Taekwondo vs Karate – one of the longest-standing debates in martial arts. Most people probably think they’re the same thing, but there are differences that will determine which is better for you and your self-defense goals. We’ll settle this classic 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 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 a backup.
Taekwondo is the exact opposite- it puts an emphasis on kicking and uses hand combos 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 has been popularized by modern culture, 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 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 is taekwondo better than karate 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
So what is the difference between taekwondo vs karate? It’s the difference between the two halves 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 certain focus on stamina and mental strength 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 the last resort. Karate is perfect for when you’re close to an opponent and need that hand-to-hand combat advantage.
Alternatively, 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 as a backup. Taekwondo 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 karate and taekwondo 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 stamina just like other martial arts classes, which is why hundreds of students in Boynton Beach 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 rules are a bit more complex, while is taekwondo the same as karate rules are more straightforward.
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 simpler. A taekwondo martial artist 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 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 Palm Beach Martial Arts staff here in Boynton Beach for yourself- you’ll LOVE it!