The word karate is a combination of two Japanese characters. Kara, meaning empty, and te, meaning hand. Karate can be practiced as an art (budō), self defence, or as a combat sport.

Karate practice is divided into three elements:
Kihon: This is the beginning, or roots, of your karate-do. Punching, striking, kicking, and blocking are the building blocks of karate, and must be practiced regularly to create a strong foundation for Shotokan karate.​ Kata: These are the “forms” or “patterns” practiced in karate. Kata are the formal exercises of karate which simulate defence against multiple imaginary opponents.​ Kumite: Kumite is the sparring portion of karate practice. Students train with a partner, and strive to develop strong, committed attacks and powerful defences