Diversity of Karate - a comparative video collection

(by Marc Janott, May 2015)

Karate is a martial arts system that comprises a wide spectrum of activities under a single label. Different forms of Karate training reflect that spectrum. So, depending on what you train for, your Karate training will more or less resemble other activities that are not called Karate.

Just playing around with this idea, on this page I have collected Karate videos and other videos that show some possible aspects of Karate training compared to other activities which resemble those aspects.

To be clear: I do not want to make any statement here, except maybe that people can approach Karate from a number of different angles. - In no way is this collection suitable to say anything about how one should practice Karate or whether any other activities are somehow better or not. - Oh, and of course no claim to be complete.

...Alright, here we go...

Karate Self-Defence

Self-defence is about:

  • the legal aspects of self-defence
  • fending off physical assaults
  • self-protection and self-assertion

Karate was originally developed as an art of civilian self-defence. Its self-defence principles and methods were encoded in Katas. By analyzing (bunkai) these Katas today, Karate can still be trained as an effective self-defence system.

Karate Self-Defence Examples

Self-defence Kata bunkai oyo

Self-defence scenario excercise

Compare Karate self-defence with...




Self-Protection course

Competition Kumite

In Kumite as a competition sport, the goal is:

  • Being awarded points by a referee while following the rules of the sport.</li>

Karate Kumite is an athletic competition sport in which the opponents attempt to touch one another with their hands and feet. The rules place high priority on fairness and avoiding injuries. Dynamics, tactics, timing and working the distance are required skills.

Competition Kumite Examples

Competition Kumite

Competition Kumite

Compare Competition Kumite with...






Examples of alternative competition Kumite types

These are a little more physical but still fair.



Compare alternative competition Kumite types with...

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

Competition Kata

The Kata single discipline is first and foremost about a convincing performance of the Kata. In the Kata team discipline the three team members also have to move in sync. In the Kata team finals they also have to perform a fight choreography that follows the kata sequence.

To be successful in competition Kata, one has to:

  • impress the judges with
  • looking good,
  • speed,
  • precision,
  • stability,
  • timing,
  • atheletic performance.

Competition Kata examples

Competition Kata single

Competition Kata team

Learning Kata for competition

Compare competition Kata with...

Synchronised swimming


Tango Argentino

Latin dance


Floor excercises


Many people practice Karate as a leisure activity to

  • stay fit,
  • stay healthy,
  • excercise,
  • work out.

Some dojos cater to this audience by offering specially designed training groups.

Karate fitness examples


Compare Karate fitness with...

Tae Bo

Fitness centre






Systematic Exercise

By systematic exercise I mean training forms that:

  • improve coordination
  • improve self control
  • develop body awareness
  • build up muscles

Coordination exercises and functional gymnastics are both useful for competition sports, as well as in leisure activities or health care.

Systematic Karate exercise examples

Kihon training

Karate core training

Karate core exercise

Mulitmedia Karate

Compare systematic Karate exercise with...





Asian martial arts like in the movies

In the movies we love fight scenes with

  • aesthetic moves,
  • athletic action,
  • some coolness factor,
  • inventiveness.

Karate in the movies

Fighter in the wind

Compare Karate in the movies with...

Kungfu, Taichi, Aikido, Muay Thai, Ninjutsu

Fist of Legend

The Matrix

The bottom line

The spectrum of Karate is manifold. There are certainly many more things to discover.