Karate is a martial art developed in Okinawa from indigenous fighting and Chinese kenpō. Karate is a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands a.k.a. the karate chop. Grappling, locks, restraints, throws, and vital point strikes are taught in some styles.

Karate developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom prior to its 19th century annexation by Japan. It was brought to the Japanese mainland in the early 20th century during a time of cultural exchanges between the Japanese and the Ryukyuans. In 1922 the Japanese Ministry of Education invited Gichin Funakoshi to Tokyo to give a karate demonstration. Keio University became the first Japanese university to open a dojo (training hall); by 1932, all Japanese universities had a dojo. In this era of escalating Japanese militarism, the name karate was changed many different times but was always pronounced karate – to indicate that the Japanese wished to develop the combat form in Japanese style. After the second world war, Okinawa became an important United States military site and karate became popular among American servicemen stationed there.