Karate vs Taekwondo for Self Defense & MMA

Both Karate and Taekwondo are two of the most popular traditional martial arts, they teach discipline and improve physical & mental health. The question is, which one is better for self defense or MMA?

This is not going to be a long and winded out article that talks about the history of both arts. We will try to give our opinion about each martial arts as straight as possible.

Karate vs Taekwondo: Brief Overview

Karate is a striking based martial arts where you can strike using punches and kicks. Karate has many sub-forms but all of them shares the same idea: Karate predominantly strike using their hands and only uses their kicks for distance management and secondary strikes. Karate uses a traditional orthodox stance with a slightly wider foot positioning to keep their balance.

Taekwondo is also a striking based martial arts but it is the exact opposite of Karate: Taekwondo fighters are notorious of having devastating kicks. However the emphasis on kicks has made their punching game “lacking” when compared to other martial arts. Taekwondo players also uses a “jumping” fighting stance instead of traditional fighting stance, the idea is to be prepared to launch jumping kicks anytime they want

So to recap: The main difference between taekwondo and karate is their emphasis in striking

Karate vs Taekwondo: Street Fight Application

When involved in a street fight usually the calmer person is the one who will win. Thankfully any legit martial arts will teach us to be calm in a hostile situation. Nothing is changed in Karate or Taekwondo. If you have basic skills on Karate, Taekwondo, or any other martial arts in this case, you will have a better chance of coming out of the fight in one piece.

Karate in Street Fight

Taekwondo in Street Fight

Karate vs Taekwondo: Mixed Martial Arts

Many fighters in MMA came from traditional martial arts background. Karate and Taekwondo also have top tier fighters that has competed successfully in mixed martial arts. But those fighters always supplemented their training with other martial arts that is relevant for MMA, on their own Karate and Taekwondo specialist will have a hard time competing in MMA.

Former two division UFC champion Georges Saint Pierre is a Kyokushin Karate black belt and the current top contender in the UFC featherweight division Yair Rodriguez is a black belt in Taekwondo. This is proof that both martial arts can be effective in MMA when combined with knowledge from other martial arts.

Karate vs Taekwondo: Conclusion

If you are looking for a definite answer of which martial arts are the best for self defense or MMA then we are sorry because that is just not possible. Both martial arts teaches great values and self defense skills that has been proven effective from time to time.

The only determining factor of which martial arts is the best is personal preference. Do you like to punch instead of kicking? Try Karate. Do you like jumping kicks or flashy striking techniques? Try Taekwondo. The only real way to find the best martial arts is to find the one that fits you the most. Do not forget that you might have to supplement the training with a grappling based martial arts to make sure you cover each base of self defense adequately.