The Art of Karate Explained in 80 Seconds [VIDEO]

Everyone knows that Karate is a martial art.

But few people know what “art” really means.


During my recent trip to Canada, where over 100+ people (ranging from orange belt to 8th dan) attended my Karate seminars, I was interviewed about this exact topic.

For me, Karate involves a never-ending learning process.

Through that learning process – we have the opportunity to create art.

Here’s the video:

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PS. My next seminar is KNX15: The Karate Nerd Experience 2015. Tickets sold out in 24 hours – but don’t worry! The whole event will be professionally filmed for you, just like last year. Get your KNX15 video here. You don’t wanna miss this… ; -)


    • Gracias! Much appreciated James-san.
  • Fantastic statement and I plan on quoting it: "Learning doesn't require humility, it demands it!" Great video with an excellent message. Thank you for making it. Regards, Jesse
    • Thank you Jesse-san! Quote on! :-)
      • Bobby
  • szilard
    Well said. To me it is in this part of dojo kun: "Continue your training with patience."
    • Thanks for chiming in Szilard-san! It seems everything is in Dojo Kun, isn't it? :-)
  • Ossu! [bow] Amen and amen! The concept of lifelong learning is near and dear to this former home-school mom :-) [bow]
    • Thanks Joelle-san! Keep learning and never give up.
  • Bayu Rizky Nugroho
    Well said Jesse-san! Karate is the way of empty hand.. the way of living..
    • Indeed, Bayu-san. The Way of Life :-)
  • Wasp
    Excellent message, Jesse!
    • Thanks Wasp-san!
  • Asmaa heikal
    great video. loved it. i wish everyone that trains karate applies this rule. i think its a really essential part of the karate journey. oss! *bows* comment from a fan from egypt.
    • Thanks Asmaa-san! I agree. Hope the sun is shining in Egypt!
  • Benjamin
    Thanks for the Bassai Sho bunkai idea at the end.... A fan of your posts as always.
    • Good eye! Thanks for supporting my work Benjamin-san! :-)
  • Carlos Sánchez
    Karate ka with the right set to mind knows that we never stop learning that there is always something new to learn about the art of karate and everything that involves it. Nowadays you see young people that as soon as they got their black belt they thing they know as much as someone who has been in karate for many many years. We live to learn!!!
  • Couldn't agree more.
  • Gilles
    Absolutely right Jesse, more people need to hear it ...And of coarse act on it...
  • Ben Brown
    It sucks to know we'll never live long enough to understand the vastness of Karate and all that it offers. Thank you Jessie for reminding us that what we do, practice, study , train, breathe, eat , sleep, crap,is an art! And as long as the mind is open and receptive to new ideas there is no end! So enjoy the journey! Peace out ! Ben
  • Alan Bartell
    Always remember, if someone offers you knowledge, accept it!
  • Gaza
    Wow, just learned something...Note to self...keep learning:)Great post!
  • Chris
    Something like this has very much been on my mind lately, I saw pictures of a recent Shotokan karate tournament and was not sure what I was seeing. Nothing really looked like martial arts, probably not the fairest thing to say I guess but I am not talking about junior ranks but Dan belts. I compared the tournament photos to that of ones of Masahiko Tanaka from the JKA and you see what he was doing and it looks like martial arts. Lately there seems to be the artistry missing from many of the people I train with or see training. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying "Oh my karate is best karate, I am true karateka!" I know there is always room for improving it, for working at it, but a lot of people look bored while training or seem to put in a bare minimum of effort while trying either a technique done 1000 times or something new. I don't know, maybe it is just me, feel like taking a break from karate these days... Oh if you are interested this is the picture of Tanaka-san
    • Tomas
      Chris, don't take a break but do it differently. Get a new perspective and talk to new people. Remember that in Karate you are only competing against yourself, so it doesn't make sense to let others drag you down. Maybe they are bored and doing a minimum effort but that doesn't need to include you.
    • Alex
      I agree with what Tomas said. Also remember though, that it's incredibly hard to gauge other people's intentions and mindset. What standard do you use to determine "the bare minimum effort" of others? I always try to do my best and dojo-mates have been kind enough to say it looks good when they think it looks good, but then I look over at the younger karateka and they look blazing! Then I wonder why I'm doing this for a split-second and remember that "hey, I'm better than I used to be." And let's not forget the mental training that is involved in physical training. We are all at different points along our interest in Karate both physically and mentally. Not to mention, we don't know what all of our dojo mates go through outside of the dojo. Somedays, getting your behind to the dojo is the highest form of training in and of itself. Also, I can't tell you the number of times I've learned that the humble, do it slow and with thought dojomate is a doctor in real life, or owns their own business. That takes up a lot of time and energy off the mat (which affects the speed of learning on the mat). And I say real life because Karate is only a part of the "grand equation". How big a part is up to each practitioner, but whoever steps onto the mat has a right to be there. Stay focused on your own journey, and you know what? The people that share your drive and passion will eventually show up.
  • i want say for my heart thank you becouse you are give me power to diffence my self and make me no give up so i beginner in this so if any body teach me i ready now your friend ahmed and oos
  • Yes!! :) That is AWESOME Jesse-san!! Art, the expression of the inner creativity!
  • Arjun
    Very well said Jesse. Thanks
  • Leif Björn
    Well Said Jesse !
  • Osk
  • Jeff
    What a statement! That just made my day, well said Jesse-san!
  • Charles James
    Nicely written Jesse Sensei, really well spoken.
  • Joaquín
    Hello, I usually enjoy reading your karate articles, and they always result very interesting to me, and set new points of view for me about the topics you develop. But now i'll take the audacity to desagree with you. I mean, I agree with you in everything what you just said, but not with the title you gave it. I think that the concept of "art" cannot be that lightly treated. You cannot say that the art of karate is just a matter of learning process. You cannot reduce any kind of art to a mere learning process. I think you should have titled this article with a header like "Learning at karate", "The humility of learning", etc., wich would have been more accurate. But never with such a grandiloquent name like "The art of karate". I think that the art of karate lies in some deeper things than just learning. It lies in a deeper searching. When we say "art", we should talk about the metaphors of kata, the aesthetic of moves, the persistence on introspective searching, the pursuit of an own style, and many more things that I'm sure you could explain better than me. Even so, I've liked what you said in the video. Greetings! I'm Argentinian, please excuse my English if I'm speaking wrong
  • Ryan
    What a great video! Really shows the true meaning and importance of Uke
  • Eddie
    That is so true, hence why I come to your page and many like it often. For the ART to live and expand, we must learn that which we thought we knew but did not.
  • Excellent, my friend. To have this vision is so important and it's something by which I live my life each day as both a martial artist and a person. Thanks!
  • Loriane
    Karate really is an art. Just like it says in the dojo kun ''All our lives, through the discipline of karate, we will seek to fulfill the true meaning of the Kyokushin Way'' It's a lifetime learning process. For me, that way is a humble, respectful and peaceful self. I guess we can say Karate becomes a part of who you are. You don't practice Karate, you discover it.
  • Thanks to you my friend, I have learned some skill the videos you sent me. Could you help me with more beginner lessons.

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