Taekwondo vs Karate: Which is Better and Why?

Taekwondo vs Karate

Taekwondo vs Karate, a classic debate. Most 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 debate and go over the differences between Karate and Taekwondo to empower you to make your own decision on which is better for you!


The Difference Between Taekwondo vs Karate

adult Karate classThe most basic difference in Taekwondo vs Karate is between your hands and your feet, punching vs kicking. Think of the shuto uchi, or the famous “karate chop” you’ve seen in movies. Karate uses hand techniques primarily, and then kicking as a backup. Taekwondo is the exact opposite. It emphasizes kicking and uses hand moves as the backup. Taekwondo has more variety in the moves you can learn, including spinning and jumping kicks. These are very different from our adult American Jiu-Jitsu classes.


Origins of Taekwondo vs Karate

Taekwondo vs KarateWhen you’re thinking about which one you want to study, it can be helpful to consider the origin. Karate started later but became a pop culture phenomenon, while Taekwondo has been established for thousands of years. Even though Mr. Miyagi made Karate famous in our pop culture, it has its roots 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 warriors started fighting with their hands instead of weapons to protect themselves, and karate was born, aka hand-to-hand fighting. Taekwondo goes back quite a bit 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 whole body, known as the art of the foot and hand. Interestingly, when Japan took over Korea in the 1900’s, the Japanese declared Taekwondo illegal. Japanese rebels practiced the martial arts form in secret, and they’re the ones who kept taekwondo alive to this day. So, is Taekwondo better than Karate?


Different Techniques Used

Taekwondo vs KarateWhat 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, pointing to the fact that it’s a martial arts form relying heavily on the use of your hands without any weapons. Karate emphasizes mental strength and stamina, then, because one of your only forms of protection when practicing is your mind.

You’ll learn lots of hand techniques and combinations while keeping kicks on deck as a last resort. It’s perfect for when you’re close to an opponent and need that hand-to-hand combat advantage. Alternatively, Taekwondo emphasizes the legs, chiefly because the leg is the longest and strongest weapon on the body. Kicks in Taekwondo are very powerful for striking your opponent. You’ll learn spin kicks and several different kicking combinations while using hand techniques when necessary. Taekwondo has more effectiveness at a distance because you can utilize the length of your legs against your opponent. Now, is Taekwondo the same as Karate?


Competing in Taekwondo and Karate

Teens martial arts classesBoth Karate and Taekwondo are not only practical and effective martial arts forms, but they also provide opportunities for competition and advancement that can 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 Boise 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. A Karate student can strike to 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, however, is a bit more straightforward. 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 teach you to keep going no matter what, respect yourself and others, and gain confidence like never before. So, is Karate and Taekwondo the same? Well, 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 American Jiu-Jitsu classes with our Egley Train staff here in Boise for yourself. You’ll love it!


About our programs

Kids American Jiu Jitsu
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Boise Kids American Jiu Jitsu classes are the perfect blend of self-defense and FUN! Our American Jiu Jitsu instructors teach your child how to protect themselves while they learn coordination, focus, discipline, confidence, and perseverance.


Adult American Jiu Jitsu
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Our Boise Adult American Jiu Jitsu classes are no joke! If you're ready to ramp up your fitness like never before, learn real-world self defense skills and make new friends while you learn BJJ, this is the program for you!


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Boise Women's American Jiu Jitsu training with our studio will help you get fit and learn how to protect yourself, even from opponents who are bigger and stronger than you. Grab a friend for this fun, informative training!


Muay Thai
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Fitness and self defense, two major goals for anyone looking for Muay Thai Training in Boise . It's time to change up your work out and get the results you've been looking for.


6 Week Beginner Course
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Our experienced instructors will guide you through each step of the learning process, ensuring that you develop a solid understanding of the techniques and their applications. You will also have the opportunity to practice these techniques in a safe and controlled environment, allowing you to build confidence in your abilities.


6 Week Body Transformation Challenge
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The challenge is not just about physical transformation; it's also about building mental resilience and adopting a positive mindset towards fitness and health. You'll have access to a supportive community of participants who are on the same journey as you, as well as expert trainers who will motivate and encourage you every step of the way.