Tae-Kwon-Do vs Karate?

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I am looking to put my two active boys (ages 4 & 6) in martial arts. Can someone explain the difference between Tae-Kwon-Do and Karate?
Update : I guess I should clarify what I'm looking for, for my children. I ...show more
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both are very similar almost no difference. Because both styles are so similiar it really doesn't matter which one you choose.

if i were in your shoes i would check which style is near by, and who is teaching and how are they teaching the classes. and also check if they have students around your boys age. You want them to enjoy the classes as much as they are learning from it.

Personally having taken Tae-Kwon-Do when i was little i want to say go for Tae-Kwon-Do if you come to a draw in everything, but i would have to tell you to go for karate just because it's a lot impressive for the kids to tell their friends that they are taking karate then tae-kwon-do. (a lot of the times kids has to explain what tae-kwon-do is after they brag about taking it.) ;;

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Thank you for your advice everyone. I'll start doing research at the local facilities.
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  • Sensei Rob answered 8 years ago
    You are right in looking at Karate and Tae-Kwon-Do. Most of the other arts are to hard or too violent for young boys.
    Karate is Japanese and uses blocking, punching and some kicking. They do Kata (forms) and sparring (controlled while wearing padding). It is an old martial art that helps to teach respect and discipline. It IS effective in real life situations and alot of kids take it. It uses more blocks and strikes than Tae-Kwon-Do. Be sure you go to a traditional school, not one called "American Karate".
    Tae-Kwon-Do is a Korean art and is mostly kicking. They do some limited blocks and punches but is mostly kicking. It looks impressive but isn't very good for real life situations. The classes are usually geared more to children and tend to cost alot more. There is alot of yelling that is supposed to keep the child focused. This is a good tournament art and your kids will have fun at it.
    Take your kids to a Dojo (Karate) and a DoJang (Tae-Kwon-Do) and let them watch some classes. Look at the teaching styles and the abilities of the students. Be careful not to enroll at a club that makes you sign up for a year in advance. There are clubs out there that only care about making a profit and not about teaching anything that's relevant.
    Have Fun


    10+ years of training and teaching Karate
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  • sharingan_is_powerful answered 8 years ago
    Tae kwon do has not just fighting and self defense but has mind training. It makes people beleive they can accomplish something. Tae kwon do teaches you to not put a limit on yourself. For example if you say or think you cant kick above your head you cant. but if beleive you can you can. My first day in tae kwon doe my master, Master Lee asked me what i thought my flexibality level was on a scale of 1 to 10 i said 2. he then told me to kick a pad he had in his hand. Everytime I kicked it he would put it slightly higher and tell me to beleive in myeslf. by the end of this training he told me to stand under the pad and look in the mirror. It was over 6 inches over my head. Tae kwon doe also teaches you to respect other people and self discipline. And not too mention some really awesome self defense. The techniques you learn in tae kwon do are mostly all kicks. And trust me there are some amazing things you can do with your feet and legs. Tae kwon doe also focuses on forms. Forms are a series of moves or techniques that you perform they get trickier as you advance in rank and can teach you to take on maybe 5 or 6 people at once. So I would choose tae kwon doe over Karate! oh by the way be sure to find a place that is world Tae kwon Doe assosiation certified-very important!
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  • megan_of_the_swamp answered 8 years ago
    Tae-Kwon-Do is an art that deals a lot with kicking, and Karate deals a lot with hand strikes. Karate is very linear and powerful, and was originally a Chinese art. Tae-Kwon-Do will really improve flexibility, and I'm pretty sure it originated in Korea, but I could be wrong. Both are good.

    I study a style called Kempo, which is like Karate, and I think it's fantastic. As far as fighting ability is concerned, kempo is a great bet, and often kempo students beat tae-kwon-do students in competition. I'm not sure if that's important to you.

    But one important thing to consider is that some kenpo (or kempo) schools have "time in rank," meaning that students can't advance until they've spent a certain ammount of time in a certain rank. The instructors will say this is to ensure that the students are ready, but my dojo has never found it necessary and it can be very frustrating for kids yours' age.

