Taekwondo vs Karate – which do you choose? Many people think they’re the same, but a few differences will determine which is better for you and your self-defense goals. We’ll settle the scores and go over the differences between karate and taekwondo to help you decide which is better for you!
The Difference Between Karate and Taekwondo
The most basic difference between karate and taekwondo 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 as a backup.
Taekwondo is the opposite – it emphasizes 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 picking which self-defense you want to study, 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. Karate, made famous by Mr. Miayagi in The Karate Kid, was first practiced 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. Japanese soldiers 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 whole body – it’s known as the art of the foot and hand. Interestingly, when Japan took over Korea in the 1900s, the Japanese banned taekwondo. Japanese rebels practiced the martial arts form in secret, and it’s thanks to them that we can still practice taekwondo today.
Different Techniques Used
So what is the difference between karate and taekwondo? 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 greater focus on mental strength and stamina 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.
Karate is perfect for when you’re close to an opponent and need that hand-to-hand combat advantage. On the other hand, taekwondo emphasizes the legs, chiefly because the leg is the longest and strongest weapon on the body. Kicks in taekwondo are very powerful for striking your opponent. Students of taekwondo learn spin kicks and several different kicking combinations while using hand techniques if necessary. Taekwondo is perfect if your opponent is at a distance because you can use 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 can truly 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 Clarence 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 taekwondo rules are straightforward. In a karate competition, you 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 for the match to be considered a win, like good form, accurate distance, and good timing. Taekwondo competitions are more to-the-point. 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.
In all honesty, karate or taekwondo will both get you super fit and in shape very quickly. 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 The Training Edge staff here in Clarence for yourself- you’ll love it! Free Trial Here!