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Karate – developed in the Ryukyu Islands, in what is now Okinawa, partially from indigenous fighting methods called te (literally “hand”-Tii in Okinawan) and from Chinese kenpo - is one of the most popular martial arts with Web Japan (sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs) claiming there to be 50 million karate practitioners worldwide.
In Karate punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands are strongly emphasized – although grappling, locks, restraints, throws, and vital point strikes are taught in some styles.
Today karate is practiced for self-perfection, for cultural reasons, for self-defense and as a sport, with most schools affiliated with, or heavily influenced by, one or more of these styles: