The Basics of karate started about about 500 years ef. kr. where Bodhi-Dharma (one budistisk monk) went from India to China to spread Zen Buddhism. He ended up in Honan province, where Shorin-ji (Shaolin) -klosteret located.
Bodhi-Dharma wanted to teach the monks in the monastery, but they were in such bad physical shape that Bodhi-Dharma had to get them in good shape, so that they could learn about Zen.
The 18 exercises
Bodhi-Dharma compound 18 exercises (I-chin-ching), which reinforced the monks' physical and mental condition.
The 18 exercises also made possible for the monks to defend themselves against often exhausted attacks by robbers.
The 18 exercises were popular among the monks and was later to 170 exercises that formed the basis of Chinese Kempo. The exercises were made by monks studied various animals and used their defense and angrebsbevægleser.
Shuri-te and Naha-te
The movements from the many animal was later (13th century) are grouped into 5 groups. Then develop dated it to many different styles in China. From China widespread kampsystermerne to Korea, Okinawa and Japan.
In the 1400s, were issued weapons ban on Okinawa, which put much time into it to defend itself with hands and feet. This development mixed with Chinese Kempo resulted in Okinawa-te, who are developing our on to different combat systems, for example. Shuri-te and Naha-te.
Source: Graduation Requirements for Okinawan Shuri-ryu Karate, written by Chief Instructor Vitus bilking