    But for ages 4 and 6, you're probably not really looking for a place that will teach them to become the best fighters in the world. The most important thing for enrolling kids that age is to

    a) find a program that caters to the shorter attention spans and longer learning curves of young kids and

    b) find a teacher who you and especially your kids are comfortable around.

    You can probably do a good deal of research into schools in your area by googling (your city) martial arts school/program/dojo


    I'm adding something because of something someone wrote below.

    While some traditional martial arts are obsolete, that is a gross generalization. The bonus of having a traditional martial arts education is that you learn the respect, the tradition, and the mental focus needed to practice the martial arts. The programs are structured around systems that have worked for thousands of years, but the best dojos are constantly updating their methods and techniques.

    I know many traditional martial artists who have used their ability to defend themselves in street fights and the like -- one was even a cop and used his martial arts training almost every day on the street. For boys your age, I think traditional martial arts is the best. If they want to join the UFC when they're older, then you can look into the really hard-core stuff.


    Years of training in Goryuu Kempo and of high-level competitions among many styles.
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  • mightymite1957 answered 8 years ago
    I also put my sons into martial arts. People will tell you that whatever style they are studying is the best one. It's better if you visit each school, talk to the instructors, the students, the parents of the students. Watch a few classes in each dojo. With children as young as yours are, you need to see if the class is structured to hold their attention, if what is being taught is in their physical abilitiy (motor skills are a bit better when the children are older, and you don't want them to start out frustrated).
    Two things to watch out for, never sign a contract that says you have to pay even if your children don't come to class, and guarantees that they will have their black belt in a short period of time. If you hear either, walk out. Ranks should be given on ability, not on the calender. Good luck. PS, I took karate with my sons, started when I was 38, and loved it!!!

    I'm sorry about this, but I also have to disagree with a previous post. It's obvious that he has not taken a karate class, and probably has never seen one. I hold the rank of nikyu, brown belt, 2nd class. I have been taught the moves that he was talking about, one finger jabs and two finger jabs to eyes, elbows to many different parts of the body, knee to groin, groin grabs, many kicks below the waist. I have also been taught the vital areas and the fatal areas. My senseis teach not only the moves but where they can go, what they will do, and how much damage they will inflict. You must learn the difference between pushing someone away, maiming them, or killing them. You don't want to kill a drunk in a bar that grabbed your arm, it's enough to push him off. I have learned anatomy, and how the body moves, the physics of the blows. I do agree that the high spinning kicks are very showy, but not a lot of good. Basic physics. Too much energy going up, and not enough going forward, depletes the power of the kick. He needs to apologize to all of the martial artists that he has disrespected because of his lack of knowledge. (If he had been taught in a traditional dojo, he would know not to put down another's teaching or sensei)
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  • DaMatrix answered 8 years ago
    Karate is great as far as learning self defense from what I've heard. But I take TaeKwonDo and for that age, they really focus on disciplining; such as teaching them self respect, and respect of others. They teach them whats right. I am 19 years old and am a black belt in TKD. After seeing how they teach that age group, I would strongly recommend Tae Kwon do for your children.
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  • hisahito answered 8 years ago
    i dunno which one because they are still young anyway i am learning both.it is cool
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  • ATWolf answered 8 years ago
    I personally take Tae Kwon Do. I think the two are similar in terms of techinques, but Karate would take longer to get to a black belt. And you get to play around with weapons. :D Also, TKD is Korean, Karate is Japanese. I think TKD is a little more basic too.
    Also, so I've heard, tae kwon do is the only martial arts to specifically center on respect and self-control. But I'm sure Karate is big on respect and self- control too. Just make sure you find a good school that will focus on the principles as well as the techniques. I personally would go for TKD (no surprise there) but it's up to you.
    Think your boys would enjoy either one.
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  • neilgant18 answered 8 years ago
    As far as the whole self-control and discipline thing, you're going to just have to check with individual instructors and see what their emphasis is (sometimes self-defense only, sometimes it's for competition or to get into shape, or sometimes it's for the kids to just have a good time). I would recommend something endorsed by your school district, they usually focus more on a good experience for kids as well as basic self defense. As for what your kids might enjoy, it depends on how they are built, what they are physically capable of, and what they want to learn more. Tae-Kwon-Do is an olympic event, it is very similar to Karate except that it stresses more on kicks and aerial attacks such as jumping kicks, the moves they perform will be very impressive but perhaps they might want something that's closer to a sport they like better (such as when they want to play football instead of soccer, a pretty good comparison). With Karate, the moves are almost the same as with Tae-Kwon-Do and American Kickboxing, they can compete professionally and, depending on who's teaching them, can perform for contests that judge on form and breaking instead of fighting; as a martial art, Karate is a bit more well-rounded than Tae-Kwon-Do and there are several different styles (Shotokan, Karate-Do, American, and Red Dragon are just a few of the styles I've heard of), you'll just have to look at what the instructors in your area are teaching and what they stress more in their lessons, as well as which one has moves that you think your children can perform easily or that they might enjoy learning. If you want them to learn a really effective martial art that is excellent for conditioning and is an extremely effective style, try Krav Maga (it was developed by Israeli Special Forces and can be learned at some dojos).
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  • melon10 answered 8 years ago
    Tae Kwon Do is a Korean Martial Art that is similar to Karate. Karate is a Japanese Martial Art that originated in Okinawa. Both have pros and cons, but both teach mostly attack. Karate uses mostly punching attacks and strikes with some kicking techniques. Tae Kwon Do uses more kicking attacks and strikes with some punching techniques. Tae Kwon Do also utilizes, and is famous for its more advanced and flamboyant aerial kicking techniques.

