which is reasonable, but some practices are older than others.”