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Traditional Karate, as the original Karate , evolved from Japan as a martial art . Technically speaking, Traditional karate is based on the technical concept of the "finishing blow." The finishing blow is defined as a technique sufficient to destroy an attacking opponent.

In concert with other related techniques, the finishing blow technique brings the total body power focused for concussion on the target area.

In traditional Karate competition everything is based upon the art of self defense. For instance, only the finishing blow technique is recognized for point scoring. Furthermore, in accordance with the principle that a finishing blow offers no second chance, Traditional Karate competitions are single point matches. Therefore, careless actions and sloppy techniques are minimized because of the critical single point basis of each match.

As a defense art, the size of the opponent is not relevant. Self defense principles demand preparation for defense against any opponent regardless of size, moreover, in many instances, the opponent may be larger.

As a competitive art, Traditional Karate uses competition as a means to further training and to enhance the total human development by improving emotional stability, mental discipline and proper etiquette. Taken together these goals form the underpinnings of the Traditional Karate competition rules.

Other new karates had their developmental origins in the Traditional Karate from Japan. New karates derived their techniques and orientations from the punching and kicking basis of traditional karate. While appearing to be similar, new karates made some crucial modifications. Perhaps the most critical was the change in emphasis and philosophy from a self defense martial art to a point game that used punching and kicking. For example, it is generally known that new Karates incorporated kicking and punching in the broadest and most general sense. The points awarded in the competitions were based on the quickest and closest hands and feet to the target. In such a situation the "finishing blow" was not a requirement. As a result the application of impact force through total body action was not necessary. Moreover, a priority was placed on economy of body action. In this most important regard, the Traditional Karate body dynamics were completely opposite from of new Karate.

Because new Karates had no requirement of a finishing blow their competition rules were based instead on multiple point systems. In the case of the new Karate organizations there exists either three full point or six half point systems to choose from.

Traditional karate is based on the art of self defense, because opponent size is irrelevant there is no multiple weight category. On the other hand new Karates base their outlook on the concept of a game and not on the martial arts. One new Karate has seven individual weight categories.