Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - Karate, and the perception of the sport

Problem and Aim. Apart from delineating the borderline between the following terms; “martial art”, “budo”, “combat sport” and “fighting art”, this paper covers the main motives and factors for practicing karate in different countries. It attempts to distinguish the main trends based on the outputs of various sociological theories and studies.
Method. This study relies strongly on reflections that are available in the literature concerning the topic.
Results and Conclusions. Karate is considered a martial art, budo, combat sport and fighting art. It can sometimes even be a spectacle.
Martial arts discipline the mind by disciplining the body. Budo is based on the warrior’s philosophy of life and is closely linked to the spiritual dimensions of the practice. Combat sports aim for continuous improvement of performance. The concept of budo is included in martial arts. Martial arts and combat sports have two completely divergent goals. “Fighting arts” is an umbrella term encompassing martial arts and combat sports. Karate is perceived differently depending on practitioners’ cultural background. The main reasons for practicing karate fall into three main categories: pragmatic motives concerning health and sport; philosophical factors which are about education, and thirdly, utilitarian motives which are linked to self defense.