Taekwondo vs Karate – which do you choose? Most people probably think they’re the same thing, but there are differences that will determine which is better for you and your martial arts goals. We’ll settle the scores 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 Between 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 every ninja movie – karate uses hand combos primarily, and then kicking is more of an occasional thing. Taekwondo is the exact opposite- it emphasizes kicking and uses hand combos as the backup. Taekwondo has more variety in the moves you can learn, including spinning and jumping kicks.
Origins of Karate and Taekwondo
When you’re thinking about which one 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 established for thousands of years.
Karate, made famous by Mr. Miayagi in The Karate Kid, was first practiced in Japan. It started around 500 years ago to, as the story goes, stop the use of weapons on the island of Okinawa so that the king could prevent war. The Japanese started protecting themselves with their hands 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 to punch, and do means, well, doing things. So is taekwondo better than karate? literally 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 1900s, the Japanese actually put a ban on taekwondo. Japanese renegades practiced the martial arts form in secret, and it’s because of them that we can even practice taekwondo today.
Different Techniques Used
So what is the difference between taekwondo vs karate? It’s the difference between the two halves 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 without any weapons.
There’s a greater focus on mental strength and stamina because one of your only forms of protection when practicing is your mind. Students in karate classes learn lots of hand techniques and combinations while keeping kicks on deck if needed. It’s best for when you’re close to an opponent and need that hand-to-hand combat advantage. Alternatively, 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 when necessary. is taekwondo better than karate? Taekwondo has more effectiveness at a distance because you can leverage the length of your legs against your opponent.
Competing in Taekwondo and Karate
Both Taekwondo vs Karate are not only practical and effective martial arts forms, but they also provide opportunities for competition and advancement that can truly push you to grow.
They both require serious mental and physical strength and stamina just like other martial arts classes, which is why hundreds of students in Carrollton enjoy the rewards of hard work paying off at belt ranking and in competition. There is a difference between taekwondo and karate competition rules. Karate rules are a bit more complex, while taekwondo rules are straightforward. A karate student can strike to the head, neck, face, chest, side, abdomen, and back.
The karate judges 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 competitor 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.
In all honesty, karate or taekwondo can both get you super fit and in shape very quickly. They’ll both teach you the practical self-defense that you can use to defend yourself against an attacker. And they’ll both teach you to keep going no matter what, respect yourself and others, and gain confidence like never before. So which is better, is karate and taekwondo the same? Honestly, the best one for self-defense is the one you take the initiative to do. Doing nothing will result in nothing! So come and try martial arts with our Integrity Martial Arts staff here in Carrollton for yourself- you’ll love it!