Taekwondo vs Karate: Which Martial Arts Style is Better?

Taekwondo vs Karate

Taekwondo vs Karate, a classic debate. A lot of people probably think they’re the same thing, but there are a few differences that will determine which is better for you and your self-defense goals. We’ll settle the scores 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 techniques primarily, and then kicking as a backup. Taekwondo is the exact opposite, emphasizing kicking and using hand moves as the backup. Taekwondo has more diversity in combos as well, like spinning and jumping kicks. So, is Taekwondo better than Karate? Both of these are very different from our adult BJJ classes.


Origins of Taekwondo vs Karate

Taekwondo vs KarateWhen you think about which martial arts classes you want to take, it can be helpful to consider the origin. Karate started later, but became a pop culture phenomenon, while taekwondo has been practiced for thousands of years. Karate, made most popular by Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid, was first practiced in Japan. It started around 500 years ago to, as the story goes, stop the use of weapons on the island of Okinawa to prevent war. Japanese soldiers 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 means defending yourself with your entire body, known as the art of the foot and hand. Interestingly, when Japan overtook Korea in the 1900’s, the Japanese declared taekwondo illegal. Japanese renegades practiced the martial arts form in secretand they’re the ones who kept Taekwondo alive to this day. Now, is Taekwondo the same as Karate?


Different Techniques Used

adult Karate classWhat is the difference between Taekwondo vs KarateIt’s the difference between the two halves of your body, hands and arms versus legs and 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 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. Students in Karate classes learn lots of hand techniques and combinations, while keeping kicks on deck as a last resort. It’s best for when you’re close to an opponent and need that hand-to-hand combat advantage.

Alternatively, 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 perfect if your opponent is at a distance because you can leverage the length of your legs against them.


Competing in Taekwondo and Karate

Taekwondo vs KarateBoth Karate and Taekwondo are not only practical and effective martial arts forms, they provide opportunities for competition and advancement that can truly push you to grow. They both require serious mental and physical strength and stamina just like other martial arts classes, which is why so many in Colonial Heights enjoy the rewards of all their hard work being recognized 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. In a Karate competition, you can strike the head, neck, face, chest, side, abdomen, and back. The Karate judges 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 competitor 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.

Honestly, both of these martial arts styles will transform your body and get you fit fast. They’ll both teach you self-defense skills that you can use to protect yourself and your loved ones. 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? 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 adult BJJ classes with our Tri-Cities Jiu-Jitsu Club staff here in Colonial Heights for yourself. You’ll love it!



Tri-Cities Jiu-Jitsu Club provides martial arts classes to Colonial Heights, Petersburg, Chester, Hopewell & South Chesterfield communities