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

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

Taekwondo vs Karate

Taekwondo vs Karate – one of the longest-standing debates in martial arts. Lots of people think they’re the same, but there are a few differences that will determine which is better for you and your personal goals. We’ll settle the score 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 karate classThe 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 movies; karate uses hand combos primarily, and then kicking is a backup. Taekwondo is the exact opposite; it emphasizes kicking and uses hand techniques as the backup. Taekwondo is also more diverse with the martial arts moves you can master, including spinning and jumping kicks. 

Origins of Taekwondo vs Karate

adult karate programWhen 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 around 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 to, as legend has it, stop the use of weapons on the island of Okinawa to 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.C.E. 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 overtook Korea in the 1900’s, the Japanese declared taekwondo illegal. Japanese rebels practiced the martial arts form in secret, and it’s thanks to them that we can still practice taekwondo today. So, is taekwondo better than karate?

Different Techniques Used

private training in delray beachWhat 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 weapons of any kind. 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 a last resort. Thus, is taekwondo the same as karate? It’s 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. 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 use the length of your legs against your opponent.

Competing in Taekwondo and Karate

Taekwondo vs KarateBoth karate and taekwondo are not only practical and effective martial arts forms, they provide opportunities for competition and advancement that will challenge 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 Delray Beach 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 to 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 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. It makes you think, is karate and taekwondo the same?

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, Taekwondo vs Karate? 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 RBJJ Academy staff here in Delray Beach for yourself–you’ll love our martial arts classes it!

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