What Is The Best Body Type For Karate?

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Karate is a powerful art form, but it’s often better suited to certain body types to be most effective.

Typically, the best body type for Karate is a mesomorph. Being a mesomorph is an advantage to a Karate martial artist because it’ll give you enough balance of speed, power, and cardio. 

Body types for Karate

Different body types have their pros and cons in various aspects of Karate. Let’s look into each.


A fighter with an Ectomorph body type

An ectomorph body can be described as thin body composition. In addition, ectomorphs are usually tall, have narrow shoulders, and have low body fat and muscle percentage.

An ectomorph body will let you have better cardio and speed for Karate. It will also allow you to slip kicks and punches more easily. The downside is that you might get easily overpowered by a chunkier fighter.


A fighter with a Mesomorph body type

A mesomorph body type is the sweet spot of body composition. This type has broader shoulders and more muscle percentage than the Ectomorph. Mesomorphs usually have an average fat percentage.

Having a Mesomorph body in Karate will give you enough gas tank, power, and speed. 


A fighter with an Endomorph body type

The Endomorph body type has a wider overall body shape. This body type has more body fat than usual. Most endomorphs are shorter in height compared to other body types.

An endomorph body comes with a lot of power and strength. But you’ll often be forced to sacrifice cardio and speed. 

Combination type

Three fighters with different combined body types

Having a combination body type means you have more than one body type genetically in you.

For example, if you have a mesomorph upper body while at the same time having ectomorph arms.

A combination body type might give you advantages and disadvantages in sports, including Karate. 

A muscly upper body (mesomorph) and thicker hips (endomorph) can allow you to generate more power for your shots because you can produce more torque.

Some disadvantage of having an endomorph mix is your speed might be compromised, which you don’t want in Karate.

Conor McGregor is an excellent example of an athlete with a combination body type. He has a mesomorph body but has long arms that fall under ectomorph. This gives him a significant reach advantage during his fights.

McGregor is also famous for his Karate stance inside the octagon. His body type helped him land quick Karate-like punches and kicks.

Body types of professional Karate fighters

Pro Karate fighters need to be of the right body type to compete at the highest level possible. 

Stephen Thompson

Stephen Wonderboy Thompson posing with fans
Cpl. Devin Nichols, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson is a UFC Welterweight with a firm Karate background. 

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He has a mesomorph body when fighting inside the octagon. The Mesomorph body type is the best for MMA; it also allows him to use different Karate kicks while

Because of his mesomorph body, he has the cardio that makes him launch a high volume of kicks and punches with enough power. Being a mesomorph also gives his strikes speed to land where it supposes to be. 

During the clinching game, Thompson uses his long muscly arms to try and execute Karate throws. 

Thompson achieved some notable wins over Robert Whittaker, Johnny Hendricks, and Rory MacDonald with his Karate style and mesomorph body type.

Lyoto Machida 

Lyoto Machida
Marcos Joel Reis, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lyoto Machida is a Karate black belt and a former UFC Light Heavyweight fighter. 

Because he’s an MMA fighter, he has a mesomorph body type. This helps him acquire speed, power, and cardio despite fighting as a Light Heavyweight.

Lyoto’s striking is purely inspired by his Karate background. His mesomorph body further amplifies his fast-paced, snappy Karate moves, making him more dangerous inside the cage.

With the speed advantage, Lyoto capitalized on Karate kicks to his advantage. 

One of his most notable knockout wins was when he fought Randy Couture. Lyoto knocked Couture out with a front kick that seemed to be invisible in Randy’s eyes. 

The mesomorph body type helped Lyoto to be an iconic MMA fighter. This body type also allowed him to use Karate throws inside the octagon with his strong muscly physique. 

Ryo Kiyuna

Ryo Kiyuna was a Karate gold medalist in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. 

He has a mesomorph body type. This body type helped him become a four-time World Karate Championships gold medalist. 

To top all that, Ryo is also a five-time gold medalist in the Asian Karate Championships.

Unlike other high-level Karate specialists, Ryo chose to stay in the traditional field of Karate. Ryo specializes in Kata, which is a demonstration of finesse Karate moves.

Being a mesomorph helped him to perform countless maneuvers with style and proper execution. 

If Ryo becomes a pro fighter, there’s no doubt he would succeed because of his body type, considering his skill and experience in Karate. 

He could also join newer organizations like Karate Combat. The two most prominent MMA organizations, UFC and One Championship, are also viable path choices.

Rafael Aghayev

Rafael Aghayev is believed to be the current number one Karate fighter in the world

Aghayev has a mesomorph body type. It helped him to be a nine-time European Karate champion. Today, he fights in Karate Combat.

Aghayev had great success in his professional Karate fighting career. Being a mesomorph helped him have that speed and power combo any fighter wants. 

He takes advantage of his speed by throwing a lot of feints; one slight flinch from his opponent is all it takes for him to launch forward for a knockout. 

Karate Combat allows Karate throws. Being a mesomorph allows Aghayev to have another advantage with this. He can easily slip his not-so-thick body composition to his opponent and set up a vicious throw.

Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor
Andrius Petrucenia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

‘The Notorious Conor McGregor is a UFC fighter who used a Karate stance a lot during his prime. Conor has a combination body type: a mesomorph body and an ectomorph set of arms.

Having long arms gives him a significant reach advantage. This reach advantage is matched with power, speed, and precision thanks to his mesomorph upper body physique. 

This excellent body combination of Conor helped him gain success inside the octagon. Conor is the first UFC fighter to simultaneously hold two belts from different weight classes.

Conor also holds the record for the fastest K.O finish during a title unification fight. He achieved this with his bouncy Karate stance and a slick left hand against Jose Aldo.

Chuck Liddell

Chuck Liddell
Bad intentionz, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell is a UFC Light Heavyweight Hall of Famer. Liddell has a Black belt in Koei-Kan Karate. Moreover, Chuck fought with an endomorph body type which is expected in heavyweight classes. 

Chuck has undeniable power with each of his shots with a bigger body physique. He is known to launch countless barrage of punches during one exchange; Chuck’s gas tank is compromised because of his heavy body.

Being an endomorph lessened Chuck’s strike speed, which is normal considering his weight class. When he lands, someone will definitely fall asleep.

What body type is good for Karate?

Mesomorph is a good body type for Karate. It lets you simultaneously have enough cardio, speed, power, and strike accuracy. Flexibility is also not a problem because your muscle and fat percentage are just right to move around.

In Karate, you will need all these advantages to win a tournament. Belt promotion is not far off easily if you have these traits. 

Maintaining a mesomorph body is not a problem with the right diet, regular training, and dedication to your goal.

Final thoughts

Mesomorph is a good body type for Karate. This will allow you to have great versatility as an athlete. Being a mesomorph will let you have speed, power, and cardio, all at once. 

Not being a mesomorph doesn’t mean you can’t train in Karate. Karate welcomes everyone; it doesn’t matter what body type, age, or gender you are, you’ll be able to develop the necessary skills with the right dedication.

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