    Karate emphasizes power techniques and Tae Kwon Do stresses speed.

    Your choice will depend on the personality of your sons. A better choice might be Aikido, which is a Japanese martial art made popular by Steven Seagal. It stresses mostly defense, is more spiritual, and also teaches one how to control their "ki" and how to move your "ki" within your body to gain an advantage over your opponent. For example, if you were to try to push an Aikido master, you would not be able to move him. He will be projecting his "ki" downward through his legs and into the ground.

    Aikido stresses meditation, discipline, a strong, but calm mind and spirit, and is a deadly form of defensive martial art. It emphasizes redirecting an opponent's attack rather than blocking it. Redirect, neutralize, and controlling your attacker are three mantras in Aikido.

    One of the best things your children can learn in Aikido, (besides the mental, spiritual side) is how to fall, land, and roll. It is one of the first things they teach you. Invaluable if you are ever thrown, or were to fall.
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  • atwil answered 8 years ago
    There are many styles of martial arts. Strictly speaking, karate is of Japanese origin where as Tae Kwon Do is of Korean origin. Practically speaking there is really no difference in modern terms.
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  • Coyote answered 8 years ago
    Give Choi Kwang Do a try, the first month is always free and they do have an excellent children's program.

    check out the website for more details

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  • fredamania18 answered 8 years ago
    Karate teaches better discipline. Where as Taekwondo teaches more skill. Karate if taught properly teaches you that the only tiem you fight is in leisure or in times of great need. Taekwondo was a form of martial art derived from 3-5 millitary influences to help army's in training with their hand to hand combat. Karate has a large past of creating highly disciplined individuals. They are about equal when it comes to the fighting/ karate has more arm contact and taekwando uses a lot of leg sequences. But overall Karate teaches people how to focus a lot easier. hope i helped and good luck making a descision!


    Years of trainign in various martial arts.
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  • xbox 360 king answered 8 years ago
    karate means open fist a good type of karate is tang soo do it is korean
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  • ssgtusmc3013 answered 8 years ago
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  • gunmaster_bc answered 8 years ago
    i think tae-kwon do is more protection and skills.... and akarate comes to be a self defense art where they learn the hardest techniques.. in personal they are almost the same and either one u choose will work... ;)
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  • nukem answered 8 years ago
    Tae-kwondo and karate are very impractical. When it comes to teaching respect discipline and non quiting spirit it is use full but i must say a more modern martial art is best.

