Taekwondo vs Karate- a classic debate. The majority of people assume they’re the same thing, but there are differences that will determine which is better for you and your personal goals. We’ll settle the scores 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 Taekwondo vs Karate
The most basic difference in Taekwondo vs Karate is between your hands and your feet- punching vs kicking. 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 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 you’re thinking about which one 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 established 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 to punch, and do means, well, doing things. So taekwondo literally means practicing self defense with your entire 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 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, a nod to 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, then, 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. Karate is 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 the leg is the longest and strongest weapon on the body.
Kicks in taekwondo are very powerful for striking your opponent. Students of taekwondo learn spin kicks and a number of different kicking combinations while using hand techniques when necessary. is taekwondo better than karate it is a good fit if your opponent is at a distance because you can leverage the length of your legs against them.
Competing in Taekwondo and Karate
Both Taekwondo vs Karate is 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 stamina just like other martial arts classes, which is why hundreds of students in Glen Mills 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 competition rules are a bit more complex, while taekwondo rules are straightforward. 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 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. 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.
In all honesty, karate or taekwondo will both get you super fit and in shape really quickly. 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 your goals and accomplish things you never thought you could do. 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 East Coast Karate Institute staff here in Glen Mills for yourself- you’ll LOVE it!