Taekwondo vs Karate- a classic debate. Lots of people think they’re the same, but there are some key differences that will determine which is better for you and your martial arts 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 between Taekwondo vs Karate is the matter of kicks and punches. Think of the shuto uchi, or the famous “karate chop” you’ve seen in every ninja movie – karate uses hand techniques primarily, and then kicking is more of an occasional thing. 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 you think about which martial arts classes you want to take, it can be helpful to consider the origin. Karate started later but became a pop culture phenomenon, while taekwondo has been practiced for thousands of years.
Even though Mr. Miyagi made karate famous in our pop culture, it actually originated in Japan. It started around 500 years ago to, as the story goes, stop the use of weapons on the island of Okinawa in order to prevent war. The Japanese started fighting with their hands instead of weapons to protect themselves, 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 to 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. Interestingly, when Japan took over Korea in the 1900s, 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 are karate and taekwondo the same? It’s the difference between the two sides 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 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. Students in karate classes learn lots of hand techniques and combinations while keeping kicks on deck if needed. Karate is perfect 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 the leg is the longest and strongest weapon on the body. Kicks in this martial art are very powerful for striking your opponent. You’ll learn spin kicks and a number of different kicking combinations while using hand techniques as a backup. Taekwondo has more effectiveness at a distance because you can use the length of your legs against your opponent.
Competing in Taekwondo and Karate
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.
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 teach you to keep going no matter what, respect yourself and others, and gain confidence like never before. So which is better, karate or taekwondo? 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 D3 Martial Arts staff here in Palm Harbor for yourself- you’ll love it!