Karate-do as a martial art, originated in Okinawa, the Master Gichin Funakoshi later transformed and modified it into a ‘way of life’.
Prior to these modifications, this form of martial art was just some techniques that allowed self-defense without any weapons except hands and feet. This development was Okinawan although there was some Chinese influence, and also some Japanese. Master Funakoshi, was inspired to modify Karate using traditional martial arts from the Japanese main islands, such as a mixture of kyudo, Judo, Kendo for instance, this could have been called Karate-jutsu, a type of fighting art, that emphasized the philosophical aspects of the art.
The student learned that Karate-do (the do means the way or road) was not only a fight art but also a way of life. Gichin Funakoshi, combined two techniques, Karate and Traditional budo (which means martial way), by inserting the basic essence of budo into the heart of the Karate.
The word Karate is actually two characters, the first part is kara, which means empty, and the te means hand, the definition of the first part is the most straight forward, thus through the practice of karate, the student learned self defense where no weapons were needed, except for the hands, the feet and other parts of the body. The second part, to quote the words of the master Funakoshi:
"Just as it is the clear mirror that reflects without distortion, or the quiet valley that echoes a sound, so must one who would study Karate-do purge himself of selfish and evil thoughts, for only with a clear mind and conscience can he [she] understand that which he [she] receives. This is another meaning of the element kara in Karate-do."
The Master also ascribed another meaning and that is to always strive to be outwardly gentle and inwardly humble, to thus the meaning to be internally empty of egoism and to always act in a gentle manner and do so moderately. And lastly he talked about the universal elements, which are emptiness (kara, ku),
"…and, thus, emptiness is a form of itself. The kara of Karate-do has this meaning."
From what has been said above, it is quite clear that karate Budi and Karate-do are indeed much, very much more than just mere self-defense techniques, if you con