How Dangerous Is Karate?

There are frequent questions asked about the safety of karate. It’s one pressing issue among people interested in the sport. However, karate was never intended to hurt anyone. Rather, it was designed as a form of self-defense. 

What’s Karate? 

Karate is a form of Japanese art that uses physical combat as a means of self-defence. The major theme of karate centres on physical training and self-defence fights that don’t involve the use of weapons. Karate training arm you with both physical as well as mental training, which instills self-discipline. 

Karate can also be classified in the same category as taekwondo, Kong fu, and ninjutsu. It involves a variety of physical movements, which include blows, strikes, blocks, throws as well as joint locks that renders an opponent weak. 

Despite the generalization, all karates aren’t the same. There are different categories and styles. Presently, the art is divided into four main categories, namely: Goju-Ryu, Shokotan, Wado-Ryu, and shito-Ryu. 

All four styles emphasize the basic principles of hand strikes and several kicking techniques. All karate styles are combative, and students practice these moves in an imaginative style before they’re executed on the street. 

The principle of karate enforces mind training in addition to building a positive attitude that focuses on loyalty, self-respect, as well as personal development. Learning karate will be an uplift for an individual who is a target for bullies. Many students of this art rely on their skill in street fights and most likely come on top in one-on-one situations. 

The prerequisite of karate is to arm you with skills to reverse dangerous attacks, and in some battles, it’s possible to inflict serious injuries even when not intended. With karate, it is like having a dagger with you, but you have no right to use it until the need arises. 

Karate students are not trained to be bullies, but the biggest concern arises from how the one with the skill decides to use it. Unfortunately, this has left a bad stain on this art since most students use it for the wrong reason. 

Is Karate Dangerous? 

We look at answering this question from the angle of learning and not in terms of self-defense. First off, karate might be a non-contact form of sport where little weapon is used, but for safety, you don’t want to enroll kids in the contact form of this art. This is because they’re bound to go through several sparing training that might expose them to a lot of injuries. 

Of course, there are different styles of karate, but we don’t see any way you can indulge in this training without taking a few strikes. There could be mistimed hits, which will result in serious injury even to adults. 

Bruises and sprains are the best that can happen. The worst are concussions, suffocations, and spine damages. Of course, we understand that every training comes with its own risk. That’s why we advise you to go with safety equipment that will minimize the risk of head, neck, and spine injury. 

How to learn karate 

Karate isn’t easy, especially for a newbie. It isn’t an act you can learn in few weeks, but your level of skill depends on the dojo you enroll. Karate training is expensive, and with many types of schools available, you want to take your time to find which one will be great for your schedule. 

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To have firsthand experience of how things are done, visit the school you plan to enroll. If time permits, have a little chat with the instructor to know which style is taught here. If you are satisfied with the quality of training offered, you can go ahead and enroll. 

Even in an award-winning institute, ensure the atmosphere is friendly; the same applies to the students and instructors. An institute that hoard bullies are a red flag for you to learn in. 

Lastly, if you’re serious about reaping the full benefits of karate, enroll in dojos where more emphasis is placed on contact sparing. The more practical you have under your wings, the better you get.  

Some dojos are likely to have equipment for physical conditioning, such as a punching bag. Along the line, you might be introduced to a few techniques from aikido or Kung Fu, which will be useful in disarming your opponents. Going toe to toe against other fighters will help you learn faster and is a serious step for you to know if you can fight in street battles. 

Is Karate Useful In Street Fights 

We don’t want to adopt the textbook opinion that karate can help in every combat. Some suggestions sound out of context and larger-than-life. Learning karate doesn’t make you a fearless fighter who goes around throwing monkey kicks, as seen in Shaolin “dubbed” movies. 

In reality, certain karate techniques can be useful in street fights without even trying too hard. This is because most karate moves are executed with the fighter on his feet.

However, a knowledge of body language will determine how you perform in street fights. Your ability to understand your opponent’s body language will determine how you strike and block punches that will inflict damages on your face. 

When learning karate, you need to be clear about your intention as that will determine the skill you’re most likely to focus on. Overall, your skillset depends on who you learn from. Trainers who take you through several sparring exercises are the best. These are the techniques that will be useful in defending yourself on the street. 

Requirements to learn karate  

Karate is for everyone, but each individual have their purpose for learning. Free clips on YouTube suggest you need a bit of physical fitness, but that’s far from true. You can learn karate regardless of your physical condition, and you can quickly get in shape while at it. 

Every karate training will require that you have training gear. This is usually a white uniform and a belt tied around your waist. Some training schools will provide you with this while in others, you have to get it yourself. 

Most curriculum is designed to take you from basic to advanced. Even though karate doesn’t involve weapons, there is a wide variety of styles you will have to execute with either a whip, staff, sword, or chain. 

During these exercises, you need to protect your head, hand, chest, feet, and chin against injury. Male students are required to install a groin cup to protect the groin area. 

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Why you should learn karate 

You can learn karate for a whole lot of reasons. And some of which includes: 

  • Self-defense: One of the major reasons people go into it is for self-defense. The main purpose is to fight back opponents that are looking to hurt you. The first time you will try to execute any of the moves beyond the training room, you’re bound to get scared about getting hit, and this might keep you from fighting back. 
  • Improve self-confidence: As your fear subsides, you become more confident, which translates to taking on opponents of different sizes. Overall, karate won’t make you a bully, but it sometimes gives false security, especially in kids whose expectations are pure fantasy. 
  • Physical fitness and muscle conditioning: Also, you can learn karate to improve your fitness or flexibility. The exercises are demanding, and it will require a lot from you physically and mentally. Your muscles get conditioned, and you become less susceptible to injuries in the long run. 
  • Discipline: Lastly, most karate training promotes a feeling of togetherness. It’s seen as a brotherhood where one member looks out for the other. Despite the violence associated with martial art, most karate fighters are disciplined and nice to people on the street. They don’t try to oppress their peer even with their physical advantage. 

Difference between karate and taekwondo 

Few people still believe karate and taekwondo are the same. True, both share several things in common, but there are key differences that need to be observed. 

Leg kicks: Taekwondo involves more leg kicks than karate. A typical taekwondo training involves jumps, spin, and kicks to vital body zone. It only uses the hand as a backup. More damages are inflicted with the leg than the hand. For this reason, karate is more grounded. 

Clothing: karate is practiced in a Gi while taekwondo is practiced in a tobo. Karate students mostly wear colored waist belts to indicate their present skill level. 


Having studied the various types of martial art, we would say both have its pros and cons. Karate is quite effective in terms of self-defense but the training aren’t regulated these days due to the number of incapable instructors around. The danger is minimized if you train with safety equipment around the head, neck, or groin. 

Lastly, karate training isn’t fast, and it takes a while to execute all moves to perfection. A great deal of patience is needed to transfer your skill from the training room to the street where you can exercise your physical advantage. 


Hi - I'm Jonathan, and I've been passionate about fighting ever since I was a little kid. I did some Karate, Judo, and Kickboxing, and always wanted to try Aikido. I started this site to indulge my passion for Martial arts, answering all the geeky questions I had. Now I want to share all the information I've learned with you guys.

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