Yes, it is true, the martial art of Karate was, indeed, created by a young woman.
A couple of hundred years ago a young lass, name of Fung Qiniang, lived in Fujian province in China. She was a bright girl, and learned Southern Shaolin Kung Fu from her father.
What style of souther Shaolin papa knew we aren’t entirely sure, and we should probably consider the various lineages of Shaolin for a moment.
The five main schools are tiger, crane, snake, leopard, and dragon. A sixth martial school would be the monkey.
While these five schools all claim Shaolin as their origin point, and it is probably true, there are many styles with similar names that grew independent of the Shaolin temple.
So whether Fung Qiniang was schooled in original temple boxing we don’t know, but there is a high probability that Papa did know some original temple boxing.
At any rate, one day Fung was out doing her chores when a crane landed near her. She tried to frighten it away by waving a stick, but the crane merely hopped about and waved its wings. From these simple motions Fung grew her particular brand of kung fu.
If one examines the white crane style one will see that this is logical. The waving of the wings could easily be blocks, the pecking of the beak makes for a potent attack, and so on.
The problem is in the translation to Karate.
Karate happens to be a stand your ground, attack on a line, never say die, in your face… you understand.
While the theory of White Crane indicates the art is soft (created by one of those feminine critters) and… cranelike.
So where is the disconnect?
The disconnect is probably in the fact of men taking over the art. When Kung Fu was brought from China to Okinawa it was done so by men.
From a swaying body with angular blocks to a stand your ground and bruise your knuckles.
It’s just easier to get these male neanderthals to practice crunching things, than it is to use gentle swaying motions.
But, really, in the end, what does it matter?
There are benefits to both arts, and the wise martial artist would study both, scrutinize the roots, and learn from both.
That said, when somebody touts karate as a good example of bare knuckle, earn your bruises art… remember that Karate was invented by a woman with likely Shaolin Kung Fu roots.