Taekwondo vs Karate–one of the longest-standing debates in martial arts. Most people probably think they’re the same thing, but some key differences will determine which is better for you and your personal goals. We’ll settle this classic debate and go over the differences between karate and taekwondo to help you 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 movies– karate uses hand techniques primarily, and then kicking as a backup; Taekwondo is the exact opposite – it emphasizes kicking and uses hand techniques as the backup. Taekwondo has more diversity in combos as well, like spinning and jumping kicks. It makes you wonder, “Is taekwondo better than karate”?
Origins of Taekwondo vs Karate
When picking which self-defense 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 has its roots 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 protecting themselves with their hands instead of weapons, 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 taekwondo means defending yourself with your whole body – it’s known as the art of the foot and hand.
Fun fact, when Japan overtook Korea in the 1900s, the Japanese declared taekwondo illegal. Japanese renegades practiced the martial arts form in secret, and it’s thanks to them that we can still practice taekwondo today.
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 without any weapons.
Karate emphasizes mental strength and stamina, because one of your only forms of protection when practicing is your mind. You’ll learn lots of hand techniques and combinations while keeping kicks on deck as a last resort. It’s best 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 your leg is the strongest and longest weapon you have on your body. Kicks in taekwondo are very powerful for striking your opponent. It makes you ask the question, “Is taekwondo the same as karate?”
Students in taekwondo classes learn spin kicks and several different kicking combinations while using hand techniques as a backup. Taekwondo has more effectiveness at a distance because you can use 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 encourage legitimate growth in their students.
They both require serious mental and physical strength and stamin, just like other martial arts classes. Which is why so many in Foster City enjoy the rewards of all their hard work being recognized at belt ranking and in competition.
There is a difference between taekwondo and karate competition rules. Karate competition rules are a bit more complicated, while taekwondo rules are straightforward. In a karate competition, you can strike the head, neck, face, chest, side, abdomen, and back.
The judges in the competition 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. Taekwondo, however, is a bit more straightforward.
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.
So honestly, both of these martial arts styles will transform your body and get you fit fast. They’ll both teach you self-defense skills that you can use to defend yourself against an attacker. And they’ll both teach you to persevere, respect yourself and others, and gain confidence like never before. So, 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 pre-school karate classes with our Peak Performance staff here in Foster City for yourself- you’ll love it!