Karate Vs Taekwondo – Which Martial Art?

Even in modern times, the contrasts between the many different types of martial arts continue to mystify a great number of individuals. The ongoing argument between Karate and Taekwondo is a good illustration of this point. There is a sizeable population that is under the false impression that these two classifications refer to the same thing. It is time to throw some light on the subject at hand and provide some clarity on the parallels and dissimilarities between the two.

Karate vs Taekwondo: The Differences

History and Origin

Both Karate and Taekwondo may trace their roots back to Asia, where they were developed as martial arts. Karate was developed in Japan around two thousand years ago, and its originators were Buddhist monks who had travelled to Japan at that time (in the Ryukyu Islands, now known as Okinawa). The term “Karate” literally translates to “empty hands,” and this is reflected in the martial art’s combat and self-defense system, which places a significant emphasis on making effective use of a fighter’s unarmed body. This concept is brought to life via the name of the art itself.

Taekwondo, on the other hand, can trace its origins back to the land of Korea, roughly at the same time period when the martial art of karate was created for the first time. The three kingdoms that ruled over Korea at the period, Silla, Baekje, and Goguryeo, each brought their own unique cultural elements to the table, which eventually led to the development of Taekwondo as we know it today. The use of one’s feet in a destructive manner is what the term “Tae” refers to. The term “kwon” refers to the action of hitting or slamming something with one’s fists. “Do” refers to the action or course of action. The phrase “the method of the foot and the fist” is how Taekwondo, also known as Tae Kwon Do, translates when put together. Since its inception, Taekwondo has seen a number of changes to its technique, which has helped pave the way for the development of a more advanced and methodical martial art.

Movement and Power

Karate utilizes different body parts to strike an opponent during combat. These methodical patterns of attack include the use of hands, elbows, feet, and knees. The unique thing about Karate is that every single motion is predetermined, as in a series of steps of a dance. Each move flows through space using angular and repetitive movements. Open-handed movements are common in Karate, executed through punches, kicks, elbows, and knees. The striking is sharp, crisp, and linear at the same time. To an audience, the execution may seem like a well-rehearsed routine because of the precision is shown. In trying to disarm or counter the attacks of the opponent, blocking techniques such as parries and takedowns are usually manifested by Karate fighters.

While Taekwondo also focuses on striking movements, the technique calls  for a certain degree of priority in being able to kick the opponent’s head whenever the opportunity presents itself. Taekwondo fighters make use of both power and torque that can be generated from the lower body, as this is significantly stronger than the power that can be generated by the upper body. In doing so, relative stability must be maintained. Like Karate, takedowns and parries are also utilized, although a greater focus is given to the execution of effective kicks against the opponent.

In comparing Karate vs Taekwondo, the latter has fewer restrictions in terms of traditional and calculated movements and makes up for this using naturally occurring reactions and reflexes in response to the opponent’s move or to a certain situation.

Olympic Sports

To this day, Karate has not been recognized as an official sport in the Olympics. Taekwondo, on the other hand, has been ever since the year 1988 where the games were hosted by its country of origin – in Seoul, South Korea.

Karate vs Taekwondo: The Similarities

Although the difference between the two fighting styles is now cleared, we cannot put aside the similarities between the two (which have been the cause of confusion in many people over the years).

Proper Clothing

Both Karate and Taekwondo fighters and trainees are required to put on the accepted fighting clothing. In Karate, a Japanese Karate gi is necessary, while in Taekwondo, participants are expected to wear their respective uniforms.

Self Defense

These two martial arts are both designed as a means for someone to defend himself/herself in the absence of weapons. Both arts utilize nothing more than the natural power and striking facets that are innate in the human mind and body. These have been improved and honed over many decades and centuries to become the fighting styles as we know them today.

Which Martial Art is Better?

After knowing the similarities and differences, which martial art wins in the battle of Karate vs Taekwondo?

Each of these two martial arts makes use of its own set of principles and guidelines that make it unique from the others. No one martial art is more dominant than the other. For a person to know which one is right for him/her, actual experience coupled with consideration of the core values and principles of the art will help make the choice a whole lot clearer.

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