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Taekwondo vs Karate : Which Martial Arts Style is Better and Why

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Taekwondo vs Karate – a classic debate. The majority of people assume they’re the same thing, but some key differences will determine which is better for you and your personal goals. We’ll settle the 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

Adult Taekwondo ClassesThe most basic difference between Taekwondo vs Karate is how they use kicking and punching in their own martial arts style. 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 as a backup. Taekwondo is the exact opposite- it emphasizes kicking and uses hand combos as the backup. Taekwondo has more diversity in combos as well, like spinning and jumping kicks.

 

Origins of Karate and Taekwondo

Kids Martial Arts ClassesWhen picking which self-defense you want to study, it can be helpful to consider the origin. Karate started later but has been popularized by modern culture, while taekwondo has been practiced for thousands of years. Karate made most popular 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 to prevent war. The Japanese started using hand-to-hand combat to protect themselves 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 entire body – it’s known as the art of the foot and hand. Interestingly, when Japan took over 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. Now, is taekwondo better than karate?

 

Different Techniques Used

Taekwondo vs KarateSo 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.

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.

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 focuses on 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. You’ll 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 leverage the length of your legs against your opponent. It makes you think if “is taekwondo the same as karate?”

 

Competing in Taekwondo vs Karate

Adult Taekwondo ClassesBoth 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 hundreds of students in Brewster enjoy the rewards of hard work paying off 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. A karate student can strike the head, neck, face, chest, side, abdomen, and back. The karate judges 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 simpler. 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.

To be honest, karate or taekwondo will both get you super fit and in shape very quickly. Its up to you if is karate and taekwondo the same in martial arts. 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 keep going no matter what, respect yourself and others, and gain confidence like never before. So which is better, Taekwondo vs 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 STRIKING 101 staff here in Brewster for yourself- you’ll love it!

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