karate/ taekwondo differences

A

athenry

Guest
Hi all

I'm thinking about taking up martial arts and was wondering if anyone could help. There are two schools near me - karate and taekwondo. I know that the quality of the teaching is obviously a factor, but I'd like to know more about the differences between the two styles. Could anyone help by outlining them?


Many thanks.
 
That's a bit vague. What style of Karate? For that matter, what kind of TKD is it? (ITF, WTF, ATA etc?)
 
Sorry, I should have been a bit more specific. I meant ITF taekwondo verus shotokan karate.
 
Originally posted by athenry

I meant ITF taekwondo verus shotokan karate.

Historically, they're very closely related, with TKD strongly influenced by Shotokan. Karate doesn't have the high kicks however and usually has less of an emphasis on sport aspects than TKD. Karate emphasizes punching more than kicking, TKD usually the other way around or at least nearer to 50-50. Usually you get some weapons training in karate but not always in TKD.
 
you would probably gain more flexibility in tkd, or at least faster. and the intensity of the workout will probably depend on the instructor's attitude, i would guess.
 
by the way, i think shotokan is pretty neat!!!
 
I'm guessing that shotokan might be more effective from a defence point of view, given than TKD might be limited if somebody gets in close. Would that be a fair comment?
 
Originally posted by athenry
I'm guessing that shotokan might be more effective from a defence point of view, given than TKD might be limited if somebody gets in close. Would that be a fair comment?

You'll get different answers from different people, and of course it depends very much on the instructor and possibly the subsystem--I knew of a TKD instructor who mixed in some boxing who taught a very effective system. However, as a rule I'd agree. The TKD emphasis on kicking as opposed to the Shotokan emphasis on hand techniques means that the latter is more practical for the types of stiuations you'd be likely to be in, including the types of clothes you're apt to be wearing. Personally, I like Okinawan Karate even better for self-defense.

You might also ask in the Tae Kwon Do forum!
 
Like others here I would advise that you look more at the teacher than the style.
Each combat system (if taught by a qualified person) will have strong and weak points. These may change according to your own body build, attitude and abilities etc.
Before you start training it might be a good idea to think long and hard about just what it is you want from the training, and what you (as a person) can bring to it. When people come to the MA's with the attitude of "What can karate/teakwondo/judo etc give me?" I think they miss the point somewhat. Martial arts can give you nothing you don't already have. What they can do is coax mental and physical attributes from deep inside you to the surface.

I should add that this will only happen if you find a good teacher, and then train for a long time (years not months). If you're still around in ten or fifiteen years, you'll have something of great value (regardless of the art). If you want instant ability you won't find it at a legit school. If you want to be at one with the universe or be able to stop any attacker you might meet, go live deep in the forrest, or buy a gun.

Forget rank, it has little meaning thanks to the majority of those already in the martial arts today.

Good luck with your quest.

Mike.
 
i think u should better go out for instructor rather than a styles... a good instructor can teach u no matter how bad/good u r
i think Mr. Mike Clarke summed up it good...
-TkdWarrior-
 
It depends if your after competition or self defence. If it's self defence your after then your best bet is Karate. Because you might be only lucky enough to find Tkd instructor who concentrates self defence, where as in Karate it's usually compulsory. If it's competition your after then take your pick.

Best Regards
 
Forgive me for saying this. But It is absurd to suggest that KT is better suited for self-defence vs TKD, or the other way around. IT is totally a function of how you train and condition yourself. Kicks are as devastating as they come. If you can't deliver lethal kicks, the fault lies in your conditioning, not in TKD or any art for that matter. It is also possible that the particular instructor or school, fails to instruct the students properly. Nevertheless, it is incorrect to blame the art.

For the sake of argument, when someone closes in, you can still kick the shin, the knees, and/or knee the attacker's groin, lower abdomen etc. And to imply that TKD does not punch, chop, elbow, is absurd.

And also, please forgive me for disagreeing with the conventional wisdom that it takes you years to be effective in self-defence. That is simply not true. I am sorry if I offend any one. If what you are learning, fail to equip you with the basic skills to defend yourself, there is something wrong. Granted, it might take years to master a Martial Art. I don't dispute that. But self-defence is different.

