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see martial artsmartial arts,
various forms of self-defense, usually weaponless, based on techniques developed in ancient China, India, and Tibet. In modern times they have come into wide use for self-protection, as competitive sports, and for exercise.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a Japanese system of self-defense without weapons, using blows of the arms (edge of the hand, fist, elbow) and legs against the most vulnerable parts of the human body (for example, the solar plexus, carotid artery, liver, or nerve ganglia). It is also a form of combative sport. Its origins lie in means of self-defense without weapons known by various Asian peoples even in ancient times.

The modern system of karate was created at the beginning of the 20th century by the selection and modernization of the techniques of jujitsu. The founder of this modern system is considered to have been G. Funakoshi (1869–1957) of Japan. Since then, it has become widespread in the countries of Asia and Latin America and in the United States, France, Spain, and elsewhere. In the middle of this century, it was recognized as a separate variety of combative sport. In 1968, an international karate federation was formed; in 1972, it included about 40 separate national federations. The first international karate championship was held in 1970 and the first all-European championship in 1971. In matches, the combatants only indicate the use of this or that technique without carrying it out fully, so as not to injure each other. They are dressed in the traditional garb of judo fighters and fight on tatami mats. Competitors are not divided into separate weight categories. Karate is not widely studied in the Soviet Union.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a. a traditional Japanese system of unarmed combat, employing smashes, chops, kicks, etc., made with the hands, feet, elbows, or legs
b. (as modifier): karate chop
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