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

Taekwondo vs Karate

Taekwondo vs Karate, one of the longest-standing debates in martial arts. Lots of people think they’re the same, but some differences 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 help you make your own decision on which is better for you!

The Difference Between Taekwondo vs Karate

Taekwondo vs KarateThe 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 emphasizes kicking and uses hand combos as the backup. Taekwondo has more diversity in martial arts combos as well, like spinning and jumping kicks.

Origins of Taekwondo vs Karate

adult Karate classWhen you think about which martial arts classes you want to take, it can be helpful to consider the origin. Karate started later but modern culture made it pretty famous, while Taekwondo has been practiced for thousands of years. Karate, made most popular by Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid, started 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 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 practicing self-defense with your entire body. It’s known as the art of the foot and hand. Fun fact, when Japan overtook Korea in the 1900’s, the Japanese banned Taekwondo. Japanese renegades practiced the martial arts form in secret, and it’s because of them that we can even practice Taekwondo today. Ask yourself, is Taekwondo better than Karate?

Different Techniques Used

adult martial arts training in littletonSo 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, a nod to 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. Students in karate classes learn lots of hand techniques and combinations while keeping kicks on deck if needed. It makes you wonder, is Taekwondo the same as Karate?

Karate is a good fit 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 strongest weapon. Kicks in this martial art 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 best if your opponent is at a distance because you can utilize the length of your legs against them.

Competing in Taekwondo and Karate

Taekwondo vs KarateBoth Taekwondo vs Karate are not only practical and effective martial arts forms, but they also provide opportunities for competition and advancement that will challenge 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 Littleton enjoy the rewards of hard work paying off at belt ranking and in competition. There is a difference between Taekwondo and Karate competition rules.

Karate competition rules are a bit more complicated, while Taekwondo rules are more 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 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.

To be honest, Karate or Taekwondo will both get you super fit and in shape quickly. They’ll both teach you practical self-defense that you can use to defend yourself against an attacker. And they’ll both push you to achieve your goals and accomplish things you never thought you could do. So, is Karate and Taekwondo the same? 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 Excel Taekwondo staff here in Littleton for yourself. You’ll love it!

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