How to decide which one is right for you - Taekwondo or Karate?

Taekwondo or Karate
Aug 01 2015

How to decide which one is right for you – Taekwondo or Karate?

What’s the difference between Taekwondo and Karate?

Whenever someone is considering beginning martial arts classes, they often ask us, “How are tae kwon do and karate different?” Or, “Which is better?”

To answer this, we’ll start by saying that both are excellent forms of martial arts training, with each offering numerous benefits.

The core principles of both Taekwondo (or Tae Kwon Do) and Karate stress self-discipline and a high code of personal conduct. Both have a sport competition aspect, however this makes up only part of the entire curriculum.

So, how are they different?

  • Taekwondo emphasizes kicking techniques, while Karate focuses on hand strikes.
  • Taekwondo = Korea.
    Karate = Okinawa, Japan (with roots from hand fighting in China).
  • Prearranged sequences of techniques, generally known as forms, are referred to as poomsae in Taekwondo, and kata in Karate
  • Tae Kwon Do is an Olympic sport.
  • The specific postures, stances, and movements differ significantly between Taekwondo and Karate.

It should be noted that although taekwondo (also known as tae kwon do) tends to favor fast kicking, taekwondo training is well-rounded and involves learning blocks, punches, open-handed strikes, take-downs, throws, and joint locks.

Conversely, while karate is known for hand techniques, it frequently includes knee and elbow strikes, and does use kicking techniques to a certain extent.


Here’s the side by side comparison:

omparison between Taekwondo and Karate:




Short descriptions

Taekwondo is a form of a Korean martial art and a combat sport.

Karate is a form of unarmed Japanese martial art developed from fighting methods.

Origin Korea Japan

Also known as

Taekwon-Do, Tae Kwon-Do, Tae Kwon Do



It is kicking art, and consists of techniques like punching and blocking with parries and takedowns.

It is a striking art, with punching, kicking, knee/elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques. Along with the various blocking techniques like parries; and takedowns.

Nature of moves and attacks

The movements are hard, strong and  graceful

The movements are crisp and linear.

Instructors are called as

Sa bum nim



Its main feature of Taekwondo is effective kicking. It is one of the faster martial arts.

Its main features are strong punches kicks, takedowns, and blocks and are as fast as Taekwondo.

Clothing and Uniforms

Dobok or Tobo

Gi with patches, which represents the style of the students or school (dojo) they practice in, Barefooted, and colored cotton belt (depending on their skill level.

Bows are

The bows are done with hands together or arms together.

The bows are done by arms straight against the torso, hands just below the waist, and the bow executed by bending the torso down while keeping the eyes on the opponent.

Olympic participation It is one of the Olympic events.

It is not an Olympic event.

  • Stances
  • Hand Techniques
  • Foot Techniques
  • Arm Techniques
  • Foot Techniques
  • Foot Movements
  • Stances
  • Blocking Techniques

Associations and federations

  • World Taekwondo Federation (WTF)
  • International Taekwondo Federation (ITF)
  • Karate Federation
  • International Karate Assoc.
  • WKF World Karate Federation

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