Taekwondo vs Karate – a classic debate. Lots of people think, “is taekwondo the same as karate?” There are a few differences that will determine which style is in line your martial arts goals. We’ll settle the scores and go over the differences between karate and taekwondo to guide you to make your own decision on which is better for you!
The Difference Between Taekwondo vs Karate
The most basic difference between Taekwondo vs Karate is the difference between kicking and punching. Think of the shuto uchi, or the famous “karate chop” you’ve seen in every ninja movie – karate classes use hand combos primarily, and then kicking is more of an occasional thing.
Taekwondo is the exact opposite – it emphasizes kicking and uses hand moves as the backup. Taekwondo is also more diverse with the moves you can master, including spinning and jumping kicks.
Origins of Taekwondo and Karate
When you think about which martial arts classes you want to take, it can be helpful to consider the origin. Karate started later, but has been popularized by modern culture. Meanwhile, taekwondo has been around for thousands of years. Even though Mr. Miyagi made karate famous in our pop culture, it originated in Japan.
It started around 500 years ago, as the story goes, to stop the use of weapons on the island of Okinawa so that the king could prevent war. Japanese warriors started fighting with their hands instead of weapons to protect themselves, and karate was born; hand-to-hand fighting. Taekwondo goes back quite a bit further to 50 B.CE. in Korea.
It’s all in the name – “tae” means kick, “kwon” means punch, and “do” means, well, doing things. So all together, taekwondo means defending yourself with your entire body – it’s known as the art of the foot and hand. Interestingly, when Japan overtook Korea in the 1900’s, the Japanese declared taekwondo illegal. Japanese renegades practiced the martial arts form in secret, and it’s because of them that we can even practice taekwondo today. Is karate and taekwondo the same, or do they differ in techniques and cultural influences?
Different Techniques Used
So what is the difference between Taekwondo vs Karate? It’s the difference between the two sides of your body – hands/arms and legs/feet. Karate means empty hands, pointing to the fact that it’s a martial arts form relying heavily on the use of your hands as weaponry. There’s a certain focus on stamina and mental strength, because one of your only forms of protection when practicing is your mind.
Karate students learn lots of hand techniques and combinations while keeping kicks on deck as a last resort. It’s perfect for when you’re close to an opponent and need that hand-to-hand combat advantage. On the other hand, taekwondo emphasizes the legs. Chiefly because the leg is the longest and strongest weapon on the body. Kicks in this martial art are very powerful for striking your opponent.
Students of taekwondo learn spin kicks and several different kicking combinations while using hand techniques, if necessary. Taekwondo is perfect if your opponent is at a distance because you can utilize the length of your legs against them. It makes you think: is taekwondo better than karate?
Competing in Taekwondo and Karate
Both karate and taekwondo are not only practical and effective martial arts forms, but they also provide opportunities for competition and advancement that will challenge you to grow. It makes you question: is taekwondo the same as karate?
There is another key difference between Taekwondo vs Karate – competition rules. The rules of karate are a bit more involved, while the rules of taekwondo are more simple. In a karate competition, you can strike the head, neck, face, chest, side, abdomen, and back. The karate judges have a list of criteria that need to be followed for the match to be considered a win, like good form, accurate distance, and good timing. Do you still wonder “is taekwondo better than karate?”
Taekwondo competitions are more to the point. A taekwondo martial artist gets 3 points for a kick to the head, 2 points for a spinning kick to the opponent’s torso, and one point for a basic attack on their torso.
So honestly, both of these martial arts styles will transform your body and get you fit fast. If you’re still wondering–is karate and taekwondo the same–they’ll both teach you practical self-defence that you can use to protect yourself and your loved ones. And they’ll both push you to achieve your goals and accomplish things you never thought you could do. So which is better: karate or taekwondo? Well, the best one for self-defence is the one you take the initiative to do. Doing nothing will result in nothing! So come and try our adult karate classes at Challenge Martial Arts here in Oakleigh for yourself – you’ll love it!