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Karate Documentaries

11 Must-Watch Karate Documentaries

In this article, you will find a selected list of 11 Karate Documentaries, covering the history and the different styles of Karate (Shotokan, Okinawa, Kyokushin, Shito Ryu)

Karate Documentaries: Introduction

You will find a lot of amazing karate documentaries out there. However, there isn’t even a single list on the World Wide Web with the best karate documentary! That’s why we have decided to collect the best list of documentaries for you to watch. 

If you’re ready to find out more about them, then let’s get started! 

1. Karate Documentary - The origins of Karate

For the very first time in history, the Okinawan Karate and Kobudo Grand Masters met and made a documentary about the history and origin of Karate in Okinawa. 

2. Karate Documentary - The Soul of Karate

The Soul of Karate presents the essence of traditional karate training performed in the rugged South African way. This documentary offers a philosophical statement and intriguing story and has some of the most thrilling footage available. 

It is filmed in the late 1970s, where it follows five karatekas from various backgrounds on their journey from white belt to black belt. How amazing is that? Please keep in mind that this documentary presents the real fighting spirit of Karate-Do. 

3. History of Kyokushin Karate - Art of One Dojo

Meanwhile, the Kyokushin karate documentary is a three-episode tribute that is dedicated to the art of Kyokushin Karate by Art of One Dojo.

The first episode explores the background and training of Mas Oyama and how he created the art of Kyokushin. The second episode explores the dojo etiquette, curriculum and ranking system of Kyokushin.

The last episode is about the different organizations, offshoot styles and the impact the art has had.

4. Mas Oyama - Kyokushin Karate Documentary

This is another Kyokushin karate documentary. This documentary features some of the best fighters in the history of Kyokushinlike Shokei Matsui, Kenji Midori and Kenji Yamaki.

It was the first time the early training scenes of Mas Oyama, Oyama Karate secrets and Kyokushin mysteries were uncovered. 

5. Tee The True Spirit of Okinawan Karate - Okinawan Karate Documentary

Tee, The True Spirit of Okinawan Karate, is what the original form of karate was once called in its birthplace.

This documentary follows two people, an Italian and an Englishman, about their experiences and how they struggled so much with themselves over one summer. In short, this film features the attractiveness of Okinawan karate (tee) to Westerners. 

6. Okinawan Karate Documentary - NHK World Japan

Together with karate, there are many different “ways of the warrior” that Japan exported to the world, including venerable disciplines such as kendo, aikido and judo.

What all these forms of martial arts have in common is an emphasis on spiritual development. A person not only learns how to fight, but they also become a better person. 

7. Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate - Kenyu Chinen

Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate is a documentary series that talks about the fantastic martial arts teachers who are living in Okinawa. In case you didn’t know yet, Okinawa is the birthplace of karate. 

One of the best things about this karate docu-series is that it grew out of the Karate Masters Portrait Project that started in 2012. The portrait project enabled people awesome access to the teacher, but only a few got to hear their stories.

This karate documentary is an excellent way for others to share that amazing and one-of-a-kind knowledge along with the international karate community. It’s free to watch on YouTube. 

8.National Geographic Gojuryu Karate Documentary

This is the documentary that is thought to be the art that Goju-Ryu is based on. It also involves a few discussions of Ryu Ryu Ko, Kanryo Higaonna and Goju-Ryu. 

9. History of Shotokan Karate - Art of One Dojo

More and more people are wondering what makes Shotokan the most definitive style of Karate in the entire world. This Shotokan karate documentary explores the origins of Shotokan and how Gichin Funakoshi made art that became one of the most crucial Karate styles in the entire history. 

10. Shito Ryu Karate Documentary

This karate documentary was considered the ultimate reference to Hayashi Ha Karate that was performed by the Founder of the style and produced to the highest standard. The documentary features the kata and its different applications. 

11. The Way of the Warrior: Karate, The Way of the Empty Hand - BBC Karate Documentary

Lastly, this karate documentary is an eight-part BBC documentary series about Asian martial arts in 1983. It includes other martial arts forms from all around the globe, including samurai, karate, kung fu, kalaripayit, escrima, aikido kendo, and Shorinji Kempo. 

Karate Documentaries: Conclusions

If you like Japanese martial arts, check out also our list of documentaries about judo and aikido.

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Picture credits: @Thao Le Hoang on Unsplash

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