Karate a game of Japanese origin takes place between tow competitors. They lock in an of unarmed combat in which the hands and feet are used as weapons. Men, women and children throughout the world practice karate either for competition or for self-defense. The aim of the game is to repel the opponent's attack and then subdue him/her through return attack.

Many people believe that the game originated from the Indian system of hand-to-hand fight and a Buddhist monk introduced it in China. It is supposed that the game's name came from some Chinese word, which assumed the form karate in the Japanese language. In 1609, a law was enacted in Japan to the effect, 'leave arms, learn karate'. Later, the game spread throughout the world.

In the game, if a karate player falls on the ground in a disadvantageous position, he should aim at hitting the assailant's abdomen with his feet by twisting his body. Players use hands, legs, head, fingers, palms etc like weapons. But at the same time, it is mandatory for all who learn and practise karate to take the oath that they will not use this art to take revenge or with a motive to cause injury. They pledge to use it just for self-defense or for saving lives of helpless people.

Today karate is an international game. In a competition, a karate player does not strike his opponent very hard. In a 'perfect' or 'killing' blow a competitor just touches the opponent's body in a particular move and thus scores a full point. The competitor who first scores three points is the winner of a round.

Karate began spreading in Bangladesh after its independence. The Bangladesh Judo and Karate Federation (BKF) were founded in 1972. Karate entered Bangladesh primarily through foreigners. In the beginning, a number of karate players learnt martial art in Burma (Myanmar) and after returning home, some of them opened training centres in chittagong, cox's bazar and chittagong hill tracts. In 1982, Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) sent a karate player named Nonka to work with BKF for development of karate in Bangladesh. Japan's Mitsuito Yoshido was a coach of BKF in 1994.

Karate tournaments held in Bangladesh include the National Youth Championship, National Karate Championship, Children's and Teens' National Championship, and Karate Federation Cup Championship. There are 29 registered clubs in Bangladesh for improvement of karate and for training. These clubs participate in the Federation Cup Championship. Different autonomous corporations, the districts and the services teams take part in the national karate championship. Major local clubs and institutions that offer training on karate are the Mohammedan Sporting Club, Centre for Training in Strategy, Young Dragon Martial Arts, Shaolin Temple School, and Titas Karate Club.

Karate was first included in the SAAF Games in 1999. That year 8 karate players of Bangladesh took part in the games and won 2 silver and 5 bronze medals. Bangladesh took part in the World Cup Karate Championship held in Munich, Germany, during 15-25 October 2000. Bangladesh won 4 gold, one silver and two bronze medals in the 11th South Asian Tournament in 2010. [Gofran Faroqi]