Karate – A Fascinating World of Styles and Techniques

Considering karate for your first martial art … or next martial art?

Is there a dojo that offers karate in Ann Arbor that teaches a style you might like?

A great way to get started is to learn about the different styles of karate!

The Four Main Styles of Karate

It’s generally accepted that the four main styles of karate are Goju-ryu (“ryu” means “style”), Shotokan, Wado-ryu and Shito-ryu. There are also many less prominent styles, including Chito-ryu, Isshin-ryu, Kyokushin, Shorin-ryu and Uechi-Ryu. The core of all the styles is the same – strong stances, punches, blocks and kick – but it’s the details that give them each their unique flavor.

For example, Goju-ryu is known for its pairing of hard and soft elements, its short, grounded stances, and for its highly developed breathing methods. Shotokan is known for its long stances and explosive stepping in kumite. Wado-ryu is a bit more esoteric than the other styles and feature a vast number of soft, evasion movements. Shito-ryu combines elements of Goju and Shorin styles and has more kata than most other forms of karate.

How Do You Choose Which Karate Style is Best for You?

The first step in any decision about martial arts is knowing what you want to get out of it. If you’re looking for a lifetime fitness regimen, a dojo that emphasizes tradition, health, and safety is probably your best choice. If you’re looking for a place that will train you to fight as quickly as possible, then look for a dojo that emphasizes sparring and participating in tournaments.

Another simple key, often overlooked, is to make sure you are moved by what you see. If one style of karate leaves you cold but another style gives you goosebumps, it’s pretty clear which one you should pursue! It’s not that one is inherently better than another but having passion for the martial art you practice makes the motivation part a lot easier.

We Teach Goju-Ryu Karate in Ann Arbor at JMAC

At the Japanese Martial Arts Center, we teach Goju-Ryu Karate. Goju means “hard-soft.” It refers to the two sides of the art – some moves are designed to make the body rigid to resist impact and get rooted to the floor. Other moves are light, fast and flowing. It’s a great combination to prepare you for self-defense, to improve your health, and to create drama in your performance of the kata.

Our Goju-ryu comes from Nobetsu Tadanori-Sensei, Kancho of the Nisseikan in Saitama, north of Tokyo. Nobetsu-Sensei has thousands of students throughout the greater Tokyo area and internationally. He and some of his top students have come to Ann Arbor to teach karate to JMAC students, and we take groups of advanced students to train with him in Saitama.

The Best First Step is to Watch a Class

It’s almost impossible to get the feel of a karate style by reading about it. The best way to know is see it, then try it. Here’s what you do:

  • Check the JMAC karate schedule.

  • Let us know you want to come watch.

  • Watch.

  • Arrange your two free intro lessons.

  • After the intro lessons, sign up for a two-month trial membership.

  • At the end of two months, you’ll know whether karate at JMAC is your cup of tea.

  • If it is, become an associate member, train as often as you can, and change your life!


Call or eMail JMAC to Start Your Karate Journey Today!

Call JMAC at (734) 720-0330 or Contact Us today! We’ll let you know the best times to come watch. Once you’ve seen a JMAC karate class, we can arrange your two free karate intro classes. We promise you … no hard sell. The only regret most of our students have is that they didn’t start a lot sooner!