Practicing for a long time or being a total beginner, the experience of discovering and training a martial art in its country of origin can be a very interesting way to explore and understand the history, culture and philosophy of its society.
The historical origin of Japanese martial arts can be found in the warrior traditions of the Samurai and the ancient castle system that restricted the use of weapons by members of the non-warrior classes, combined to the philosophy of achieving spiritual goals.
Amongst the extremely diverse martial arts originating from Japan such as Jujutsu, Judo, Kendo or Aikido, Karate originated in the Ryukyu Kingdom, today known as Okinawa. Being a fusion of Okinawan martial art called 'te' and Chinese martial art, Karate (空手) literally means 'empty hand' and is also sometimes called Karate-do or 'the way of the empty hand' (空手道,). Karate itself like other martial arts has developed different styles through its history, such as Shōtōkan-ryū, Shotokai-ryū or Shitō-ryū for example. Furthermore, each 'dojo' or training place is heavily influenced by his sensei (master)'s style.