Taekwondo vs Karate – a classic debate. The majority of people assume they’re the same thing, but there are differences that will determine which is better for you and your martial arts goals. We’ll settle the scores and go over the differences between karate and taekwondo to help you to make your own decision on which is better for you!
The Difference Between Taekwondo vs Karate
The most basic difference between karate vs taekwondo 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 techniques primarily, and then kicking is more of an occasional thing. Taekwondo is the exact opposite- it puts an emphasis on kicking and uses hand moves as the backup.
Taekwondo has more variety in the moves you can learn, including spinning and jumping kicks.
Origins of Karate and Taekwondo
When 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 established for thousands of years.
Even though Mr. Miyagi made karate famous in our pop culture, it actually has its roots in Japan. It started around 500 years ago to, as the story goes, stop the use of weapons on the island of Okinawa in order to prevent war. Japanese warriors 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 is taekwondo better than karate? literally 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 1900’s, the Japanese actually 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
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, 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 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 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 taekwondo are very powerful for striking your opponent. Students of taekwondo learn spin kicks and a number of different kicking combinations while using hand techniques when necessary. Taekwondo has more effectiveness at a distance because you can leverage 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 encourage serious growth in their students.
They both require serious mental and physical strength and stamina just like other martial arts classes, which is why so many in Levittown enjoy the rewards of hard work paying off at belt ranking and in competition. There is a difference between taekwondo and karate competition rules. is taekwondo the same as karate? Karate rules are a bit more complicated, while taekwondo rules are straightforward. A karate student can strike the head, neck, face, chest, side, abdomen, and back.
The karate judges have a list of criteria that need to be followed in order 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.
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 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? 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 AmeriKick Martial Arts staff here in Levittown for yourself- you’ll love it!