Self-defence is almost never a drawn out duel between 2 professional fighters. It is almost always a sudden full blast of violence. The one that lands the first effective strike that opens up for a followup KO, wins. Self-defence is not sparring.
 
Have to agree with you there Kenneth,

If you get hit with a technique that puts you down or stops you, it's pretty academic what style the guy learnt to hit from, or even if they have had any formal training at all?
It's true, a martial art is one thing, street defense is something else. This is why I suggest people have some understanding as to what it is they want from training before they spend years doing something that may not deliver the things they were looking for?

Comparing style against style is silly I think. It's like saying my car is better than yours. Finding a training system that gives you what you want is the best way to go (in my opinion).
The trick is to know what you want and what your doing and finding someone who is the 'real' thing (by that I mean someone properly qualifide to teach you the things you think you're learning).

Of course those out their trying to make a living and pay the bills from their instruction (many of them anyway), may find a little bit of bais advertising will get more people through their door than the school down the road. but thats not martial arts, thats bull dust.

Mike.
 
KennethKu, great post - thanks for saving me the time:asian:
 
I'm going to outline my percieved similarities, differences, opinions, pros and cons of each. As most people say, TKD is strongly influenced by shotokan karate. I've found karate usually gives at least half of it's class time to warming up, working out and stretching. I know it varies from place to place but the pattern I've observed is that most TKD schools do much more leg stretching (splits, hip rolls etc.) wheras in karate they do more stress stances and push-up/sit-up style exercises, and TKD seems to do half as long of a warm-up (just my own observaion, fellas). I found TKD to be much more fun. You get to free spar a lot earlier, usually than in karate where it progressively becomes one-step, two-step, three-step and finally free sparring. I don't find either of the sparring to be nearly as helpful for learning self-defense as full contact. I think karate is less fun because of the seriousness involved, but I find I get more out of it. TKD is more than just fun too. I think the sport aspect is capable of having a detrimental effect, both to the interpretation of what you're learning and to the outward appearance of the art to others. There isn't a lot of significant difference of technique, IMO. They are both (primarily) linear, have self-defense potential, sport aspects and so called "soke" to watch out for. I suggest learning the basics of karate for a few months first and then try TKD and see if you like it better. Try asking the instructors about each other's arts. A good master will usually be more inclined to talk differences than superiorities and will use these differences rather than percieved superiorities to
 
Assuming you've observed the schools and deem them both to be good (adequate warm-ups, correcting the students, emphasis on finess and hard work), I'd reccommend taking karate for a few months, learn the basic blocks, stances, kicks, strikes and punches, maybe earn your yellow belt. Then switch to TKD and see if you like it. While you're still a beginner in karate, you'll also learn the basic blocks, punches, kicks, strikes and stances in TKD. Maybe earn your yellow belt in TKD as well. Keep in mind that TKD kicks more. I also don't remember TKD being as strict on their stances. Karate may often seem more boring but you have to consider what it does for you, who you like better as an instructor and why you are taking the martial art. I would consider as a general rule that karate holds self-defense to be of paramount concern when training. TKD almost always has some kind of tourney/competition agenda, though whether this is detrimental to the self-defense aspect depends on how the training is done. Often, though not a correct impression of a self defence situation, tournament practitioners often train very hard and can often be more fit. Your fitness level is the primary factor that can definitely improve your chances of ddefending yourself successfully. Remember that it's what you put into it and the quality of instruction that matter more than anything. Good luck with your endeavor.
 
I'm going to outline my percieved similarities, differences, opinions, pros and cons of each. As most people say, TKD is strongly influenced by shotokan karate. I've found karate usually gives at least half of it's class time to warming up, working out and stretching. I know it varies from place to place but the pattern I've observed is that most TKD schools do much more leg stretching (splits, hip rolls etc.) wheras in karate they do more stress stances and push-up/sit-up style exercises, and TKD seems to do half as long of a warm-up (just my own observaion, fellas). I found TKD to be much more fun. You get to free spar a lot earlier, usually than in karate where it progressively becomes one-step, two-step, three-step and finally free sparring. I don't find either of the sparring to be nearly as helpful for learning self-defense as full contact. I think karate is less fun because of the seriousness involved, but I find I get more out of it. TKD is more than just fun too. I think the sport aspect is capable of having a detrimental effect, both to the interpretation of what you're learning and to the outward appearance of the art to others. There isn't a lot of significant difference of technique, IMO. They are both (primarily) linear, have self-defense potential, sport aspects and so called "soke" to watch out for. I suggest learning the basics of karate for a few months first and then try TKD and see if you like it better. Try asking the instructors about each other's arts. A good master will usually be more inclined to talk differences than superiorities and will use these differences rather than percieved superiorities to

