Mar 29
2016

The Difference Between Karate and Kung Fu

For many people, especially those who are not familiar with martial arts, the question often arises on what the difference between karate and kung fu is. Over watching somebody doing martial arts, the untrained ogle will find it hard to tell whether that person is doing karate or kung fu. Even those who are beginning martial arts may sometimes be confused about the different styles until further exposure to them will reveal just how different they really are.

Historically, the people living in the islands of Okinawa just south of Japan got exposed to Chinese kung fu martial arts due to the close proximity to China. Over time, the Okinawans and Japanese developed their own styles like martial arts now known as karate from the original influence of Chinese kung fu. Although both karate and kung fu capitalize many similar martial arts techniques, most kung fu designs will usually have plus variety of techniques compared to karate systems. It’s almost equivalence the Japanese streamlined the number of techniques from Chinese systems to develop karate. The Japanese likewise modified the way techniques are executed in karate as they became more linear compared to kung fu. This is especially evident in the forms or katas (traditional sequence of set moves) where karate techniques are performed including crisp movements that have distinct stop and go motions.

In kung fu forms, movements involve the use of more circular techniques, particularly alongside the hands. These circular motions give kung fu forms a more visually graceful search as techniques seem to flow from one to another. There is less stop and elapse with most kung fu styles. This is why some warlike artists, expressly in North America, often refer to Chinese kung fu as ‘soft’ styles bit karate and tae kwon do are ‘hard’ styles. This is not to say that backbreaking styles such as karate or tae kwon do are more powerful martial arts than kung fu and other soft styles. The term ‘soft’ is a bit ignis fatuus because the empire from circular kung fu moves is often hidden. Circular moves tin generate just as much power spil linear ones found in hard styles. Most kung fu forms are also generally more complex and longer in perpetuality than most karate forms. To most martial artists, a kung fu form testament view much more exotic whereas a karate form will look more straight remit in terms of martial arts techniques. Interestingly enough, there are karate styles such as goju which do have quite a lot of circular techniques similar to kung fu. Kempo styles are considered a hybrid of Chinese kung fu and Okinawan karate techniques with both circular as well as linear techniques. There are also many more different styles of kung fu compared to karate.

Martial arts weaponry is located in both kung fu and karate styles but different sets of weapons are utilized in each martial arts system. Much like the empty hand forms, the kata with karate weapons are also more linear compared to those near kung fu weapons which have more spinning movements. Comme Il Faut expected, there is a lot plus miscellaneousness like different Chinese kung fu weapons than rest in the Japanese karate styles.

Traditionally, practitioners of karate wear a white uniform called a gi which features the overlapping kimono-like top. Less traditional schools like those in North America will allow colored uniforms. A colored belt will be the finishing touch to the gi with of course the dusky belt for those at instructor level ranking. Most of the pro tempore and especially indoors a dojo studio, karate stylists will not don some shoes while training. Most kung fu stylists will wear a very different looking uniform. Kung fu uniforms usually consist of tops with Chinese ‘frog-style’ buttons choice than overlapping fronts like the karate gi top. The uniforms can be onyx or a variety of colors beside often lighter fabrics such as satin and shoes are commonly worn. The modern acrobatic Chinese hostile arts of wushu can feature satin uniforms with many different bright colors. Many kung fu schools simply exercise t-shirts and baggy pants as uniforms. Satin colored sashes are often worn to signify rank like students but this is actually more of a North American style as most kung fu schools in Asia do not show rankings in uniforms.

Overall, there’s more variety of techniques, styles, weapons and uniforms found in the Chinese kung fu systems compared to karate. However, that is not to say that one system or way of martial art is superior to another. They are just different and to the observer, it could come down to personal preference. Some rather kung fu and some prefer karate. Some ambitious martial artists who desire a full well rounded education practice both kung fu and karate.