Tae Kwon-Do vs. Karate


People ask me all the time, “What’s the difference between Tae Kwon-Do and Karate?” or “How is Tae Kwon-Do different from other martial arts?” Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer. Each martial art was developed from its own philosophy in its own native country. Karate originated in Japan whereas Tae Kwon-Do is Korean.

Fighting Styles and Techniques

Each martial art may also stress a certain fighting style or may concentrate on specific striking techniques. For some, Karate tends to focus more on hand strikes, while others feel Tae Kwon-Do emphasizes kicking techniques.

That’s why the biggest differences between various martial arts will be found in the instructor’s school and how the martial art is taught.

Some schools look at Tae Kwon-Do as a sport, such as a competition between two fighters where points are earned for landing accurate kicks and punches to specific body areas. For a time, I studied at an Olympic Tae Kwon-Do school. We did a lot of kicking drills and a whole bunch of mitt and pad work. We trained as athletes for our sport.

But when I started my school, I looked to my Isshinryu karate roots. For me, the Tae Kwon-Do martial art form is how it encompasses you, not only with realistic self-defense techniques that can protect you, but also how it helps guide your life. Tae Kwon-Do is a part of you and your being.

During a sporting competition, the environment is the same. There’s an opponent who wants to kick you in the head and you need to block it and countermove. In the real world, an attacker isn’t thinking about earning points. You actually don’t know what an attacker is thinking, and that’s why those situations can become dangerous.

Real World Tae Kwon-Do

I teach a real world Tae Kwon-Do. We run through many kicking and punching drills, but we also work on self-defense patterns, grappling, joint locks, and takedowns. You will train and become physically fit. Your mind, body, and spirit will work together as you learn honor, discipline and respect. For me, Tae Kwon-Do is a way of life and not just a sport.

Tournaments are fun and exciting, and we use these competitions as part of our training as well. But in the end, my goal is to prepare you for the real world.

Free Trial

Located in Buffalo, NY? Try our Tae Kwon-Do classes free for 30 days (zero obligation), to see if its right for you. We want you to love your time at our dojang. Classes are offered for all ages, adults, kids, toddlers and families. Simply fill out this form and someone from our team will contact you with next steps.


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