Karate is a form of martial arts developed in Japan. Karate originated from Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands of Japan, and was influenced by Chinese martial arts minus the use of weapons which were prohibited to certain classes in Japan. It is primarily a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands and ridge-hands. Grappling, locks, restraints, throws, and vital point strikes are taught in some styles.
Karate is a great activity for general physical fitness, with the added benefit of teaching self defense. Most cities have several Karate dojo, as well as community Karate classes available. Many dojo or classes cater to families, so Karate can be a great family fitness activity.
There are generally 7 stages and 10 ranks in Karate, and a colored belt is associated with each stage or rank. An examination is required to pass each grade (except white). These are the main belt colors, although other colors are used depending on the school. Black belts have another 10 ranks, or Dan.
- Stage 1 - Rank 1 - White
- Stage 1 - Rank 2 - White, black strip
- Stage 2 - Rank 3 - Yellow
- Stage 2 - Rank 4 - Yellow, black strip
- Stage 3 - Rank 5 - Green
- Stage 3 - Rank 6 - Green, black strip
- Stage 4 - Rank 7 - Brown
- Stage 5 - Rank 8 - Brown, black strip
- Stage 6 - Rank 9 - Brown, two black strips
- Stage 7 - Rank 10 - Black