Difference Between Taekwondo and Karate

Besides self-defense, martial arts are beneficial for both physical and mental health. By practicing martial arts, you can build muscles, improve balance, and get a full-body aerobic workout. Taekwondo and Karate are two of the widely popular and common martial arts. Many people think that taekwondo and karate are the same. But these two martial arts have distinctive features.

Taekwondo vs Karate

The main difference between Taekwondo and karate is that taekwondo focuses more on fighting with legs, where kicking is the primary and the use of hands is secondary. On the other hand, karate focuses on the hand where using the hand while fighting is considered primary, and the use of legs for kicking while fighting is considered as the secondary.

Taekwondo vs Karate

Taekwondo refers to one of the most scientific and systematic martial arts which originated in Korea. Taekwondo heavily emphasizes the use of legs for kicking while fighting. During the 1940s and 1950s, this martial art was developed by several Korean martial artists by blending indigenous fighting styles of Korea with foreign martial arts like Chinese martial arts, karate.

Karate is another widely popular and dynamic martial art which originated from Japan. Karate consists of dynamic defensive and offensive techniques by using all body parts. Trained karatekas can coordinate body and mind properly which helps them unleash extreme physical power. It was first introduced in Japan by Gichin Funakoshi, who was considered the founding father of modern karate, in 1917.

Comparison Table Between Taekwondo and Karate

Parameters of Comparison TaekwondoKarate
OriginTaekwondo originated in Korea.     Karate originated in Japan.
MovementsTaekwondo mainly focuses on kicking techniques that need to be graceful and strong. Using hands while fighting is secondary in taekwondo.     Karate is the striking art with kicking, punching, open-handed, and elbow/knee techniques.
FeaturesThe major feature of Taekwondo art is kicking. Taekwondo is considered to be one of the fastest martial arts.     The major features of karate are blocks, takedowns, punches, and kicks.
Bow style The bow style of taekwondo is arming together or hands together.     In karate bow is done by bending the torso down, keeping arms straight against the torso, and eyes on the opponents.
ClothingThe uniform of taekwondo is known as dobok.     The clothing of karate is known as Gi.

What is Taekwondo?

Taekwondo refers to an empty hand martial art form which originated in Korea. Taekwondo is derived from three words- “tae”, “Kwon”, and “do” which means kick, punch, and other fist and hand blow; and a way of operation respectively. It is distinguished from other martial arts by its sweeping kicks, emphatic punches, and high speed.

KTA or the Korean Taekwondo Association is considered the oldest taekwondo governing body. It was formed in 1959 by the 9 original martial art schools of Korea, known as kwans. In 1966 General Choi Hong Hi founded the ITF or International Taekwon-Do Federation which is the international governing body of taekwondo. 

In taekwondo matches, two competitors face each other across a mat surface. Officials scored the match by accessing points for the execution-style and delivered blows by the competitors. Points are given for each kick delivered to the side and front of the head and punches to the body or the head of the opponent.

The uniform of taekwondo is known as dobok. Dobok is a loose-fit white pants and jacket. The proficiency of taekwondo is identified by the color of the belt. Each color of the belt presents each level of taekwondo ability. 

What is Karate?

Karate is another well-known martial art which originated in Japan. The word is derived from two words- “kara” and “te” which mean “empty” and “hand” respectively. Karate refers to fighting without the help of any weapon which is fought in an empty hand. In karate, the full body is used to defend and attack the opponent.

Over a period of centuries, karate evolved into a systematic martial art and became popular as self-defense in the 17th century in Japan as weapons were forbidden at that time. After the Taisho era, it was widely taught in Japan. During the 1960s and 1970s, martial art movies made it popular all over the world.

Karate focuses on full-body movements with counter-attacks using strikes, punches, and kicks; and blocking. It mainly focuses on hand movement rather than the use of kicks. Karate is practiced as self-defense, sport, and a healthy workout. Karate develops flexibility, coordination, strength, aerobic fitness, and balance as a method of keeping healthy and fit. 

Karate practices are divided into three major elements which are Kumita or sparring, kata or forms, and kihon or basics. These three elements rely on each other and overlap constantly. The main goal of this martial art is to build a perfect character. It is believed that karate helps to develop the character and spiritual thinking of a person.

Main Differences Between Taekwondo and Karate

  1. Taekwondo originated in Korea. On the other hand, karate originated in Japan.
  2. Taekwondo mainly focuses on kicking techniques that need to be graceful and strong. Using hands while fighting is secondary in taekwondo. Karate is the striking art with kicking, punching, open-handed, and elbow/knee techniques.
  3. The major feature of Taekwondo art is kicking. Taekwondo is considered to be one of the fastest martial arts. The major features of karate are blocks, takedowns, punches, and kicks.
  4. The bow style of taekwondo is arming together or hands together. In karate bow is done by bending the torso down, keeping arms straight against the torso, and eyes on the opponents.
  5. The uniform of taekwondo is known as dobok. The clothing of karate is known as Gi.

Conclusion

Both taekwondo and karate are considered to be popular and common martial art forms. These two martial arts are widely popular as a sport and both of these are Olympic sports. These martial arts teach discipline and patience and build character. But these two martial arts have some differences.

Taekwondo focuses on the use of legs, kicking while fighting, using hands is secondary in taekwondo. On the other hand, karate focuses mainly on the use of hands by punching, striking while fighting, using legs while fighting is secondary in karate. If you want full-body movement while fighting it’s better to choose karate over taekwondo as it mainly focuses on the movements of the leg.

References

  1. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=taekwondo+&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3Dw7DOpTdIVncJ
  2. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=karate+&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3DDhPOiEy47bYJ
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