Differences Between Karate vs Taekwondo

Last Updated on March 19, 2022 by QCity Editorial Stuff

Karate and Taekwondo are two different martial arts that originate from the same country. Karate is a Japanese martial art, while Taekwondo is Korean. There are many differences between these two martial arts, including what they teach in their classes, how much you should be practicing, and even their uniforms! “Karate emphasizes more on high kicks or punches which can cause serious damage to an opponent.” While “Taekwondo incorporates kicks with hand strikes to create fast-paced combos”. The uniform for both schools of thought differs because the colors of the belt signify where your rank level is in karate whereas in taekwondo it’s just one color throughout all ranks.

One of the most popular martial arts is karate, but what exactly is it? Karate was developed in Okinawa. The style concentrates on using punching and kicking techniques to quickly incapacitate an opponent. A more modern form of art is taekwondo, which has its roots in Korea. Taekwondo’s primary focus is on kicks for self-defense purposes while also teaching how to fight with weapons like knives or sticks. One of the differences between these two forms of martial arts is their stances; karate tends to be more upright while taekwondo uses a lower stance that provides greater stability when executing powerful spinning kicks. Karate practitioners will often use open hand strikes while taekwondo often emphasizes closed fist punches.

Comparison between Karate and Taekwondo

Parameters of ComparisonKarateTaekwondo
SystemKarate is a traditional martial art originating in Okinawa, Japan.  Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and Olympic sport.  
Usepunches and kicksopen-handed strikes and kicks
Beltbelts are the highest rank for karatebelts are the highest rank for taekwondo
SparringThere’s no sparring in karatethere is sparring in taekwondo
FocusThe focus of Karate is on self-defense and hand-to-hand combatthe focus of Taekwondo is on kicks and jumping techniques

What is Karate?

Karate is a martial art that originated in Japan. It is characterized by its focus on hand-to-hand combat and using one’s fists and feet. Karate is often practiced as a form of self-defense, but it can also be used for physical fitness and competition. There are different styles of karate, each with its techniques and benefits. If you’re interested in learning more about karate, keep reading.

The word “karate” means “empty hand” and refers to the weapons-free martial art practiced by over 100 million people around the world today. Martial arts are about much more than just fighting, they can teach important life lessons too. Karate classes can help children build confidence, learn self-discipline, and be better citizens in the future.

Karate is a traditional Japanese martial art that teaches you how to defend yourself with your hands or feet without any weapons. It also helps kids develop discipline and concentration skills for schoolwork; it’s not all about karate chops.

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What is Taekwondo?

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that uses kicks, punches, and arm-throws in its self-defense techniques. It was developed during the 15th century in Korea under the direction of Buddhist monks who wanted to create a form of hand-to-hand combat that would be suitable for use by both men and women. Taekwondo teaches students how to defend themselves from an attack while still maintaining their dignity and teaching them how to avoid violence when possible. 

Taekwondo is a sport where practitioners can compete against each other or in teams in tournaments around the world. There are over 60 different styles of taekwondo recognized by various associations around the world with some being more popular than others depending on location.

It has five main tenets: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit. Taekwondo was created by General Choi Hong Hi in 1954 to promote world peace through martial arts. The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) governs international competitions and Olympic sparring competitions with 188 member countries across the globe. 

The first taekwondo Poomsae (patterns or forms) were established in 1959 as a way to teach taekwondo systematically by concentrating on basic techniques of blocks, kicks, and strikes from different angles according to patterns which are called hyeong or il Jang.

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10 Differences Between Karate and Taekwondo

1. Karate is a traditional martial art originating in Okinawa, Japan.

2. Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and Olympic sport.

3. Karate uses punches and kicks while Taekwondo employs open-handed strikes and kicks.

4. The belt ranking system is different for each discipline – white belts are the highest rank for karate while brown belts are the highest rank for taekwondo.

5. In Karate, students learn to block with their forearms rather than punching or kicking like in taekwondo.

6. There’s no sparring in karate but there is sparring in taekwondo.

7. The focus of Karate is on self-defense and hand-to-hand combat, while the focus of Taekwondo is on kicks and jumping techniques.

8. Karate uses a lot of open hand strikes to disable opponents, but Taekwondo does not use these types of attacks.

9. To advance in rank in karate you need to compete against other students or instructors whereas advancement for taekwondo only requires demonstration of skills.

10. There are 10 belt levels for karate, with 1 being white and 10 being black; whereas there are 8 belt levels for taekwondo with 1 being white and 8 being brown (black).

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Karate

1. Karate is the second-most popular sport in Japan.

2. The word ‘karate’ means empty hand.

3. In America, karate is a martial art and self-defense system that emphasizes punching, kicking, blocking, and throwing an opponent. 

4. The U.S., China, Russia, and Germany all have national karate associations.

5. Karate was introduced to Europe by Japanese teachers after World War II.

6. There are more than 200 styles of karate throughout the world today.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Taekwondo

1. Taekwondo originated in Korea.

2. The word “Taekwondo” means “the way of the hand and foot”.

3. In 1957, taekwondo was introduced to Japan by a Korean martial arts instructor.

4. There are more than 80 million people practicing taekwondo worldwide today.

5. Taekwondo is one of the most popular sports in the world.

6. Taekwon-Do is a type of taekwondo practiced in America since 1965.


The differences between karate and taekwondo are numerous. Karate is a Japanese martial art that originated in Okinawa, Japan while Taekwondo was developed by Korean scholars during the 1940s as an amalgamation of various fighting styles to create one unique system. Karate focuses on striking with hand strikes or kicks, whereas Taekwondo also includes throws and grappling techniques. For those interested in learning about the history behind each style before deciding which they want to study more closely, this post can help you make your decision

Karate and Taekwondo are both martial arts disciplines that focus on self-defense. However, the two styles of fighting vary in many ways. The first difference is training methodology. Training for karate includes rigorous physical conditioning exercises to strengthen muscles and improve stamina while taekwondo does not necessarily require as much time spent building muscle strength or endurance because it relies more heavily on kicks than punches. Another key distinction between these two disciplines is their respective stances; taekwondo practitioners stand with one leg forward and the other behind them whereas karate fighters use a style that has both feet together facing sideways towards an opponent. Finally, each discipline’s stance also affects how they attack their opponents; fighters from this program launch frontal assaults with punches and kicks, while those in the taekwondo system utilize circular techniques that target the opponent’s vulnerable areas.


Resource 01: https://www.karate.com/
Resource 02: https://www.teamusa.org/usa-taekwondo/v2-getting-started-in-taekwondo/what-is-taekwondo

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