Assuming you've observed the schools and deem them both to be good (adequate warm-ups, correcting the students, emphasis on finess and hard work), I'd reccommend taking karate for a few months, learn the basic blocks, stances, kicks, strikes and punches, maybe earn your yellow belt. Then switch to TKD and see if you like it. While you're still a beginner in karate, you'll also learn the basic blocks, punches, kicks, strikes and stances in TKD. Maybe earn your yellow belt in TKD as well. Keep in mind that TKD kicks more. I also don't remember TKD being as strict on their stances. Karate may often seem more boring but you have to consider what it does for you, who you like better as an instructor and why you are taking the martial art. I would consider as a general rule that karate holds self-defense to be of paramount concern when training. TKD almost always has some kind of tourney/competition agenda, though whether this is detrimental to the self-defense aspect depends on how the training is done. Often, though not a correct impression of a self defence situation, tournament practitioners often train very hard and can often be more fit. Your fitness level is the primary factor that can definitely improve your chances of ddefending yourself successfully. Remember that it's what you put into it and the quality of instruction that matter more than anything. Good luck with your endeavor.

Many aren't. But there are some of us out there who still are very strict about good form in formal stances.

I gotta say, you guys impress the hell out of me. So much excellent well-informed common sense in three posts... it's outrageous! Yes, definitely TKD and Shotokan karate are brother arts, maybe even fraternal twins. And yes, while some schools emphasize kicking techs, a lot of schools have yout train those techs as part of a total self-defense approach in which hand techs play the primary role and low- or mid-level kicks, targeting particular weak point below the waist, or the floating ribs at the highest, are brought in as finishing moves once the assailant is secured using various traps and locks that are evident throughout the hyungs as setups for the final, disabling strike. Make no mistake, TKD is built around not only the same technical toolkit but the same strategic agenda as karate: the intention is, every move either sets up the finish or is itself the finish.

Sure, kicking practice is emphasized, but that doesn't mean that kicking is more important thanor even as important ashand techs. The idea in TKD practice is that kicking is harder than hand techniques, because of balance issues and kin疆sthetic issuesit's harder to balance with one leg off the ground and rapidly moving toward a target, and it's also harder for most of us to control the force/angle/impact surface of a kick, because we use kicks much less in ordinary life than we do hand/arm movements which have martial content. So kicking requires more practice. But if you look at TKD hyungs, as Simon O'Neil emphasizes tirelessly, you'll find that there are usually four or five times as many hand techs as leg techs.

Think of TKD as the Korean flowering of Shotokan karate and you won't be far off the mark at all. And yes, as zD points out, TKDers can be just as finicky and stylistically strict as the stricted Shotokan style dictator. My own sabunim is like that. Our stances are low, low low, and our transitions have to be quick, quick, quick... I'm not sure how we manage to do it!
 
I think stance is extremely important and feel that any good instructor from any art will be riding your back about it. TKD also taught me another way to look at breathing, to breath hard but only let a little out. Stopping the air like that compresses the internal organs creating "steam power". The concept can be taken universally but it was never explained to me like that until I tried TKD. Our TKD instructor occasionally swung at you with focus mits to keep you on your toes when practicing on them. Another place I took TKD at bounced when they stretched (very bad) and did a fifteen minute warm-up, even though there were some old-timers in the class. I'm 24 and that wasn't enough for me, so I'm pretty sure it wasn't enough for the people 2 and a half times my age. A good instructor will be hard but considerate to all students' needs.
 
A good instructor will be hard but considerate to all students' needs.

I agree. You know you have a great instructor when you feel like he or she has tailored the class just for you and everybody else does at the same time!
 
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