The word Karate in Japanese means 'Open Hand', which signifies the fundamental aspect of this art, that is to use only your body as your defense leaving out any form of weaponry such as swords or guns. Karate is fighting at the most basic level, wherein one person uses an arsenal of punches, kicks and deflection against another's. The primary focus in karate is on coordinating the body with the mind to achieve the desired effect.
Karate is a martial art that finds it's origins in China, though it has become one that is much identified with Japan. Today, karate is practiced all over the world. The person credited with this widespread awareness of Karate is Funakoshi Yoshitaka, who brought the knowledge out of Okinawa, the island where it was chiefly practiced, into mainland Japan and then to the rest of the world.
Kata are a set of movements that teach a learner about principles of movement, timing and breathing. Some of them are short, while some are long, requiring significant practicing.
Kihon is where a learner understands how to use power in motions such as kicks, blocks and punches.
Here the leaner learns about fighting with a partner. Kumite starts with the basics and then moves on to the advanced levels of fighting.
Karate is a complex and ancient art and will take years of practice for a learner to master in it. All the above mentioned components, put together teaches a learner to apply the right kind of physical, mental and spiritual force to get the maximum power out of the force when fighting to defeat their opponent.
Karate is more than just a martial art form. Karate helps a learner to understand about their inner self and in turn about how they perceive and adjust to the life around them. For example if you were to apply for a job by just sending your resume to different consultancies, it is like fighting without a plan. How ever, when you update your resume to fit according to the job description of the company, you have a better plan of action and more chances of success.
Karate is useful for assessing your enemy's strength and weakness and going about attacking them in the best way possible. The same goes in case of stressful situations. If someone close to you were to pass away tragically, you can completely shut down because of the incident, which is like taking a punch squarely in the chest. Otherwise, you can lean to deal with the tragedy and the lessons that it has taught you and use it to move ahead, which is like learning how to deal with the punch in the chest with a better movement.