Are there limitations to karate or any martial system? The simple answer is yes ... and no. In the "no" department the system of karate has no limitations and yet it does. What is that limitation you say? Well, it is not the system itself but rather the proponent who practices that system. This is why one system as compared to another system is neither the best or the worst. It is a system and all systems serve a purpose - that is a good thing.
Limitations exist, nature dictates those limitations. A boulder sitting in a desert does not move, it can not and that is a limitation. Does that matter to the boulder, no; why does it not matter to the boulder, because the boulder does what it was meant to do and finds no need to extend beyond that particular function.
Let us take another view. The upper arm has a bone. That bone has limitations. What those limitations are depend on a variety of factors. Simplistically let us say that this bone in perfect health and condition could, for the sake of discussion so use your imagination, be taken outside the arm and placed, on one end, on a solid stationary unmovable surface. The arm bone stands perfectly perpendicular to the ground or surface.
The limitations of this particular bone depends on bone density and the direction and amount of the force applied. Looking at the snapshot below if the weight is applied to the top of the bone with the direction of force going as shown in "A" the bone will hold a great deal. When the weight applied reaches a certain level then the bone structure will weaken and finally at a point collapse. This weight+force+direction application will be the limitations of that particular bone.
Is that the immutable fact of the bone's limitations? Yes and no. Yes all things remaining the same it is the absolute limit the bone can endure. No, for if you change the rules then the limitations can be exceeded, exploited and extended beyond its absolute limitations.
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Add cartilage, other bones, tendons, muscles and the mind to apply appropriate principles of body mechanics and the bone assumes a greater degree of ability thus extending beyond its limitations creating new limits the bone can endure. What was a limitation is now not a limitation adding in other factors that extend limitations. Is that the limit of the bone now?
Yes and no. Notice a trend going on here. Karate's only limitations are those imposed by the mind of the practitioner. Some will say, "Physics says there are limitations for everything." Once you reach the limitations governing by the rules of physics that is it, no more. Ok, you can limit yourself if you wish by that thought. I can say otherwise.
Once it was believed that the fastest anything could go was the speed of light. That was the limits of speed. There is no way anything can travel faster than the speed of light, no way, no how, never and not ever. Once upon a time man had limitations, he could not fly. By the extensions we developed man can now fly. Once upon a time man could not venture out beyond the limits of the Earth's atmosphere .... need I continue.
Moral of this lesson is that there are limitations and the only limit to those are the ones you impose on yourself for your mind can expand, extend and just plain break the rules that dictate limitations - even physics is not immutable now.