Taekwondo vs Karate – which do you choose? A lot of people probably think they’re the same thing, but there are some key differences that will determine which is better for you and your martial arts goals. We’ll settle the debate and go over the differences between karate and taekwondo to guide you in making your own decision on which is better for you!
The Difference Between Taekwondo vs Karate
The most basic difference in 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 is a backup. Taekwondo is the exact opposite- it puts an emphasis on kicking and uses hand techniques as the backup. Taekwondo has more variety in the moves you can learn, including spinning and jumping kicks.
Origins of Taekwondo and Karate
When you think about which martial arts classes you want to take, it can be helpful to consider the origin. Karate started later but has been popularized by modern culture, while taekwondo has been around for thousands of years.
Karate, made most popular by Mr. Miayagi in The Karate Kid, originated 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 punch, and do means, well, doing things. So taekwondo literally means defending yourself with your entire body – it’s known as the art of the foot and hand. Fun fact, when Japan overtook Korea in the 1900’s, the Japanese actually prohibited taekwondo. Japanese rebels practiced the martial arts form in secret, and it’s because of them that we can even practice taekwondo today.
Different Techniques Used
is karate and taekwondo the same? No, there is a 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 weapons of any kind.
There’s a greater focus on mental strength and stamina 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. It’s perfect for when you’re close to an opponent and need that hand-to-hand combat advantage. Alternatively, taekwondo focuses on the legs, chiefly because your leg is the strongest (and longest!) weapon you have on your body.
Kicks in this martial art are very powerful for striking your opponent. Students in taekwondo classes learn spin kicks and a number of different kicking combinations while using hand techniques as a backup. Is taekwondo better than karate? Is it more effective at a distance because you can utilize the length of your legs against your opponent?
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 can really push 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 Forest Hills enjoy the rewards of all their hard work being recognized at belt ranking and in competition. There is a difference between taekwondo vs karate competition rules. The rules of karate are a bit more involved, while the rules of taekwondo are more simple. A karate student 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. 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 practical self-defense 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 taekwondo the same as karate? We’ll show you in class, as the better one for self-defense is the one YOU do. Doing nothing will result in nothing! So come and try martial arts with our STRIKING 101 staff here in Forest Hills for yourself- you’ll LOVE it!