Taekwondo vs Karate. one of the longest-standing debates in martial arts. Lots of people think they’re the same, but there are some key differences that will determine which is better for you and your self-defense goals. We’ll settle the debate and go over the differences between karate and taekwondo to empower you to make your own decision on which is better for you!
The Difference Between Karate and Taekwondo
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 movies – karate uses hand techniques primarily, and then kicking as a backup. Taekwondo is the exact opposite- it puts an emphasis on 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 Karate and Taekwondo
When picking which self-defense you want to study, it can be helpful to consider the origin. Karate started later but modern culture made it pretty famous, while taekwondo has been practiced for thousands of years. Even though Mr. Miyagi made karate famous in our pop culture, it actually has its roots in Japan. It started around 500 years ago too, legend has it, stop the use of weapons on the island of Okinawa in order to prevent war.
Japanese soldiers 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 is taekwondo better than karate? literally means practicing self-defense with your whole body – it’s known as the art of the foot and hand. Fun fact, 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 the ones that kept taekwondo alive to this day.
Different Techniques Used
So what is the difference between karate and taekwondo? It’s the difference between the two sides of your body- hands/arms and legs/feet. Karate means empty hands, a nod to 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. You’ll learn lots of hand techniques and combinations while keeping kicks on deck as a last resort. Karate is a good fit 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 a number of different kicking combinations while using hand techniques if necessary. Taekwondo is best if your opponent is at a distance because you can use the length of your legs against them.
Competing in Taekwondo and Karate
Is taekwondo the same as karate? Both karate and taekwondo are not only practical and effective martial arts forms, but they also provide opportunities for competition and advancement that encourage serious growth in their students. They both require serious mental and physical strength and stamina just like other martial arts classes, which is why so many in Longwood 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. 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 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, however, is a bit more straightforward. In a taekwondo competition, a student 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 protect yourself and your loved ones. And they’ll both push you to achieve a ton and accomplish things you never thought you could do. Is taekwondo better than karate? Well, 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 American Top Team staff here in Longwood for yourself- you’ll love it!