Despite belief to the contrary Karate is a comparatively young art/sport developed in Okinawa for defence against the oppressive Japanese forces, although strong origins can be traced back from China and India to Europe and Greece where the first fist fighting and wrestling was developed.

Karate is first and foremost a form of unarmed combat. A fighting system which uses the hands, feet, elbows and knees to deliver blows, kicks and strikes with great power.

Sometimes the name Karate do is encountered, this means 'the way of karate' and is a method of teaching karate designed to develop the mind as well as the body.

Originally, karate practise consisted simply of learning basic techniques, but when the art was first introduced into Japan, the Japanese traditions of ‘Budo’ (Martial Way) practice were incorporated into karate training. These taught that learning techniques was only the beginning, once you had learned them; you then trained with a set ‘ethos’ to develop the art.

There are many different styles of karate, each with its own distinctive characteristics. Some emphasise power, others speed, some have ‘Judo’ based throwing techniques, whilst others have strong modern day competition elements, there again others totally avoid competition believing it to be simulated.

In truth, Karate can be both competitive and non competitive, an exciting semi-contact sport and an effective form of self-defence, and it is up to each individual to take from this unique sport whatever they choose.

Best Style?
Now to the most frequently asked question:
Which Karate style is best? 

Unfortunately there cannot be a definitive answer, because it only raises another question - “Best for what?" If comparisons or a verdict need to be made, it is better to ask yourself “What suits me best?” and to consider what it is you actually want out of your Karate training. Self defence? Confidence? Fitness?

Some styles offer these in good ratio and some emphasize one or more aspect over the others. Some Karate styles are more suited to certain ages and diverse body types - but it depends what you want to achieve and the amount of time and effort you are prepared to put in.
  Sen Shin Ryu: developed by Shihan Peter Dennis 8th Dan based on years at the top of the competitive aspect of karate. It embodies the traditional values of early karate and is accentuated with speed, agility, and power, ideally suited in the modern, action paced sports of today.

It is a development of the Ishinryu style conception by Ticky Donovan OBE founded in 1971, which is loosely based upon his training in Wado-ryu, Shotokan and Kyokushinkai styles that is widely noted worldwide, for its many competition successes.

Sen: the Japanese terminology for ‘purify’ or cleanse the Mind, (Zen) A Karate practitioner must be focused even head strong to travel the long, sometimes tedious road of the martial arts to fully understand the true meaning of ‘The Way’. They must develop a clean and disciplined mind to absorb the details and examples that are taught to them by their Instructors over the years, which in turn help to produce control, create explosive reactions and in turn generate feline reflexes

Shin: the Japanese terminology for Heart & Body, (the soul)
Without the strength of determination and dedication, the true warrior will never have the qualities, the compassion and the respect they seek to reach their proper destination.

They will need a strong physical body to carry them through the times of trouble and vulnerability that we all incur along the path, combined with a strong heart to give them the understanding, the resolve and the fortitude to carry on when it seems impossible to gain a success or triumph.

Ryu: the Japanese term for Club, Style or Association

Meaning the group or organisation with which you have chosen to train, your commitment and loyalty should be beyond question and it should be considered an honour to wear the association badge or if you are called upon to represent your club, style or association, in competition.

“I feel that the calligraphies in Sen & Shin are representational of the embodiment of everything that is needed for the true modern day Karate practitioner to be truly successful”

(Shihan Peter Dennis 8th Dan)

A styles effectiveness has little to do with the actual style itself, it has much more to do with; the quality of instruction, individual training methods, and above all, the most critical element, the Karate – ka’s own willingness for dedication and determination.

All karate styles require hard practise and enthusiasm, no one style is better or worse than any other. No one style of karate tends to produce more champions than any other. Which style you choose will probably depend on what appeals to you personally or whatever style your local club practises.

On a national level, karate styles are practised in clubs, sports halls, Dojo’s etc. Clubs that practise the same style, or train under the same instructors, usually create a constitution then join together to form associations/federations and alliances.

In many countries these associations have themselves joined together to form governing bodies (EKF) (BKF) These larger groups then go on to organise national championships and select teams to represent them at European (EUK) or even World Championships. (WKF)

Only one thing is for sure - Karate training is up there as one of the best all-round physical and mental workouts you will get anytime anyplace.  Karate, regardless of style, is an apt activity suitable for everyone, regardless of age or gender. Karate exercise and training methods maintain and improve good circulation, and is a perfect aerobic exercise