DLTK's Crafts for Kids
Thanks to Sean for providing this summary!
Karate-do translated means way of empty hand. It's origin is traced to the 6th century A.D., when a monk, Bodhidharma, traveled overland from India to China, across the Himalayan Mountains. After settling in Hunan Province, China, he established a monastery and began teaching Zen Buddhism. He developed a series of fighting techniques in which the monks trained to become both physically and mentally stronger. Soon, they were formidable warriors.
Over a period of many years, the monks became scattered throughout China. Where they settled, they brought with them this knowledge, and began teaching others. As merchant trade developed between China and the Ryukyu Islands, of which Okinawa is the largest, those fighting techniques were transmitted from the Chinese to the Okinawans. The Okinawans merged their new found knowledge with the already existing combative techniques indigenous to Okinawa, known as Te.
These skills remained in Okinawa, passed on generation after generation. In 1922, Karate reached Japan. This introduction was through the Okinawan Master Gichin Funakoshi. Karate flourished in Japan, and from there began to spread throughout the world.