The Comprehensive Martial Arts Guide: Taekwondo, Karate, Judo, Aikido, and Kung Fu!

Updated: Nov 29, 2020

Have you ever wondered what's the difference between Taekwondo, Karate, Judo, Aikido, and Kung Fu? To some people, they're all the same. And yet, they're completely different disciplines. However, the all develop the same values including respect, courage, focus, and physical development.

If you are planning to start practicing a martial-art it is very important to understand the major differences between these disciplines before deciding which one is suitable for you. This guide will highlight the differences and offer some recommendations to help you decide which martial-art is suitable for you!

Striking vs. Grappling:

Martial Arts can be divided into two main categories:

1- Striking (i.e. Punching & Kicking): such as Boxing, Taekwondo, Karate, and Muay Thai.

2- Grappling (i.e Throwing & Submission Locks): such as Judo, Aikido, and Wrestling.

Striking martial-arts are typically characterized as long distance combat sports. They focus primarily on developing the ability to execute kicks and punches from a long distance. Striking martial arts typically focus on developing leg flexibility/ range of motion, endurance, strength, speed, as well as technical and strategic expertise.

Grappling martial-arts are characterized as close distance combat sports. They focus on developing the practitioner's ability to execute grabs, throws, and submission techniques. Training includes physical strength, endurance, as well as technical and strategic expertise. Grappling martial arts are known for using the least amount of effort to defeat your opponent, this is achieved through developing a high level of technical knowledge as well as physical development.

Taekwondo: The Way of Hand and Foot

Taekwondo is a Korean combat sport categorized as a long-distance martial art, i.e kicking & punching.

It is an Olympic sport and is governed by the WT (World Taekwondo Federation).

It features worldwide opens, championships as well as award winning cash prizes in competitions such as the Grand Prix & Grand Slam. Today, Taekwondo is among the most popular martial-arts in the world.

Taekwondo is divided into two main practices: Kyrogui & Poomsae.

Kyrogui is the combat side of Taekwondo. It is scoring punches & kicks against an opponent.

Poomsae (forms) is an individual side of Taekwondo. It is executing movements, punches, and kicks in an organized and creative sequence.

Scoring points in Taekwondo has been subject to change over time but the principles remain the same. Currently (2020) kicks to the body are worth 2 points, and kicks to the head are worth 3 points. Punches are only allowed against the body and are worth 1 point.

Here's some footage to give you a sense of what Taekwondo Kyrogui is all about:

(Video Courtesy of World Taekwondo)

Karate: The Art of the Hand (and Foot)