Are you having trouble choosing between Karate and Taekwondo? Here is the help you need right now.

How is Karate different from Taekwondo?

Translating to empty hands, Karate is a form of martial art (originated in Japan) that uses more of an individual's arm action. At the same time, Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that emphasizes more on kicking power. The term Taekwondo translates to the "art of feet and fist." 

Both the forms of martial arts differ quite a bit in their respective forms, stances, movements, and more. In case you wish to learn more, make sure to follow along.

What is Karate?

Karate
Karate

Karate is a form of Japanese martial art whose main purpose is to let an individual develop the defensive skills of using body parts for countering attacks. The word Karate is obtained from the combination of two words, namely kanji and te. Kanji means empty, while te, refers to hands. Combining we've Karate signifying "empty hand." Usually, there are four main styles of Karate. These are Shotokan, Wado-ryu, Goju-ryu, and Shito-ryu.

What is Taekwondo?

taekwendo
Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a martial art form originated in Korea which holds on to both systematic and scientific traditions. The main purpose is to teach individuals more than just fighting skills. In other words, with Taekwondo, you're looking at a martial art that helps you bring in the practice of self-defense just with hands and feet. It is a great way to foster the right mental state while applying various punching and kicking techniques. To break down the literal meaning for Taekwondo,  we've "kicking," "punching," and "the art or way" or "discipline." 

Differences Between Karate and Taekwondo

Meaning

The word Karate stands for "empty hands". The primary purpose of this name is to depict a situation when an individual needs to use his or her bare hands in self-defense. In other words, the term Karate stands for the effective use of an unarmed body against attacks.

The term "Tae" in the word Taekwondo means "action with foot," Kwon signifies "striking with hands," and "Do" stands for "Path,” “Way,” or “Discipline.”

Origin

Karate originated in Okinawa, Japan. On the other hand, Korea is the country of origin for Taekwondo.

Other Terms

Karate is also known as Karate-Do. Taekwondo is also popular as Taekwon-Do, Tae Kwon-Do, and Tae Kwon Do.

Title for the Instructor

One who instructs Karate is usually titled Sensei, while for Taekwondo it is Sa Bum Nim.

Clothing Style

An individual's attire during Taekwondo is usually something which is known as "Dobok," or "Tobo". Clothing in Karate is entirely different. It consists of a Gi with patches and a cotton belt whose color varies according to the skill level. 

karate clothing
Example of Karate clothing

Bowing Style

In Karate or Taekwondo, bowing follows a particular pattern. For the former, arms need to be straight against the torso with hands just below the waist. Once in that position, you'll have to execute the bow by bending your torso while maintaining eye contact with the opponent. The latter is comparatively straightforward, and it just needs your hands or arms joined together.

Name of the Form

The pre-defined form or sequences in Karate is termed "kata," and in Taekwondo, the same is popular as "poomsae."

Prime Movements/Techniques

When we talk about the prime features/movements in Karate, there are quite a few. To name them, we've strong punches, takedowns, blocks, and more. Taekwondo, on the contrary, emphasizes mostly on effective kicking.

Main Focus

Karate has more focus on strength, power, alongside form and stances. On the other hand, Taekwondo focuses a little bit more on speed, flexibility, and mobility.

Target Selection

In Karate, you'll learn to strike a specific section of your opponent's body with distinct techniques. Taekwondo deals more with hitting at areas, not particular targets in general. 

Backup

In Karate, an individual generally uses the strength of his/her legs to come up with kicks as the backup movement. Taekwondo uses the hand in a similar situation.

Comparison Chart: Karate Vs Taekwondo

ParametersKarateTaekwondo
MeaningEmpty handsFoot+Fist+Discipline
OriginOkinawa, JapanKorea
Also Known AsKarate-DoTaekwon-Do, Tae Kwon-Do, and Tae Kwon Do.
Instructor's TitleSenseiSa Bum Nim
Clothing StyleGi with patches and a cotton beltDobok
Bowing StyleArms straight, bending the torso while maintaining eye contact with the competitor.Joining hands or arms
FormKattaPoomsae
Features/MovementsStrong punches, takedowns, blocksKicking
FocusStrength, power, stancesSpeed, flexibility, mobility
Target SelectionSpecificArea in general
BackupLegsHands

Similarities: How Karate is similar to Taekwondo

Although both Karate and Taekwondo are different from each other in origin, form, clothing, movements, and more, there are quite a few factors that make them reside under the same roof. 

Prime Goal

Karate and Taekwondo are both martial art forms with body movements that are meant to offer self-defense services.

Moral Value

No matter if you choose Karate or Taekwondo, both will help you inculcate patience and discipline.

Workout Impact

Practicing the forms of Karate and Taekwondo acts as a workout that targets the entire body.

Grading System

If you decide to learn either of the two, be ready to get familiar with the popular belt upgrading system.

Frequently Asked Questions

🤷‍♂️ Which is better: Karate Vs Taekwondo?

Both Karate and Taekwondo offer a great workout to eventually help acquire appropriate self-defense techniques. However, the overall approach is pretty different. Once you're aware of those factors, choosing the one that fits perfectly for you will be an easy task.

😓 Which is harder: Karate Vs Taekwondo?

The answer to this question depends upon the physical state you're in. As already mentioned, Taekwondo is a practice that involves more kicking, which means it emphasizes the strength of your legs; Karate, on the other hand, uses more hand attacks. There is no fix parameter to state which form is harder, Karate or Taekwondo.

Conclusion

Practicing Karate and Taekwondo is a great way to tone up your entire body and prepare for building strong self-defense. Although the ultimate goal is pretty similar, the approaches are significantly different. This leads to a challenging situation when one tries to set them apart.

In this article, we've tried to mitigate that once for all. From stances to clothing, from the bowing style to the prime focus, we’ve listed every element that distinguishes Karate from Taekwondo.

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