What Is The Difference Between Taekwondo, Karate and Jiu Jitsu?

    One day as I was in the stock room of Submission Shark and preparing orders of BJJ gis, my brother walked in with his friends...

    She asked what are all these gis are for and my brother responded by saying, "Oh, that's just Nathan's taekwondo gi business" This got me thinking, how many people actually know the differences between taekwondo, karate, and jiu jitsu?

    Martial arts have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people wanting to learn self-defense techniques and improve their physical fitness. However, many people are still confused about the differences between various martial art forms such as taekwondo, karate and jiu jitsu.

    In this article, we will take a closer look at these three popular martial arts to understand their origins, techniques used, and unique characteristics that set them apart from each other.

    The Shifting Popularity of Each Martial Art

    It's no secret that taekwondo, karate and jiu jitsu have gained immense popularity over the years. However, each of these martial arts has had its own journey in terms of recognition and following.

    Karate originated in Okinawa, Japan and was introduced to the rest of the world in the late 19th century. It quickly became popular as a striking-based martial art with powerful punches and kicks. With popular culture references in movies and TV shows, karate gained a huge following globally.

    Taekwondo, on the other hand, has a more recent history with its roots in Korea in the mid-20th century. It became an Olympic sport in 2000 and has gained a huge following ever since. Both Karate and Taekwondo are popular for their dynamic and flashy kicking techniques.

    Jiu Jitsu, also known as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), has its origins in Japan but gained popularity in Brazil in the early 20th century. It gained international recognition when Royce Gracie, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner, won multiple UFC fights using this martial art form.

    Since, then the sport has exploded in popularity with gyms and academies popping up all over the world. This is due to its practicality in real-life situations and emphasis on ground fighting and submissions.

    BJJ Quote about growth of the sport

    It also gave a way for kids and women to learn self-defense in a safe and controlled environment. BJJ teaches its practitioners to close the distance (to avoid striking) and control their opponent on the ground. This difference in approach from striking-based martial arts like karate and taekwondo make BJJ a popular choice for those looking to learn self-defense.

    In Submission Shark's original trend analysis about the growth (and decline) of different martial arts, we saw a steady decrease of search interest for karate and taekwondo. In contrast, search interest for BJJ has dramatically increased over the years of 2004-2024 by 104.35%.

    Google Trends of Growth of BJJ

    Interest in both karate and taekwondo has declined, with search interest dropping by 60.94% and 66%, respectively. This difference between the three martial arts is likely due to the practicality and effectiveness of BJJ in real-life situations, as well as its popularity in mixed martial arts competitions.

    Moreover, BJJ has a strong focus on community and camaraderie. It is not just about physical strength and technique, but also mental strength and discipline. Practitioners often form strong bonds with their training partners, creating a supportive and encouraging environment. Although some people may not enjoy physical touch (which is a large component of BJJ training), the sense of community and belonging is a major draw for many.

    Differences of Techniques and Strategies

    There are various techniques that make up the foundation of BJJ. These include takedowns, sweeps, submissions such as chokes and joint locks, escapes, positioning control, and transitions between different positions. Each technique is designed to work with the human body's natural mechanics, making it accessible for people of all ages and sizes.

    In addition to techniques, BJJ also focuses on strategy and problem-solving. Unlike striking-based martial arts where speed and power are key factors, BJJ utilizes leverage and technique to overcome larger opponents. This makes it an effective form of self-defense for individuals who may not have significant physical strength.

    BJJ also emphasizes the importance of adaptability in a fight. Practitioners are trained to react and adjust their tactics based on their opponent's movements, creating a dynamic style of combat that requires quick thinking and problem-solving skills.

    This article shares more BJJ-specific strategies: 10 Most Common Strategies for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

    When it comes to the differences between techniques and strategies, it's important to remember that they go hand in hand. Techniques are the physical movements and actions used in BJJ, while strategies involve how those techniques are applied in a fight.