    These would include Jet Kune Do, Krav Maga or what might be easier to find, boxing, submission grappling, Thai boxing, jujitsu. I understand you don't care if there great fighters but more traditional martial arts give a false sense of being able to defend you self.

    Good luck with it.


    USMC Special Forces
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  • resaml answered 8 years ago
    Tae-Kwon-Do is more of self defense and protecting yourself.
    Karate is just for decoration, a lot of people do it just because it looks nice, it's actually really stupid.
    I do Wushu because it's a little bit of everything it has flips,punches, forms,decoration, and it even protects yourself. Go to JING institute.com and look at the pictures of my friends Wesley,Micah, Emily, and my coach Huang Quin.
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  • supergrumpers answered 8 years ago
    If you want your boys to actually learn to fight, then don't bother with either Karate or Tae Kwon Do. They're both outdated and impractical. You'll basically be teaching your kids how to get their butts kicked in a real fight.

    If you actually want them to learn to protect themselves without having to wear silly uniforms and belts and yell "KIAAAAAAA!!" everytime they punch or kick - (like those things are realistic,) then check into JKD - Jeet Kune Do or Krav Maga.

    JKD for instance teaches realistic, natural moves and tecniques to end a fight quickly without the impracticality and sillyness of most modern-day martial arts. There's no kicking above the waist, no being in agonizing pain for 6 months while learning to do the splits and no uniforms and belts. Seriously, when one of your kids gets into a fight, is he really going to be wearing no shoes, an oversized Karate uniform and some colorored belt? No. In JKD, you train in street clothes, with shoes because in a real fight, that's what you'd be wearing.

    JKD also teaches fighting in enclosed spaces - like telephone booths, bathrooms and so on. Not every fight takes place in a Karate dojo with soft mats on the floor where you have 50 feet of room to work with.

    JKD teaches people how to fight quickly and effectively. No demonstrative stances, no yelling and no uniforms. It *is* a real martial art. Look it up on Google.com and research it. You'll see what I'm talking about. Be aware, however, that Krav Maga and Jeet Kune Do use very effective strikes and tools. I'm talking about elbows to the face, knees to the groin and shots to the throat and eye poking. Things that will work and bring a bigger person down. There are no spinning back kicks and no jumping kicks to the head. Those things are for the movies and do NOT work in real life.

    Sorry, but using Karate or Tae Kwon Do in a streetfight today would be like our military using muskets and cannons in WW3.
    It just doesn't make sense and there are better, more practical options out there.

    Now, if you just want your kids to have something to do and want them to wear uniforms and participate in tests and tournaments, then Karate is great. But once again, don't expect them to learn anything of value when it comes to a real-life situation where their life or well being is at stake.

    Edit: I'm writing this regarding the poster above.
    Martial arts were created for people to learn to fight. Period. If you want your kids to be able to protect themselves in a real fight, do not go with Karate or Tae Kwon Do. They're simply impractical and will not work against the average street-smart fighter. Now if your kids are fighting in a tournament, then fine - there are rules in tournaments and Karate will be fine...for points, not for life and death. Trust me, put a black belt in Karate against anyone with common sense and street-smarts and the black belt will lose. Karate guys are not used to being kicked in the groin. They're not used to being poked in the eyes and they *cannot* fight on the ground - which is where 98% of streetfights end up. Take a Karate guy out of his element and he's lost. He'll lose because Karate guys do not train that way. They don't train for realism. They train for flashy kicks and looks.

    Karate and Tae Kwon Do are too limited. They just don't cover enough bases.
    If you want your kids to be disciplined and learn the history of Karate, buy a book. Don't punish them by forcing them to learn an art that could get them killed in a real fight later on in life.

    Karate and Tae Kwon Do will fill them will false confidence.
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