The first specimen of martial arts come from Egypt and Mesopotamia, around 2.000 B.C., and demonstrate refined martial art techniques on wall paintings. Until 1.500 B.C. martial arts had been spread all over the world from China to Greece. The fact that several ancient Greek findings, represent wrestling scenes, proves the above allegation. Karate do is a traditional Japanese unarmed martial art, that uses effectively all parts of the body as powerful weapons. It is a form of self defense with defensive and attacking arm and leg techniques, in a great variety of combinations that knock down the opponent.
It has its roots in the 6th A.D. century, with the arrival of Indian Buddhist monk Bodidharma in China and his establishment in the monastery of Shaolin. Bodidharma (Da mo for the Chinese and Daruma for the Japanese), along with Buddhism, introduced Indian Kempo, a system for physical training and self defense, that later took the name of Chinese Kempo and gradually was filtrated in Ryu Kyu islands, a part of them in Okinawa, creating the foundation for Ryu Kyu Karate.
During that initial period, there were three different styles of martial arts in Okinawa. Shuri-te, Naha-te and Tomari-te that had taken their names from the corresponding areas. Those specific systems that were developed in Okinawa, were the result of the political status in the territory and of a decree in 1600 A.D. that forbade in the citizens of the district to circulate armed. That urged people to complete the unarmed combat methods with the use of their everyday tools (scythe, oar, spear, etc.) as weapons.At that time there were no specific styles, names, ranks and belts, like nowadays and so the different schools took their names by the teaching methods, the territories and the teacher’s names. Even though Okinawa was a part of Japan, the history and the distant location had the result of its citizens to be considered by the Japanese as peasants. In the decade of 1920, many teachers of Karate Do came to Japan, like Gichin Funakoshi founder of Shotokan, Kenwa Mabuni founder of Shito Ryu and Chojun Miyagi founder of Goju Ryu, in order to promote the art. Those were the fathers of modern Karate. Until the end of 1930 Karate Do practice emphasized only in Katas and their applications, while the form of Kumite like it is practiced today was influenced by other Japanese martial arts, like Judo and Kendo. Jigoro Kano, founder of Judo, was the one that created the modern belt system, during that period. Late 1950, a championship was established, with the modern acceptation of Karate, something that would have been impossible to cross the minds of the Okinawa teachers, to compete with each other under rules, because they believed that Karate techniques were so lethal that it would be impossible to stand in a championship. The name Karate Do has been influenced by the order to the Japanese Zen Buddhists and it means Kara=Empty, Te=Hand, Do=Way. So, Karate means "The way of the empty hand", a martial art which through discipline of body and mind, hard physical and mental training, has the supreme goal of character perfection, contrary to what many people think, that victory in a fight is the greatest success. World’s Karate Federation was founded in late 1960. The first World Championship was conducted on 1970 in Tokyo where 33 countries participated. In 1985 Karate was officially recognized by the I.O.C. (International Olympic Committee).
In Greece Karate arrived in early 1970 and its ascent has been copious. On September 1986 the Hellenic Federation of Amateurish Karate (H.F.A.K.) was founded and in 1990 was recognized as the only official athletic federation. In 1999 was renamed in H.K.F. (Hellenic Karate Federation). The Greek National Team participates in Balkanian, Mediterranean, European and World Championships, having achieved so far International success, a fact that declares the high level of Karate in our country nowadays.