    One strategy that is commonly used in BJJ is "position before submission." This means that rather than immediately trying to submit an opponent, a practitioner will focus on gaining and maintaining control over their opponent's position first. By controlling the dominant position, the practitioner has more options for submissions and can also defend against potential attacks from their opponent.

    Another important aspect of BJJ strategy is the concept of "flow" or "flowrolling." This involves training in a more relaxed and fluid manner, allowing practitioners to experiment with different techniques and strategies without the pressure of winning or losing. It also helps to develop muscle memory and timing, making it easier to execute techniques in live sparring or competition.

    In addition to these specific strategies, BJJ also teaches general principles that can be applied in any situation. These include maintaining good posture and balance, using proper breathing techniques, and staying calm under pressure. These principles not only improve a practitioner's performance in BJJ, but can also be applied to everyday life situations.

    Techniques in Karate and Taekwondo

    Now that we have discussed BJJ and its strategies, let's take a look at two other popular martial arts - Karate and Taekwondo. While these styles may also involve grappling and ground fighting techniques, their primary focus is on striking, including punches, kicks, and blocks.

    In Karate, practitioners learn various strikes that target vulnerable areas of the body such as the eyes, throat, and groin. They also learn to use different parts of their body for strikes, such as using elbows and knees in addition to hands and feet. The goal in Karate is to deliver powerful strikes with speed and precision.

    Taekwondo, on the other hand, is known for its dynamic and high-flying kicks. Practitioners of this style focus on developing strong legs and hips to execute these kicks effectively. Taekwondo also includes training in forms or patterns, which are a series of predetermined movements that simulate fighting scenarios.

    Strategy in Karate and Taekwondo

    Similar to BJJ, Karate and Taekwondo also have their own strategies when it comes to sparring or competition. In Karate, fighters use quick footwork and explosive strikes to maintain distance from their opponent while simultaneously attacking. They also employ a variety of combinations and feints to throw their opponent off guard.

    In Taekwondo, speed and agility are key components for success. Practitioners use quick footwork to dodge attacks and create openings for counterattacks. They also utilize their flexibility to execute high kicks that can surprise and overwhelm their opponents.

    Objectives and Ruleset Differences

    BJJ is a grappling-based martial art that focuses on taking an opponent to the ground and using submission techniques to gain a dominant position. The main objective in BJJ is to force an opponent to submit through joint locks or chokeholds.

    On the other hand, Karate and Taekwondo focus on striking techniques to score points in sparring competitions. In both styles, fighters earn points for clean strikes to specific target areas on their opponent's body. However, there are differences in the rulesets between the two styles.

    In Karate competitions, kicks are allowed to the head and body, while punches are only allowed to the body. In Taekwondo competitions, kicks are the primary form of scoring and can be executed to both the head and body. Punches are also allowed but typically score fewer points than kicks.

    The stances and footwork used in Karate and Taekwondo also differ from each other. In Karate, fighters typically use a more rooted stance with weight evenly distributed on both feet. In contrast, Taekwondo practitioners use a more mobile and light-footed approach, constantly shifting their stances to change angles and create openings.

    When it comes to BJJ, a lowered stance and frequent changes in levels are essential for executing takedowns and maintaining control on the ground. Footwork is also crucial in BJJ, as fighters use it to maintain balance and prevent their opponent from escaping or countering.

    Final Thoughts

    While there are clear differences in terms of techniques and rules between BJJ, Karate, and Taekwondo, all three martial arts share a common goal - to develop self-defense skills and improve physical and mental well-being.

    No matter which style you choose to practice, it is important to remember that martial arts are not just about fighting, but also about discipline, respect, and continuous self-improvement.

    If you're interested in trying out Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, be sure to check out Submission Shark's collection of high-quality BJJ gear. These products are designed with the needs of BJJ practitioners in mind and can help enhance your training experience. Keep learning, keep practicing, and keep growing as a martial artist!

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    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
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    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
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