Which Martial Art is Best? Part 2: KARATE

It’s an inexact science but it’s still fun to compare all the different martial arts individually and speculate as to which is most effective. We opened with Judo; now, we move to Karate, one of the oldest and most popular martial arts of all time.

Karate outdates Judo by 500 years, if not longer, having debuted around the 13th century. It’s arguably a defensive art first and offense art second, as it focuses on being patient and inflicting damage with a limited number of strikes. Karate practitioners are known for honing their bodies and minds together to become extremely flexible and powerful while also mentally and spiritually strong.

As a result, Karate fighters can absorb blocks and heavy strikes, minimizing serious damage to the head and other vital areas. Uniting the mind and body also leads to the world-famous and often dramatized ability of Karate fighters to destroy obstacles – be they man-made or human – in singular blows, breaking bricks, wood, or, as we see in MMA, bones.

Famous Karate practitioners: Lyoto Machida, Georges St-Pierre

Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, the UFC’s light heavyweight champion, is living proof that Karate holds its own against other martial arts. Machida lives and breathes karate, reportedly striking blocks of wood up to 500 times a day. He uses an upright stance that keeps his head away from opponents and helps him block attacks before they get too close. He’s also a master of the counter attack, saving his strength before exploding with powerful, linear blows, as he did against Rashad Evans in UFC 98.

Georges St-Pierre’s base is Kyokushin karate, which he learned as a child. It explains his striking power, flexibility and sense of honor. However, GSP uses his karate as a complementary piece in his overall MMA repertoire. Because Karate doesn’t traditionally focus on grappling or clinching, it’s less versatile than some other disciplines. Even Machida, who uses Karate more exclusively, is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt.

On the effectiveness scale, I see Karate as an effective and powerful form of standup but one that doesn’t always hold its own against fighters who bring unorthodox ground skills to the table.

By Matt Larkin
Guest Writer

Find a Karate club in Toronto


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