Taekwondo vs Karate – one of the longest-standing debates in martial arts. Lots of people think they’re the same, but there are a few differences that will determine which is better for you and your self-defence goals. We’ll settle this classic debate and go over the differences between karate and taekwondo to help you to make your own decision on which is better for you!
The Difference of Taekwondo vs Karate
The most basic difference between taekwondo vs karate is the matter of kicks and punches. Think of the shuto uchi, or the famous “karate chop” you’ve seen in movies – karate uses hand combos primarily, and then kicking as a backup.
Taekwondo is the exact opposite- it puts an emphasis on kicking and uses hand combos as the backup. Taekwondo has more diversity in combos as well, like spinning and jumping kicks.
Origins of Karate and Taekwondo
When picking which self-defence you want to study, it can be helpful to consider the origin. Karate started later but became a pop culture phenomenon, while taekwondo has been practiced for thousands of years.
Even though Mr. Miyagi made karate famous in our pop culture, it actually originated in Japan. It started around 500 years ago to, as the story goes, stop the use of weapons on the island of Okinawa in order to prevent war. Japanese warriors started using hand-to-hand combat to protect themselves instead of weapons, and karate was born- hand-to-hand fighting.
Taekwondo goes back even 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 is taekwondo better than karate literally means practicing self-defence with your whole body – it’s known as the art of the foot and hand. Interestingly, when Japan took over Korea in the 1900’s, the Japanese actually declared taekwondo totally illegal. Japanese rebels practiced the martial arts form in secret, and they’re they ones that kept taekwondo alive to this day.
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, referencing the fact that it’s a martial arts form relying heavily on the use of your hands sans weaponry.
There’s a certain focus on stamina and mental strength because one of your only forms of protection in a karate fight is your mind. Karate students learn lots of hand techniques and combinations while keeping kicks on deck if needed. It’s a good fit for when you’re close to an opponent and need that hand-to-hand combat advantage.
On the other hand, taekwondo focuses on the legs, chiefly because the leg is the strongest weapon. Kicks in taekwondo are very powerful for striking your opponent. You’ll learn spin kicks and a number of 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.
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.
They both require serious mental and physical strength and stamina just like other martial arts classes, which is why so many in Southeast England enjoy the rewards of hard work paying off at belt ranking and in competition. There is a difference between taekwondo and karate competition rules. The rules of karate are a bit more involved, is taekwondo the same as karate? In a karate competition, you can strike to the head, neck, face, chest, side, abdomen, and back.
The judges in the competition have a list of criteria that need to be followed in order for the match to be considered a win, like good form, accurate distance, and good timing. 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.
To be honest, karate or taekwondo can both get you super fit and in shape very quickly. They’ll both teach you the practical self-defence that you can use to defend yourself against an attacker. And they’ll both push you to achieve a ton and accomplish things you never thought you could do. Is karate and taekwondo the same? 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 martial arts with our Canton Martial Arts staff here in Southeast England for yourself- you’ll love it!