What is the Difference Between Taekwondo and Karate: Karate vs Taekwondo

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Karate vs Taekwondo. Is karate better than taekwondo? Which is better for self-defense karate or taekwondo? Let us compare the two and see the difference between taekwondo and karate.

Karate and Taekwondo are two of the most effective martial arts for self defense. But in order to choose one suitable for you, you will need to learn the difference between taekwondo and karate.

Given below is a detailed comparative study of taekwondo vs karate which will help you make your choice.



What is Taekwondo?

Taekwondo is a form of Korean martial arts that was officially recognized in 1959 with the formation of the Korean Taekwondo association. Before the formation of this association Taekwondo was practiced in different styles by its proponents.

Taekwondo or Tae kwon do means the way of the fist and foot. It relies on the movement of arms and legs in a specific manner to attack or retaliate.

Through Taekwondo a person develops physical strength and stamina and self-discipline.

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difference between karate and taekwondo
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What is Karate?

Karate was practiced as a form of self-defense by the people of Okinawan islands to fight Japanese invasion in the 19th century. It was officially recognized as a martial art form in 1949 with the formation of Japan Karate association.

Karate means empty hands and does not involve the use of weapons (kobudo, another branch of karate uses weapons).  Karate is predominantly about punches, strikes, kicking and certain hand and knee techniques.

Karate helps a person develop physical agility as well as emotional restraint. “No first attack in karate” is a famous adage followed by the practitioners of this martial arts form.

Karate and Taekwondo are two forms of martial arts that involve the use of hands and legs for kicking and punching. They both do not use weapons.

Karate vs Taekwondo
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Benefits of Martial Arts

There are some common benefits of learning martial arts whether it is taekwondo or karate.

  • Helpful in full body workout
  • Teaches self-defense
  • Promotes self confidence
  • Instills respect, integrity and self-discipline

As you can see, learning any form of martial arts benefits not only the body but also the mind. So, which one to choose?

What is the Difference Between Taekwondo and Karate

Both karate and taekwondo are combat styles that make use of just hands and legs to fight an opponent. Then, what is the major difference between taekwondo and karate? And if you were to choose one, which one would you want to learn?

Below are outlined certain differences between karate and taekwondo that will help you decide which martial art style is suitable for you.

Comparison Chart – Karate vs Taekwondo

Karate Taekwondo
Origin Okinawa, Japan Korea
Body part mostly used in combat Hands Legs
Popular techniques Hand strikes Kicking
Name of forms Kata Poomsae
Stances Wide Tall and narrow
Emphasis on speed Less More
Olympic sport status Will be included in the 2020 Olympic games Became an Olympic game in 2000
Scoring Equal points to punches and kicks More points to kicks

Since both the martial art forms look similar, here is a tip to differentiate between them. Taekwondo involves more kicks whereas karate involves more punches.

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Which Martial Arts is Right for me? (Karate vs Tae Kwon Do)

After learning the key differences between karate and taekwondo you are in a better position to choose between the two. Which martial art form is right for you?

Karate focuses on strength training and hand strikes. Taekwondo is more about speed and kicks. Since taekwondo is already an Olympic event, its training is more tournaments focused.

If your goal is competitions then taekwondo will be a good choice. But if you are more interested in learning self-defense for a street fight then choosing karate will be better.

difference between taekwondo and karate
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Karate is considered a better option for street fighting because it teaches you to fight at close range. Since it relies on the use of hands which are closer to the opponent, you have a better shot at striking down your opponent.

Taekwondo focuses more on kicks because legs are considered stronger than hands. It tries to cover the distance between you and your opponent with a speedy kick. Hence, the focus is on speed and agility.

The workout focus is also different between the two. Karate focuses in developing upper body strength whereas the focus of taekwondo is on lower body or legs. There will be a lot more jumping done in taekwondo than in karate.

Hence, choose a martial art form according to your personal preferences related to workouts, competitions, whether you prefer agility or strength.

Do not participate in a sparring contest without wearing protective gear. Some common injuries in any martial arts are cuts and bruises.

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Wrapping up – Taekwondo vs Karate Comparison

Karate and taekwondo are two types of martial arts that teach a person to spar and defend oneself in a fight. They help develop qualities like patience and confidence.

Choose the martial art form that suits your personal style of doing things. You can also visit nearby martial arts school and take some trial lessons in both karate and taekwondo. This will help you decide the right form of martial art for you.

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