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 self-defence goals. We’ll settle the scores 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 techniques primarily, and then kicking is more of an occasional thing. Taekwondo is the exact opposite, emphasising kicking and using hand techniques as the backup. Taekwondo has more diversity in combos as well, like spinning and jumping kicks. Both are very different kinds of martial arts classes.
Origins of Taekwondo vs Karate
When picking which self-defence 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 practised for thousands of years. Karate, made famous by Mr. Miayagi in The Karate Kid, was first practised in Japan. It started around 500 years ago to, 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 quite a bit further to 50 B.C.E. in Korea. Thus, is taekwondo better than karate?
It’s all in the name: “tae” means kick, “kwon” means punch, and “do” means, well, doing things. So taekwondo means practising self-defence with your entire body – it’s known as the art of the foot and hand. Interestingly, when Japan took over Korea in the 1900’s, the Japanese banned taekwondo. Japanese renegades practised the martial arts form in secret, and it’s thanks to them that we can still practise taekwondo today.
Different Techniques Used
So what 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, pointing to 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 in a karate fight is your mind. You’ll learn lots of hand techniques and combinations while keeping kicks on deck as a last resort. Karate is best for when you’re close to an opponent and need that hand-to-hand combat advantage.
On the other hand, taekwondo emphasises the legs, chiefly because your leg is the strongest (and longest!) weapon you have on your body. Kicks in taekwondo are very powerful for striking your opponent. You’ll learn spin kicks and several different kicking combinations while using hand techniques if necessary. Taekwondo has more effectiveness at a distance because you can use the length of your legs against your opponent.
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 Dunfermline 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. Hence, is taekwondo the same as karate?
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 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. Therefore, is karate and taekwondo the same?
To be honest, Taekwondo vs Karate can both get you super fit and in shape very quickly. They’ll both teach you self-defence skills 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, karate or taekwondo?
Well, the best one for self-defence is the one you take the initiative to do. Doing nothing will result in nothing! So come and try adult martial arts clases with our Evolution TKMA staff here in Dunfermline for yourself–you’ll love it!