Karate as a fighting method, can also be described as a martial art using many different techniques by using blocks, blows, escapes, joint manipulation. Karate-Do is also a school of behaviour and disciplin, which allows men and women at any age, in any condition, to develop their mental and physical qualities to their maximum capabilities.
The word karate means empty hand, but really it is a way of life that goes well beyond the self-defense applications. In traditional karate-do, we always keep in mind that the true opponent is oneself.

Shotokan founder Gichin Funakoshi said that "mind and technique become one in true karate." We strive to make our physical techniques pure expressions of our mind's intention, and to improve our mind's focus by understanding the essence of the physical techniques. By polishing our karate practice we are polishing our own spirit and our own mentality. For example, eliminating weak and indecisive movements in our karate helps to eliminate weakness and indecision in our minds, and vice versa.

It is in this sense that karate becomes a way of life, as we try to become very strong but happy and peaceful people. As Ohshima Sensei, has put it, "We must be strong enough to express our true minds to any opponent, anytime, in any circumstance. We must be calm enough to express ourselves humbly."
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