Wushu and karate: what is it and what is the difference between the two?

Karate is like boiling water, if you do not heat it constantly, it will cool.“
(Gichin Funakoshi)

The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”
(Bruce Lee)

If you look at these martial arts solely as types of martial arts, then outwardly you may not notice the differences, or they will not be so significant, because each direction teaches the fight against the enemy and the desire to win in battle. But I, as a person who have been engaged in both that and that type of martial art for 6 years, can say that there are differences in them.

First, let’s figure out what is wushu and what is karate.

Wushu or Kungfu, is a hard and soft and complete martial art, as well as a full-contact sport. It has a long history in reference to Chinese martial arts. It was developed in 1949 in an effort to standardize the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts, yet attempts to structure the various decentralized martial arts traditions date back earlier, when the Central Guoshu Institute was established at Nanking in 1928. Nowadays, wushu has actually become an international kind of sport thanks to the activities of the International Wushu Federation. The International Wushu Championships are held every two years. The first such championship was held in 1991 in Beijing.

Karate is a Japanese martial art that is a defense and attack system. The term ‘karate’ was introduced into circulation in the 18th century. This is a type of martial arts, a special type of fencing using different parts of the body for defense and attack, but primarily for defense. This is a life path in which a person is engaged in strengthening his body and spirit, expanding the limits of his capabilities.

Now that we are more or less oriented in terms, let’s figure out what is the difference between these two martial arts.

In both wushu and karate, there is a whole range of special technical exercises using arms and legs. In wushu, additional items are also used, such as a sword or a stick. Personally, I have used both. Techniques allow you to conduct a shock attack or make defensive maneuvers. However, formal karate exercises are very different from wushu techniques. Complexes of any wushu styles are often very long and, as a rule, are based on continuous movement, when one complex leads to another without stopping. Complexes in karate are not so long, and between the techniques there are clear pauses, which are practically absent in wushu. In wushu all exercises in the complex are done as if in one breath.

It should also be noted that the movements in wushu are softer and smoother in contrast to the movements in karate. The technique in wushu is more conducive to the use of circular movements and emphasizes the grace and plasticity of the practitioner, it can be compared with the concept of softness. In turn, the technique of karate basically involves carrying out strong attacking blows, visually drawing straight lines, one might even say that the movements in karate are rougher. The principle of karate is more like the concept of hardness.

In general, these are all the differences between these sports from each other. But in order to fully understand the difference, you need to either watch a video with exercises, or communicate with representatives of both sports. However, your own practice and the communication with an experienced coach is the best variant.

From my own experience, I can say that I personally like wushu more. A more entrancing and exciting sport. But wushu was less popular among children at the time I was practicing it. Even now, more people know what karate is and do not understand what wushu is. I also want to note that in the wushu group I was the only girl out of twenty people. The same situation was most of the time in the karate group, but sometimes several girls came. But what is there, the girls did not stay for a long time, and only I, in total, spent 6 years in these sports, even having visited the competition once.

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