Karate (空手)or karate-dō (空手道) is a martial art that developed from a synthesis of indigenous Ryukyuan fighting methods and Chinese kempo. "Karate" originally meant Te, or hand, i.e. Chinese hand, which was later changed to a homonym meaning 'empty hand' in Japanese. It is known primarily as a striking art, that features turning punching, kicking, knee/elbow strikes and open handed techniques. However, grappling, joint manipulations, locks, restraints/traps, throws and vital point striking also appear in karate. A practitioner of karate is called a karateka (空手家).

In general, there are many components to modern karate training. One common division is between the areas of kihon (basics or fundamentals), kata (forms), and kumite (sparring). Another popular division is between art, sport, and self defense training. Weapons (kobudo) comprise another important training area, as well as the psychological elements incorporated into a proper kokoro (attitude) such as perseverance, fearlessness, virtue, and leadership skills. Often in the execution of a technique, karateka are encouraged to issue a loud kiai or 'spirit shout'.

Kata (型) means "form" or "pattern," and despite how they might appear to the outsider, are not simply aerobic routines. They are patterns of movements and techniques that demonstrate physical combat principles. Kata may be thought of as a sequence of specific Karate movements that address various types of attack and defense under ideal circumstances. It is important to remember that they were developed before literacy was commonplace in Okinawa or China, so physical routines were the logical method for preserving a body of this type of information. It is also important to remember that the moves themselves may have multiple interpretations as self-defense techniques - there is no 'standard right or wrong' way to interpret them, but interpretations may have more or less utility for actual fighting. In karate, there are many types of Kata available. Depending on the current grade of the pupil, a specific Kata must be practiced and ready to perform at a grading for one to grade to the next Kyu or Dan level.

Kata by the same name are often performed with variations between styles, within schools of the same style, or even under the same instructor over time. None of these variations are more "correct" than the other, though during testing only one version is typically accepted all around the world.

Kumite (組手) literally means "meeting of hands," and has many incarnations. Sparring may be constrained by many rules or it may be free sparring, and today is practiced both as sport and for self-defense training. Sport sparring tends to be one hit "tag" type for points. Depending on style or teacher, take-downs and grappling may be involved alongside the punching and kicking.

IPPON KUMITE - One step sparring, typically used for self defense drills

SANBON KUMITE - Three step sparring, typically used to develop speed, strength, and technique

KISO KUMITE - Structured sparring drawn from a kata

JIYU KUMITE - Free sparring

NUSUMI ASHI - back foot steps in first, front foot steps second to close distance

OKURI ASHI - front foot steps in first to close distance, back foot follow

TSUGI ASHI - stutter step, typically the front foot makes a small closing step followed by a much larger one to close distance with the back foot following as needed

AYU SHI - the back foot steps through to the front to close distance

Karate has a dojo kun which is basically a set of guidelines for karetekas to follow both in the dojo and out of the dojo, in a kareteka's everyday life.

* Seek Perfection of character
* Be Faithful
* Endeavor
* Respect Others
* Refrain from violent behavior