Hear me out on this. We had a discussion the other day in class that brought up an interesting point about what makes a martial art. Historically a martial art is a system of fighting designed to be used on a battlefield. An excellent example being Aikido as it is the open hand variation of Japanese sword work. Karate on the other hand was originally designed as civilian defense against trained soldiers. Based on this definition, Karate is not martial art.
So what is then? These are just initial thoughts, I haven't thought critically on this as much as I'd like to, but I'm curious to see what others have to say. My current thought is that Karate is simply a "Counter Martial Art", drawing from the aforementioned background. But an instructor of mine like to think of Karate as a "Combative System", which seems to separate much of the inward reflection that comes with immersion training in "true" martial arts, when compared to inwards arts such as Aikido.
So what do you guys think? Has the definition of martial arts changed to a degree by which it can now include Karate? Has karate changed to adapt qualities of a "true" martial art?