Comparison of karate styles
The table contains a comparison of karate styles. Some of the distinguishing features are listed, such as lineage, general form of stances, the balance of hard and soft techniques, and the number and names of kata forms.
The four earliest karate styles developed in Japan are Shotokan, Wado-ryu, Shito-ryu, and Goju-ryu; most styles of Karate are derived from these four. The first three of these styles find their origins in the Shorin-Ryu style from Shuri, Okinawa, while Goju-ryu finds its origins in Naha. Shuri karate is rather different from Naha karate, drawing on different predecessor influences. Shito-ryu can be regarded as a blend of Shuri and Naha traditions as its kata incorporate both Shuri and Naha kata.
When it comes to individual karate styles; Shotokan involves long, deep stances and powerful long range techniques. Shito-ryu, on the other hand, uses more upright stances and stresses speed rather than power in its long and middle range techniques. Wado-ryu too employs shorter, more natural stances and the style is characterised by the emphasis on body shifting to avoid attacks. Kyokushin, an extremely hard style, involves breaking more often than the other styles and full contact, knockdown sparring as a main part of its training. Goju-ryu places emphasis on Sanchin kata and its rooted Sanchin stance, and it features grappling and close-range techniques.
Comparison of styles
|Styles||Origin||Derived From||Balance of hard and soft techniques||Stances||Representative Kata||Number of kata||References|
|Chitō-ryū||Okinawa||Shōrei-ryū or Naha-te, Shōrin-ryū||both elements exist but more hard than soft||natural||Shi Ho Hai, Seisan, Ro Hai Sho, Niseishi, Bassai, Chinto, Sochin, Tenshin, Ro Hai Dai, Sanshiryu, Ryushan, Kusanku, Sanchin||15 kata not including kihon and Bo kihon/kata|
|Gensei-ryū||Okinawa||Shuri-te and possibly Tomari-te.||both, but mostly soft||deep/natural||Ten-i no Kata, Chi-i no Kata, Jin-i no Kata, Sansai, (Koryu) Naifanchi, (Koryu) Bassai, (Koryu) Kusanku or Koshokun (dai)||7 or 8|
|Gōjū-ryū||Okinawa||Fujian White Crane and Naha-te.||both||deep/natural||Sanchin, Tensho, Gekisai Dai/Sho, Seipai, Saifa, Suparinpei||12|
|Gosoku-ryū||Japan||Gōjū-ryū, Shotokan||both||deep (beginner), natural (advanced)||Gosoku, Rikyu, Denko Getsu, Tamashi||46 including weapons kata|
|Isshin-ryū||Okinawa||Gōjū-ryū, Shōrin-ryū, Kobudō||both, fast & hard||natural||Seisan, Naihanchi, Wansu, Passai, Chinto, Kusanku, Seiunchin, Sanchin, Sunsu||15 including weapons kata|
|Kyokushin||Japan||Shotokan, Gōjū-ryū||extremely hard||natural||Sokogi, Pinan + ura,||33|||
|Shūkōkai||Japan||Gōjū-ryū & Shitō-ryū||60% hard, 40% soft||natural||Pinan, Bassai Dai, Seienchin, Saifa, Rōhai||44|
|Shindō jinen-ryū||Japan and Okinawa||primarily Shuri-te like Shitō-ryū, but also Naha-te and Tomari-te||both||deep/natural||Shimpa, Taisabaki 1-3, Sunakake no Kon||More than 60 counting all kobudo kata|
|Shitō-ryū||Japan and Okinawa||Shuri-te and Naha-te||both||deep/natural||Pinan, Bassai Dai, Seienchin, Saifa, Rōhai, Nipaipo||94|||
|Shōrin-ryū||Okinawa||Shuri-te, Tomari-te, Chinese martial arts||both, primarily fast & hard||natural||Fukyu, Pinan, Naihanchi, passai, kanku, seisan||21|
|Shotokan||Japan||Shōrin-ryū and Shōrei-ryū||70% hard, 30% soft/fast||deep (beginner), longer (advanced)||Unsu, 3 Taikyoku, 5 Heian, 3 Tekki, Jion, Kanku Dai, Bassai Dai, Empi, Sochin||26|||
|Shuri-ryū||Okinawa||Shuri-te, Hsing-yi||both||deep/natural||Wunsu, O-Naihanchi, Sanchin||15|
|Uechi-ryū||Fuzhou, Fujian Province & Okinawa||Pangai-noon Kung Fu, Huzunquan Naha-te||half-hard, half-soft||mainly natural||Sanchin, Seisan, Sanseirui||8|
|Wadō-ryū||Japan and Okinawa||Shindō Yōshin-ryū Jujutsu, Tomari-te and Shotokan||both, primarily soft||mainly natural||Primary: Pinan, Kushanku, Naihanchi, Seishan, and Chintō. Secondary: Jion, Wanshu, Jitte, Rohai, Bassai, and Niseishi||15|
|Yōshūkai||Japan and Okinawa||Chitō-ryū||90% hard, 10% soft (similar in hardness to Kyokushin-kai and/or Sabkai Enshin karate)||mainly natural||Shi Ho Hai, Seisan, Ro Hai Sho, Ro Hai Dai, Niseishi, Bassai, Chinto, Sochin, Tenshin, Sanshiryu, Ryusan, Kusanku, Sanchin||18|
- Boxing styles and technique
- Hybrid martial arts
- Styles of Chinese martial arts
- Styles of wrestling
- Comparison of kobudō styles
- Karate kata—includes comparison of kata performed by style
- Corcoran, John and Farkas, Emil. Martial Arts. Traditions, History, People. Gallery Books, 1983, p. 49.
- Clayton, Bruce D. Shotokan's Secret, The Hidden Truth Behind Karate's Fighting Origins. Black Belt Communications LLC, 2004, p. 97 & 153.
- Kara-te Magazine. Special Collector's Edition - Kara-te, History, Masters, Traditions, Philosophy. Blitz Publications, p. 27, 45, 39 & 67.
- "Huzun Quan | 虎尊拳". www.taipinginstitute.com. Retrieved 2021-02-27.
- "Wado Ryu Kata - USA Wado Ryu".
- Karate-do Kyohan, written by Gichin Funakoshi, translated by Tsutomu Oshima (1935).