" Empty your mind; be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend. "

- Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee Shirtless - Combat Sports Chiro

Karate is a popular combat sports that originated from Japan after the ‘Taiso era’ of 1912 – 1926. The popular martial art developed form the indigenous martial arts in the Okinawan Island. In 1922 karate was introduced into the Japanese university Keio, it was at this university the minister of education in Japan invited Gichin Funakoshi (the founder of the widely used Shotokan karate-do) to perform a karate demonstration. Two years after the demonstration the university hosting the initaly demonstration established the first Karate class. By 1932 all the major Japanese universities had a karate club. Most recently almost 100 years since the first university demonstration, Karate was included in the Olympic games as the most recent combat sport. Karate can be practiced in multiple ways, with the strict art or kata form known as ‘budo’ or as self-defence/combat sport.

Karate Practice in the park - Combat Sports Chiro

The modern Japanese influenced Karate incorporates the psychological elements behind a proper ’kokoro’ or attitudes through virtues including perseverance, fearlessness, viture and leadership. Combat sports Karate involves an emphasis on exercise and ‘kumite’ competition.The combat sports component of Karate exists in ‘kumite’ orthe meeting of hands, with the formalised sequence of moving known as ‘kata’which translates to model or shape. Both Kumite and kata Karate exist separately at the Olympic games, with this page predominately looking at the Kumite aspects of Karate.

Competitive kumite in the Olympics exist with the following rule set:

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Yuko A – A straight punch to the body – 1 point

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Yuko B – A straight punch to the head – 1point  

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Wazari – middle kick to the body – 2 points

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Ippon A – high kick to the head – 3 points

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Ippon B – punch delivered to an opponent after they have been takedown/swept – 3 points

The bout concludes when an athlete reaches 8 points or when the 3 minutes runs out. In 2020 a systematic literature review with meta-analysis looked at the injury rates in Karate. Lystad al identify the total reported injury rates in Karate competition and was able to provide pooled estimates of injury. A reported incidence rate of 88.3 injuries per 1000 athlete exposures, or 39.2 injuries per 1000 minutes of exposure. That is 1 injury every 11exposures (bouts) or 1 injury every 25 minutes of competition. Whilst combat sports like Karate promotes a very healthy way of lifestyle competitive participation can result in injury. To date, there are no best practice injury prevention guidelines that reduce the injury incidence in Karate. Considering this, it is important to maintain strength and mobility whilst training Karate.

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Click Here To View References

1.  Arriaza, R. (2009). Karate. In: Kordi, R., Maffulli, N.,Wroble, R.R., Wallace, W.A. (eds) Combat Sports Medicine. Springer, London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-84800-354-5_16

2.  Lystad RP, Augustovičová D, Harris G, Beskin K,Arriaza R. Epidemiology of injuries in Olympic-style karate competitions:Systematic review and meta-analysis. British journal of sports medicine. 2020 Aug 1;54(16):976-83.

3.  Frigout J,Tasseel-Ponche S, Delafontaine A. Strategy and Decision Making in Karate.Frontiers in Psychology. 2020 Jan 17;10:3025.

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