What is Karate?
Karate translated either means "Chinese hand" or "Empty hand" depending on which Japanese or Chinese characters you use to write it.
Karate emphasizes kicks and punches, blocks, strikes, evasions, throws, joint manipulations and a strong offense as a good defense.
Karate techniques consist basically of hand and foot techniques. Hand techniques are divided into defensive or offensive moves. Foot techniques are divided into kicking techniques; snap and thrust kicks. Other important elements of Karate include stances, posture, body shifting, hip rotation, and breathing.
Training differs widely but most of the Karate styles emphasize a fairly equal measure of basic technique training (kihon), application (bunkai) and forms (kata). Forms are stylized patterns of attacks and defenses done in sequence for training purposes. They are the text book of karate philosophy.
Okinawan karate styles such as Goju-Ryu tend to be hard and external. In defense they tend to be circular, and in offense linear. Also, these styles tend to place more emphasis on rigorous physical conditioning than the Japanese styles, which tend to have longer,more stylistic movements.