Karate for overseas visitors Learning self-defence techniques, ‘Mawashi’ Roundhouse Kicking and event examples


Karate is one of several traditional Japanese martial arts.

The Sports Agency has given Karate the highest rank of “S” in its list of “Tokyo Priority Support Sports” for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.


This ranking was devised so that Japanese athletes could focus on events in which they have the best chance of winning a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

It goes to show just how important Karate is to Japan and to our national identity.

Karate is also a very popular sport abroad. In Europe and the US it is consistently ranked as one of the top three sports people want to learn.


When tourists visit Japan, we want them to have the opportunity to experience Japanese traditional culture and art.

It is not always easy to know what to offer, especially if they have visited many times previously.

They may have already experienced many aspects of our culture and you may be at a loss as to what to suggest next.


In this article, we’d like to introduce you to Karate experiences, focusing on self-defence and entertainment. Let’s entertain our overseas guests with authentic Japanese Karate, capitalizing on its already well established reputation overseas.


Karate and self-defence

Many people think of karate as a violent sport, but it’s much more than fighting, punching and kicking.

It’s also about training the mind and body to move freely and gracefully.

Karate originated in Okinawa and is based on a martial art called “Teh”.

Teh was actually a combination of Okinawan and Chinese martial arts, dating from a time when the islands were a separate kingdom from Japan known as ‘Ryukyu’.

It developed into Karate around the 17th century when the carrying of weapons was forbidden.


Karate’s appeal

If you are native Japanese speaker and would like some English phrases to help you explain Karate, please refer to the following article:

Introducing and Explaining Karate to Overseas Guests


Karate is not only famous in Japan, but is one of the most widely practiced martial arts in the world.

Its appeal lies in the Japanese approach to preparing the mind, body and spirit in learning the various techniques.

Respect for your opponent and the inner struggle with oneself, which begins and ends with the salute, are also key to developing mental strength.

Another characteristic of Karate is the clean posture of the fighters.

Also, it is not always the case that Karate is taught correctly in other countries, as it was originally developed to be taught in Japan.


If you want to experience authentic Karate, or learn it for self-defence, it is best to first create the right environment in which this can be done.


What is self-defence?

Karate self-defense is a set of movements and techniques that you can use to protect yourself in a threatening situation.

Through these self-defence techniques, you will be able to defend yourself and escape such an emergency.


You may think that for self-defense Karate involves attacking others, but it is about protecting oneself, so it doesn’t need to involve inflicting pain or intimidation of others.


In addition to fitness through physical exercise, knowledge is also an effective way to protect oneself.

It’s not just about fighting or attacking, it’s about knowing how to evade your attacker or avoid his/her blows, and knowing what parts of the body are vulnerable to counter-attack.

Its defensive nature makes it easier to incorporate into your hospitality event of your overseas guests.

And of course, we must ensure our guests do not suffer any injury during the hospitality event.


Is Karate  effective as self-defence?

There are many different self-defence techniques and styles, and many different martial arts experts teach self-defence.

Karate is one of the most popular and effective methods ones, and seminars are often held in Karate dojos.


Dojos that teach Karate for self-defence and also teach Karate’s philosophy, and are perfect settings to entertain overseas guests.


‘Kata’ and ‘Kumite’

There are two main disciplines within Karate practice: ‘Kata’ – form, and ‘Kumite’ – sparring.

There are individual and team competitions for both disciplines.


Today, Karate has spread all over the world and there are more than 100 million practitioners in the world.



A ‘Kata’ is a set of defensive and offensive movements executed in a set sequence or order.

Each ‘Kata’ has been developed and handed down from generation to generation. Kata are performed by one person against an imaginary opponent.


There are both team and individual Kata competitions.

The winner is the individual or team with the highest number of flags received, as judged by a panel of five judges.

The judging award flags based on:

   - Understanding of the meaning of each movement and technique

            – Accuracy of stance and technique

           – Power, speed and balance


Power, speed and balance are the basic criteria for judging.

(Quoted in Karatedo Magazine, October 2016 issue)

Additionally, you must always show proper respect by bowing before and after each Kata demonstration.


The more graceful the movements are, the more the spirit of Karate is captured within them.

Kata can be practised by anyone, regardless of their physical ability, age, qualifications, gender or culture.

The process of mastering Kata (forms) involves concentrating on each movement and controlling one’s body and breathing, and helps one become in tune with one’s inner self.



Kumite focuses on sparring with an opponent using the moves (punches, kicks, blocks, etc) learnt and practiced.

Each fighter is equipped with safety gear (Head-gear and pads) and spar one on one.


Points are scored according to the difficulty of the technique landed on the opponent’s designated attack areas of the body, and the winner is decided by two or more of the four judges.


No points are awarded for attacks on non-attacking areas of the body, so strikes must be controlled at all times.

In some schools, the art of Kumite can be taught as a form of self-defence.


In the case of a workshop for a guest’s short visit to Japan, it is advised to line up a Sensei who concentrates on teaching such self-defence techniques.


Team building with Karate

Through the practice of Karate, the mind is also developed, cultivating civility and respect for tradition.

It also teaches patience, cooperation and consideration of others.


In Kata competition, students can be grouped into teams which then compete against each other. Coordination and synchronization are essential elements of group competition.


