The table contains a comparison of karate styles. Some of the distinguishing features are listed, such as lineage, general form of stances, and number of kata.
The four earliest karate styles developed in Japan are Shorin-ryu, Wado-ryu, Shito-ryu, and Goju-ryu.1 The first three styles find their origins in the Shuri region of Okinawa whilst Goju-ryu finds its origins in the Naha province.
Shuri karate is rather different from Naha karate, drawing on different predecessor influences. Shito-ryu can be regarded as a blend of Shuri and Naha traditions as its kata incorporate both Shuri and Naha kata.2
When it comes to individual styles, Shotokan involves long, deep stances and powerful techniques. Shito-ryu, on the other hand, uses more upright stances and stresses speed rather than power in its techniques. Wado-ryu too employs shorter, more natural stances and the style is characterised by the emphasis on body shifting to avoid attacks. Kyokushin, a hard style, involves breaking and full contact, knockdown sparring as part of its training.3 Goju-ryu places emphasis on Sanchin kata and its rooted Sanchin stance, and it features grappling and close-range techniques.4