The two most common forms of martial arts in the US are karate and Tae Kwon Do. People have been confused as to the difference between these two hard arts. This is a huge problem if you want to study martial arts in Orland Park. While karate and Tae Kwon Do have the same style of uniforms and belt colors which makes telling them apart difficult.

The Evolution of Karate
Traditional karate originated in Okinawa Japan. However, there were some influences from Chinese martial arts. While white belts indicate a novice and black belts indicate an expert, a series of colored belts was developed to indicate different levels of expertise within that range.

The Evolution of Tae Kwon Do
Tae Kwon Do originated in Korea and was heavily influenced by Japanese karate. Tae Kwon Do is sometimes referred to as Korean karate since it shares the white uniforms and system of colored belts. Tae Kwon Do is comprised of two major styles. The International Tae Kwon Do Federation and the World Tae Kwon Do Federation. A V-neck top is often seen in schools affiliated with the World Tae Kwon Do Federation. A number of Tae Kwon Do schools have included a black lining in the white uniforms for students that have achieved black belt status. Black, blue, and red uniforms can be found in addition to the traditional white uniform in Americanized schools.

Arms vs Legs
The most significant difference between the two martial arts is the emphasis placed on the use of arms versus legs. In Karate the student uses their arms or hands 60% of the time for strikes or blocks while the use of legs for kicking is just around 40%. In contrast, students of Tae Kwon Do use their arms or hands only 40% of the time for strikes or blocks and their legs 60% of the time with more stress on performing higher kicks to the head than in karate. In fact, there are numerous techniques where Tae Kwon Do students are airborne while executing jumping or flying kicks.

Overall, the forms in Tae Kwon Do tend to be less complex than the karate forms. It is important to note that some schools have actually incorporated the longer karate form as part of their instruction. In fact, the cross over between the two disciplines is such that black belt students often go on study the other martial art.

Tournaments & the Olympics
Open martial arts tournaments in the US and abroad include separate divisions of karate and Tae kwon Do competitions as well as those where fighting or sparring from each division is combined. Since the inclusion of Tae Kwon Do in the Olympics the martial art has gained more awareness and increased interest among individuals seeking to learn a martial art.