If you are looking for a new physical activity, Karate and Taekwondo are two great practices for getting in shape while mastering a new art. While they are often thought of as similar practices, there are some distinct characteristics that set these two apart. Karate is a Japanese martial art form, while Taekwondo originated in Korea. Martial arts classes teach important lessons about self-defense, confidence, respect, and discipline. Both of these can benefit you physically and mentally.
Karate is primarily a striking art, with punching, kicking, knee/elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques. The movements are crisp and linear. Karate is not practiced as an Olympic event. According to legend, the evolution of karate began in the 5th Century when Bodhidharma ad Indian Buddhist monk arrived in Shaolin-si, a small forest temple. From there it appeared in Okinawa, a Japanese Island. The meaning of the word karate is “empty hands.” It refers to the fact that Karate originated as a system of self-defense which relied on the effective use of the unarmed body of the practitioner.
Karate clothing is often Gi with patches representing the style students practice or school (dojo) they practice in, Barefooted, and colored cotton belt (depending on their skill level. Example: Beginners start at White belt level). Karate is known for Strong punches, kicks, takedowns, and blocks.
Karate allows the practitioner to defeat an opponent by the use of striking and kicking. The practitioner practices hard physical training to develop fighting skills that require physical and mental discipline. To achieve the higher ranks, one has to give an examination under the panel of judges. After this level, the black belts level begins. Reaching the level of Black Belt is considered a new beginning. Karate development can continue throughout one’s life, stressing more inner strength and teaching as you grow in experience.
It started in Korea, approximately 2000 years ago, during the period of 37 BC – 668 AD, with the influence of three rival Korean kingdoms of Goguryeo, Silla and Baekje. Over the years, it has evolved and become systematic. Tae means to destroy with the feet and Kwon means to strike or smash with the hand, and do means “path” or “way”. Hence, taekwondo can be translated as “the way of the foot and fist”. The main feature of Taekwondo is effective kicking. It is one of the faster martial arts. It is a form of a Korean martial art and a combat sport. Taekwondo uses mainly kicking techniques that are both strong yet graceful. Punching and blocking with parries and takedowns are taught as well. Kicking techniques are more important and emphasized. Some organizations include the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) and International Taekwondo Federation (ITF). There are also many private organizations such as American Taekwondo Federation(ATF), American Taekwondo Association(ATA). The common name for the instructors is Sa Bum Nim. A focus on mental and ethical discipline, justice, etiquette, respect, and self-confidence is one of the major parts of this form of martial art. The phrase, “Respect Senior or older, love Junior or younger,” is used in Taekwondo training.
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