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

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Taekwondo vs Karate: a classic debate. Lots of people think they’re the same, but there are differences that will determine which is better for you and your martial arts goals. We’ll settle this classic 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 Martial Arts in Clear LakeThe 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 more of an occasional thing. Taekwondo is the exact opposite. It puts an emphasis on kicking and uses hand combos as the backup. Taekwondo has more variety in the martial arts moves you can learn, including spinning and jumping kicks. 

 

Origins of Taekwondo vs Karate

private martial arts lessons in clear lakeWhen 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. 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 so that the king could prevent war.

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 literally means practicing self-defense with your whole body, it’s known as the art of the foot and hand.

Fun fact, when Japan took over Korea in the 1900’s, the Japanese actually put a ban on taekwondo. Japanese rebels practiced the martial arts form in secret, and they’re the ones who kept taekwondo alive to this day. Are you still thinking–is taekwondo the same as karate?

 

Different Techniques Used

power kickboxing classes in clear lakeSo 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 any weapons.

There’s a certain focus on stamina and mental strength because one of your only forms of protection when practicing is your mind. Karate students learn lots of hand techniques and combinations while keeping kicks on deck, if needed. Karate is 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 strongest weapon.

Kicks in this martial art are very powerful for striking your opponent. Students of taekwondo learn spin kicks and a number of different kicking combinations while using hand techniques as a backup. Taekwondo has more effectiveness at a distance because you can leverage the length of your legs against your opponent. It makes you wonder, is karate and taekwondo the same?

 

Competing in Taekwondo and Karate

adulz martial arts classes in clear lakeBoth karate and taekwondo are not only practical and effective martial arts forms, they provide opportunities for competition and advancement that can really 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 Houston enjoy the rewards of hard work paying off 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 in order 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.

In all honesty, karate or taekwondo will both get you super fit and in shape really quickly. They’ll both teach you practical martial arts that you can use to defend yourself against an attacker. And they’ll both teach you to keep going no matter what, respect yourself and others, and gain confidence like never before.

So, is taekwondo better than karate? Honestly, 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 Bushi Ban staff here in Houston for yourself: you’ll love it!

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