In Kumite, teams of five practitioners compete against each other.

There are no height or weight restrictions, so tactics and strategy are more important than individual ability.

Team cohesion is also important, as it is necessary to have a strategy that shows off each individual’s abilities to the full:

      – The cooperation and synchronicity of Kata.

      – The team cohesion and tactics of Kumite



Traditional Japanese martial arts emphasize the spirit of ‘Rei’ (courtesy), consideration for others.


Karate Teambuilding is a unique way to develop these qualities in a team.

It is rare to find a team building experience that brings all of these highly sought-after qualities for International businesses together in one offering.

If you would like to know more about team building with Karate, please refer to the following article:


Team Building with Karate

Your Team Will Love ‘ Karate as Team Building’


Recommended Karate experiences and private lessons

If you’d like to give your overseas guests the chance to experience Karate for self-defence, we recommend private lessons in a small group.


In a private lesson, guests will be able to take the lesson at their own pace, with the instructors’ full attention.

Some of our instructors speak other languages, so if you would like to have a lesson in English we can help you select one.


If the lesson is in English, there is no need to translate, which saves time and makes the lesson go smoothly.

There are many lessons formats available for both men and women, so you can entertain a wide and diverse range of guests.


 Learn the Mawashi Kick in a 1 hour private lesson

If you are going to learn Karate self-defence  here, you will want to master at least one skill to take home with you.

The special hospitality you experienced in Japan will stay with you forever if you master any of the techniques introduced.


However, the Mawashi kick is considered by many as one of the coolest techniques in Karate.

While it is possible to learn the iconically cinematic Mawashi kick in a regular dojo class at a relatively early stage, if you can learn it in a private lesson, you will be able to master execution of Mawashi kick in the coolest way.


Mawashi kicking may sound difficult, but it is possible to learn it quickly with the help of a professional instructor who will teach you every single important point.

The correct form, posture and movement of the body are key to this difficult technique, private lessons are the way to go.


What is Karate entertainment?

At group parties and other events, real Karate practitioners perform Kata, and demonstrate ‘Kawara-wari’ (tile smashing) and baseball bat bending as entertainment.

The aura of power is overwhelming when you see this demonstrated LIVE, before your eyes.


In addition, when you are learning self-defence, your instructor will often personally coach you through movements one-to-one.


The instructor’s demonstration can also be entertaining and, depending on the technique, you guests will be able to see graceful and fluid movements up close, almost like being in their very own martial arts movie.

This is a level of experience and hospitality that is truly unique to Japan.


In addition to self-defence techniques, the instructor can also show you Kawara-wari and basic Kata, which are worthwhile in and of themselves.

Especially for overseas guests who know little of Karate, it is very important to provide entertainment for the eyes.


The appeal of Karate entertainment experiences and examples of events

Karate is a martial art that is also highly entertaining. Here are some examples of just how.


Kata Demonstration

Karate Kata are the pinnacle in terms of showing techniques perfected and handed down from generation to generation.

They are the embodiment of graceful body movement and mastery in one of its most artistic forms.


The tension between movement and stillness creates a unique atmosphere.


The entertainment of Kata embodies the beauty of traditional Martial Arts, the crystallization of stability in the midst of instability.

The suspenseful atmosphere of a Karate demonstration is worth experiencing not just as sport, but as an art.


Experiencing and learning Kata

If you guests have never tried to perform Kata before, they will be able to try it for the first time here in Japan.

A guest will learn how to use the line of his/her own body and find how to balance one’s centre-of-gravity, through repetition.


By becoming in tune with one’s body, one will experience a kind of inner dialogue.

This helps one to find one’s center, and creates a mental focus similar to meditation.


Tile smashing, bat bending and plank chopping demonstrations

What is more synonymous with the power of a Karate performance than Kawara-wari and bat bending?


With concentration and power the exponent shatters the tiles with a single, explosive blow. The experience of watching such a feat up close is awe-inspiring.

You can even try your hand at it yourself. If you are able to do it, the audience will be exstatic.


If you are interested in Karate and Martial arts performances, the following may also be of interest to you:


BUDO Teambuilding and Entertainment through Japanese Martial Arts



Karate is a Japanese martial art with a long history and tradition.

It is still an important sport here and is supported by the nation as a whole.


Today there are people who enjoy watching and participating in Karate.

Its popularity is a combination of many things, its power which appears almost super human, its grace, its excitement, usefulness, philosophy, even its sense of mystery.


Karate has the potential to be organised and presented in such a way that it can be fully enjoyed by visitors to Japan.

When you entertain guests from abroad, you have to fullfill many wishes and requirements.


Especially in the case of entertaining VIPs who have visited Japan many times or important clients’ business partners, you will have already experienced this.

Karate is one of the most popular sports in Japan, but it can also by used to teach self-defence, as well as offering an opportunity to experience the Japanese spirit.

Even with its popularity overseas you may still encounter guests from some countries with little or no knowledge of Karate at all.

In such circumstances when offering karate to your overseas guests, it would be advisable to include not only include learning techniques but also some easy-to-understand entertainment elements.


A private lesson where your guests can learn the basics on a one-to-one basis is a great way for them to have fun.


When you are entertaining guests, you need to be keep in mind time and accessibility.


Make sure you do your research and create an enjoyable overall experience, making it fun for your guests.

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