Karate was developed on the island Okinawa when the Okinawan art Ti was combined with Kung-Fu, which was introduced to the island by Chinese immigrants. This cultural exchange and development happened from the 1400's-1600's.
In Okinawa, the dojo is a highly respected place. It is where the art of self-defense is raised to a way of life. The student of karate is strengthened both physically and mentally while their character is polished through training in the art's moral principles.
(including how to avoid fights)