Karate is one of a number of martial arts including kung fu, jiu jitsu, tae kwon do and savate. Karate originated in Japan and has been used for self-defense for thousands of years. If you want to learn how to do karate the best way is to get hands-on practice in a karate school or dojo.
Find a reputable school with a instructor and sign up for classes. You will learn the basics in the beginning: how to stretch the hamstring and groin muscles, and which stances to use.
The instructor will then start showing you some basic kata. These kata are a series of striking, punching, blocking and kicking movements that teaches the student basic motions as well as proper balancing. Kata is taught gradually and it will become more difficult as you advance. These exercises also help the beginner learn fluidity of motion.
Eventually, you will start learning some of the karate kicks, punches, strikes and blocks. Some of these movements are used in the kata, but most of them you will learn and practice at the dojo and at home. The more flexible you become, the higher you will be able to kick. Some common kicks include the front and side kicks. There are also variations to these kicks including the skip side or flying side kick. Roundhouse kicks are also popular. Strikes include punches, knife-hand and ridge-hand strikes.
After you learn some basic karate kicks and strikes, you will start learning how to do combinations of these kicks and punches. For example, a front, side and back kick combination in succession can force an opponent back ten or more feet. They will either have to block and counter attack or evade you onslaught all together. You will learn defensive tactics as well.
Combinations will help you with your ultimate challenge, which is getting in the ring and sparring. Most karate dojos do not use rings per se. They have the students gather around and form a large circle or rectangle, and then the two combatants face off and start sparring. Sparring is the ultimate test of your karate skills. To be successful at sparring you will need to master the basic kicks and punches, as well as various combinations. Constant practice will make the various movements more natural for you.
Learning to do karate well takes a lot of practice. Karate is also good exercise for controlling your weight and adding endurance.