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

Taekwondo vs Karate

Taekwondo vs Karate – a classic debate. The majority of people assume they’re the same thing, but there are a few differences that will determine which is better for you and your martial arts goals. We’ll settle the 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

Adult Karate ClassThe 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 combos primarily, and then kicking is a backup. Taekwondo is the exact opposite; it emphasizes kicking and uses hand moves 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

Taekwondo vs KarateWhen you’re thinking about which one you want to study, it can be helpful to consider the origin. Karate started later, but has been popularized by modern culture, while taekwondo has been around for thousands of years. Karate, made most popular by Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid, was first practiced in Japan. It started around 500 years ago to, as the story goes, stop the use of weapons on the island of Okinawa so that the king could prevent war. It makes you think, is taekwondo better than karate?

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.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 took over Korea in the 1900’s, the Japanese prohibited taekwondo. Japanese renegades practiced the martial arts form in secret, and it’s because of them that we can even practice taekwondo today.


Different Techniques Used

Taekwondo vs KarateSo what is the difference between Taekwondo vs Karate? 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 without weapons of any kind. 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. Karate students 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 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 as a backup. Taekwondo has more effectiveness at a distance because you can utilize the length of your legs against your opponent. So, is taekwondo the same as karate?


Competing in Taekwondo and Karate

Adult Karate programBoth karate and taekwondo are not only practical and effective martial arts forms, they 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 Lodi enjoy the rewards of all their hard work being recognized at belt ranking and in competition. There is a difference between Taekwondo vs 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 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.

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 protect yourself and your loved ones. And they’ll both push you to achieve your goals and accomplish things you never thought you could do. Now, is karate and taekwondo the same? Well, 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 Infinity Martial Arts staff here in Lodi for yourself–you’ll love it!