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

Taekwondo vs Karate

Taekwondo vs Karate – a classic debate. The majority of people assume they’re the same thing, but there are a few differences that will determine which is better for you and your personal goals. We’ll settle this classic debate and go over the differences between karate and taekwondo to guide you to make your own decision on which is better for you!

The Difference Between Taekwondo vs Karate

Taekwondo vs Karate

The most basic difference in karate vs taekwondo is between your hands and your feet- punching vs kicking. 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 a backup. Taekwondo is the exact opposite- it emphasizes kicking and uses hand techniques as the backup. Taekwondo has more diversity in combos as well, like spinning and jumping kicks.


Origins of Karate and Taekwondo

is taekwondo the same as karate

When you think about which martial arts classes you want to take, 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. Karate, made famous by Mr. Miayagi 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 using hand-to-hand combat to protect themselves instead of weapons, and karate was born- hand-to-hand fighting. Taekwondo goes back quite a bit 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. Fun fact, when Japan overtook Korea in the 1900s, the Japanese actually banned taekwondo. Japanese renegades practiced the martial arts form in secret, and it’s thanks to them that we can still practice taekwondo today.

Different Techniques Used

is taekwondo better than karate

So 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 weapons of any kind. Karate emphasizes mental strength and stamina, then, 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 as a last resort. 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 your leg is the strongest (and longest!) weapon you have on your body. Kicks in this martial art are very powerful for striking your opponent. Students in taekwondo classes 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 use the length of your legs against your opponent.

Competing in Taekwondo and Karate

is karate and taekwondo the same

Is taekwondo the same as karate? Both karate and taekwondo 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 Brisbane enjoy the rewards of all their hard work being recognized at belt ranking and in competition. There is a difference between taekwondo and karate competition rules. Karate rules are a bit more complicated, while taekwondo rules are more 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 simpler. 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.


So honestly, both of these martial arts styles will transform your body and get you fit fast. They’ll both teach you self-defence skills that you can use to protect yourself and your loved ones. And they’ll both teach you to keep going no matter what, respect yourself and others, and gain confidence like never before. Is karate and taekwondo the same? Honestly, the best one for self-defence is the one you take the initiative to do. Doing nothing will result in nothing! So come and try martial arts with our Focus Martial Arts staff here in Brisbane for yourself- you’ll love it!


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