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

Adult Self-Defense Classes

Taekwondo vs Karate- which do you choose? 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 scores and go over the differences between karate and taekwondo to guide you to make your own decision on which is better for you!

 

The Difference Between Taekwondo and Karate

Taekwondo vs Karate

The most basic difference between Taekwondo vs Karate is the difference between kicking and punching. 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 a backup. 

Taekwondo is the exact opposite- it emphasizes kicking and uses hand techniques as the backup. Taekwondo has more diversity in combos as well, like spinning and jumping kicks.

 

Origins of Karate and Taekwondo

Taekwondo vs 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 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 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 to prevent war. Japanese soldiers 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 means defending yourself with your whole 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 they’re the ones that kept taekwondo alive to this day.

 

Different Techniques Used

Taekwondo vs Karate

So what is the difference between karate and taekwondo? 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 sans weaponry. 

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. Students in karate classes learn lots of hand techniques and combinations while keeping kicks on deck if needed. It’s 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 several different kicking combinations while using hand techniques if necessary. Taekwondo is best if your opponent is at a distance because you can leverage the length of your legs against them.

 

Competing in Taekwondo and Karate

Taekwondo vs 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 push you to grow. They both require serious mental and physical strength and stamina just like other martial arts classes, which is why hundreds of students in Cypress 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. A karate student can strike to the head, neck, face, chest, side, abdomen, and back. The judges in the competition 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. 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.

In all honesty, karate or taekwondo can both get you super fit and in shape very quickly. They’ll both teach you self-defense skills that you can use to defend yourself against an attacker. And they’ll both push you to achieve a ton and accomplish things you never thought you could do. 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 Active Jiu-Jitsu staff here in Cypress for yourself- you’ll love it!

 

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