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16 Disadvantages, Drawbacks, and Risks of Doing Karate

Karate is an art respected in both the martial art and fitness worlds, but is it also an art that poses a risk or set of drawbacks to those who practice it? It certainly does, in my opinion. In my years involved in the martial art, I have noticed a range of disadvantages that Karate practitioners face, and today I would like to share those with you. 

When practicing Karate on a serious level, there are a few things that you need to be aware of. Below are 16 possible drawbacks to practicing the art. 

These are 16 disadvantages, drawbacks, and risks of Karate:

1. It can be expensive, especially if you compete.

Practicing Karate might seem like a great idea until you realize how much each of the classes costs. Of course, you will need to practice in a class several times a week, which can become quite expensive. Classes’ prices depend on the school and in the area but average around $100 to $150 per week. On top of the classes, the karategi, which is worn for every class and competition, also costs. Competitions cost around $30 and up for entrants. If you are looking for a “cheap” hobby or sport, Karate might not be the best option.

2. Practitioners can get seriously injured.

When practicing Karate, especially in your early years, there is the risk of getting seriously hurt. One wrong kick, strike, or fall can end up in broken limbs, bruises, bashes, cuts, and more. If you don’t want to get hurt, be sure to be cautious when practicing Karate. 

3. Karate is hard on the body and mind.

Karate is an exhausting art. It drains and tires out the body completely while also pays special attention to giving the mind a workout too. Karate is an art for people who are thinking and mentally alert. When practicing the art regularly, you can expect to be both mentally and physically exhausted. 

4. There is no “off-season”, which means Karate can be time-demanding.

Unlike other sports such as lacrosse, football, or soccer, Karate is not a seasonal sport. Classes and tournaments continue all year round, and students are consistently training and improving. 

5. Karate can be used for violent behavior.

While Karate students are taught to only use their skills in a fair fight and in a responsible manner, there are sometimes students who forego this advice and use their skills to be violent or hurt other people. 

6. Situational awareness teaching in Karate is fairly limited.

According to, the definition of “situational awareness” is as follows: 

“Situation awareness is the perception of environmental elements with respect to time and/or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time, or some other variable, such as a predetermined event”.

Unfortunately, Karate doesn’t teach very in-depth situational awareness skills. That is because Karate classes focus on teaching students to carry out a particular move and then follow it through with another, when the opponent presents a predetermined move. For beginner students, it doesn’t take too much into account unexpected situations, changes in the environment, or varied perceptions.

7. Karate can lead to you missing out on other opportunities. 

When a person dedicates themselves to learning and practicing Karate, they do just that: dedicate. Karate is an art that can be quite time-consuming and demanding of one’s time and thoughts that it becomes difficult to become involved in much else. In fact, in certain cases, you can expect to be so thoroughly absorbed in the art that there’s little time to even notice opportunities coming along. 

8. Karate training can lead to children getting a false sense of security.

When kids learn Karate, they can become overly confident in their physical strength and fighting skills. This could lead to children getting themselves into potentially dangerous confrontational situations or making poor decisions based on their abilities. 

9. Not all Karate schools offer the best training.

Unfortunately, not all Karate instructors are made equal. If you work with the wrong instructor, you could get the incorrect idea of what Karate is really like, and that could put you off the art for life. 

10. The belt colors don’t really indicate skill level.

Most people think that a black belt in Karate is a sign of expert skills. A black belt will determine how much time and effort a person has put in but doesn’t indicate their skill level. A black belt is essentially an intermediate rank. 

Karate uses a system of ranking called the Kyu-Dan system. Kyu-Dan refers to belts below the black belt (these are the other colored belts acquired along the way). After the colored belts come to the Dan ranks, which starts with the black belt. In Karate, there are between 6 and 8 Kyu ranks and then 10 Dan ranks. This essentially means that the black belt is the midway rank in Karate.

11. Karate can affect your social life/skills.

Something that you might notice in advanced Karate classes is that the students are fairly serious about the martial art. This is because Karate demands a considerable amount of their time that they don’t get to socialize and spend time doing the things that other people do. Your social skills may suffer (or your kid’s social skills) when practicing Karate. 

12. Many hours of practice can lead to disheartenment. 

Something that is often seen in kids Karate classes is kids that get tired and frustrated with their progress and, of course, the process. With so many hours of practice and an aching body that is perpetually healing, it can be difficult not to feel disheartened. 

13. Dedication to Karate can start to dictate your lifestyle.

When you practice Karate seriously and attend regular tournaments and competitions, you will need to live a lifestyle that is conducive to high-energy, physically demanding workouts. This means that you will eat a diet that supports your physical needs, drink a certain amount of water, get enough sleep, and focus on your fitness. All of this will be starkly different from the average person. 

14. Karate includes some poor balance fundamentals.

Some of the moves in Karate can be aptly described as “grandiose”. While the moves and strikes are powerful, they are often fancier than required and won’t prove particularly useful in the real world.

15. Karate, when incorrectly managed, can turn some kids into bullies.

If you are thinking about getting your kids involved in Karate, you might need to consider how much time you need to put into managing their practicing. When kids are taught a violent fighting style, it could spark a predisposition for bullying. It’s important that you put some time and effort into supervising your child’s training and development. 

16. There aren’t decent Karate schools in all areas. 

Unfortunately, Karate schools don’t abound in all areas. There might be several in your area, but are they all decent training schools? It is a good idea to look up the qualifications of the instructors that you will work with and also find out a bit more about the background of the school. 

All things considered

If you are interested in getting involved in learning and practicing Karate, or if you would like to get your child/ren involved in Karate, it is best to do so with all the facts in mind. Karate can be a great confidence builder, it can prepare you for protecting yourself, and it can whip you into shape, but it can also present you with a few disadvantages. 

Think about the abovementioned disadvantages of Karate and consider the art with an open mind before signing up.