Difference Between Karate and Taekwondo

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Karate and Taekwondo are martial arts.

There is a large selection when it comes to martial arts such as karate and taekwondo. These two martial art forms are often confused since they both incorporate kicking and hand techniques. Here are some qualities that differentiate karate and taekwondo.


Karate is a Japanese martial art form that places more focus on striking arts, particularly hand strikes. It originated from the Ryukyu Islands (now Okinawa) but was mainly influenced by Chinese kung fu. Karate is composed of punching, palm and hand strikes, knee and elbow strikes, as well as kicking. It also incorporates other methods like grappling, restraint, throwing, knife-hands, and vital-point strikes. A practitioner of karate is called a karateka.


Taekwondo is a Korean martial art form that places emphasis on kicking. It is one of the faster martial art forms. Taekwondo is composed of head-height kicks, spinning kicks, jumping kicks, and fast kicking techniques, but is not limited to such. It also teaches techniques like blocking, parries, punches, takedowns and throws. Taekwondo practitioners are generally referred to as taekwondo-in.

Karate Taekwondo
Definition A Japanese martial art focused on powerful, unarmed strikes A Korean martial art centered on kicks; one of the faster martial arts
Origin Ryukyu Islands, now Okinawa, Japan Korea
History Karate started in Japan when trade relationships were made with the Ming Dynasty and brought Chinese populations into Japan. Kung Fu, particularly the Fujian White Crane style, eventually influenced the Japanese and evolved into karate Taekwondo began as separate styles, when those versed in Chinese, Korean and Japanese martial arts began opening schools called Kwan in Korea. The teachings were eventually merged into taekwondo after the urging of South Korean President Syngman Rhee
Techniques Punching, hand strikes, palm strikes, knee strikes, elbow strikes, grappling, kicking, vital-point strikes, knife-hand strikes, throwing, restraint, and many others Head-height kicks, spinning kicks, jumping kicks, fast kicking techniques, punching, parrying, throwing, takedowns
Major Organizations World Karate Federation, Japan Karate Federation, USA National Karate-Do Organization, International Karate Association, Kenkojuku Karate Association World Taekwondo Federation, International Taekwondo Federation
Olympics No Yes
Instructor Sensei Sa bum nim

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