Taekwondo and Karate are both martial arts that have been practiced for hundreds of years and while they have many similarities, they also have a number of distinct differences. Both provide an excellent full body aerobic workout resulting in increased strength, fitness and balance while at the same time building mental focus and resilience. Additionally, both Taekwondo and Karate teach discipline, patience and self defense which contributes to increased self confidence. In this article, we look at the fundamentals of both practices and the main differences between them.


The art of Taekwondo focuses mainly on using the feet for attacking an opponent with maximum speed and force. The emphasis is on fast kicks, jumping and spinning kicks and head height kicks.

For added speed and agility, many of the stances used in Taekwondo are narrower than those used in other martial arts. The focus on speed in the techniques used is based on the theory that the energy and force behind a strike is increased greatly with speed, resulting in a more powerful strike. Punches, holds and other hand moves are usually secondary to the fast and powerful kicking techniques.

Training in Taekwondo incorporates a number of basic practices involving both physical and mental discipline and strength

Taekwondo Basics

Some of the main practices at the foundation of the Taekwondo martial art are:

  • Fundamentals: these include learning the basic Taekwondo methods of kicks, punches, blocks and strikes
  • Self Defence: designed to equip students with the ability to defend themselves in an attack
  • Mental Strength: this includes discipline, respect, self confidence and the development of leadership skills
  • Forms: this is a series of stances and moves practiced in a flowing manner
  • Sparring: this involves sparring partners practicing the techniques they have learned in a safe environment. There are several different forms of sparring
  • Balance and Falling: A focus on balance and safe falling techniques
  • Breaking: this is the practice of using force to break materials including tiles, planks and ice
  • Relaxation: techniques including breath control and meditation


Karate is an ancient martial art developed in Japan. The practice is all about using the body as a weapon, especially the hands and feet, with the aim of inflicting the most damage to your opponent.

This martial art mainly uses punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes as fighting techniques. This art emphasises hard punches and uses kicking techniques as backup.

Training in Karate involves 4 basics

Karate basics

Karate basic practices include:

  1. Fundamentals: learn the karate way of punching, kicking and blocking
  2. Kata: this is similar to Taekwondo forms
  3. Techniques: learn to analyse every movement and develop appropriate applications during combat situations
  4. Sparring: Sparring with a partner to practice the methods that have been learned

Common features of Taekwondo and Karate

  • Taekwondo and karate both teach self defense
  • Both arts teach students mental skills such as patience, respect and discipline
  • These practices both offer a full-body workout, increasing strength and fitness

Learn more about the arts of Taekwondo and Karate and click here to book your trial classes at United Martial Arts.

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