“Karate-Do” literally means “The way of the empty hand”. This includes the philosophical notion of emptying oneself of improper motives. The principals of training go beyond technique and can be applied to everyday life.
Gichin Funakoshi (Founder of Shotokan Karate) is credited as the founder of modern day karate. He was opposed to “sparring” as he believed that it did not allow students to practice full focus techniques (at least not without hurting each other)
Some of Funakoshi’s followers however wished to test out their skills and soon they began to involve themselves in sparring sessions that involved suiting up in protective padding.
Funakoshi heard about these bouts and, when he could not discourage such attempts, which he considered belittling to the art of karate, he stopped visiting them. Neither Funakoshi nor Ohtsuka showed up ever again. It was after this event that Gichin Funakoshi prohibited sports sparring. (The first competitions did not appear until after his death)
Karate training involves little instruction in philosophy. Students are expected to learn the underlying philosophical principals through hard work and much practice. By following the technical directions of the instructors, the example of senior students and applying themselves completely to each technique karate-ka will develop a deep understanding of both the technical and philosophical aspects of Karate.
It is said in Karate that there is no second chance. Karate-ka are taught to use each technique as if their lives depended upon successful application.
Karate is an “External” Martial Art, relying on speed, strength, stamina, fast reflexes, flexibility and agility.