Taekwondo Is Not Karate, Taekwondo Is Karate, Karate Is Not Taekwondo, Karate Is Taekwondo

Posted: March 23, 2014 in Taekwondo
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Taekwondo Is Not Karate, Taekwondo Is Karate, Karate Is Not Taekwondo, Karate Is Taekwondo

*Authored by White Dragon.

        Taekwondo is a Korean martial art system with its own name, own ranking structure, chosen techniques, and its own style. Taekwondo came from various influences of martial arts with the most heavy influence being from Japanese Karate. In this way Taekwondo is not Karate, yet Taekwondo is Karate. But one point that needs to be made: It is time to stop advertising Taekwondo schools with the word Karate and stop trying to make it synonymous with Karate.

        Some examples of this issue is how people now talk, “Oh my son is at Karate he will be done at 3.” But in reality you drive by and the gym is a Taekwondo gym with Korean flags everywhere. How often do Karate gyms that actually teach Japanese or Okinawan Karate claim to teach Taekwondo? Not many if any at all. So why do so many Taekwondo organizations advertise with Karate and use Japanese terms for everything like, “Sensei” and “gi.” This is annoying. These are signs of mcdojangism and a fake Taekwondo style that has absolutely no historical significance to Korea or proper Taekwondo.

Some ATA Taekwondo guy puts these posters up around my neighborhood. Bully prevention and leadership skills from Karate training huh? Except for the fact it's not Karate. Heck it isn't even really Taekwondo!

Some ATA Taekwondo guy puts these posters up around my neighborhood. Bully prevention and leadership skills from Karate training huh? Except for the fact it’s not Karate. Heck it isn’t even really Taekwondo!

        Early on in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s many legitimate Taekwondo masters did advertise using Karate. On very old gyms one can still see traces of this with old rusty signs and old paint on rooftops that say “Karate” in big, bold lettering. The reason many Korean grandmasters used the word Karate was because the word Taekwondo was not known to the average person who would have no clue what a Taekwondo gym is. Since taekwondo is obviously linked to Karate many masters saw it necessary to use Karate when advertising or making a sign in order to let people know “Yes, this is a school where you learn to fight in an Asian way.” The average American did not understand the difference between Karate and other fighting styles and once they got into the gym they did realize they were learning Taekwondo. Back then there was leeway for this method of advertising for Korean martial arts and I believe it was okay to use the term Karate. But not anymore!

        The year is 2014 and it is time to move on and stop using the term Karate for Taekwondo gyms! In the late 80’s and early 90’s Taekwondo at that point became the world’s most popular martial art and still maintains an extremely high degree of popularity worldwide. There are Taekwondo gyms with Korean flags in every town. People know the difference between Karate and Taekwondo now. The Taekwondo masters have had over 2 decades to educate the ignorant public about Taekwondo as its own style and there is no excuse to keep using the term Karate. Not only does using the term Karate piss off actual Karate masters and Karate school owners and takes away from their Japanese and Okinawan arts, it also disgraces Taekwondo by portraying the idea that one must hide the term Taekwondo, or that one is actually training in Taekwondo in order to look better to the public. It is as if Taekwondo gyms are admitting Karate is superior to Taekwondo and they wish they were Karate. It is offensive to the martial artist who loves Taekwondo and should also offend Korean masters who worked hard to get Taekwondo spread worldwide. Did they do this in order to pretend they were a Japanese style? No way! Korean nationalism does not allow for this!

        Yes Taekwondo could be said to be a kind of Karate and was known as Korean Karate for a very long time. One of its predecessor styles called Tang Soo Do which literally was Korean Karate with the exact same forms and movements as Karate does exist, but Taekwondo is far beyond just being a Karate style and has totally developed into its own unique style with its own theories and applications. It is time to just call it Taekwondo. Yes Taekwondo is Karate, yet Taekwondo is not Karate. Taekwondo is Taekwondo and has progressed beyond Karate even if they use a belt system and uniforms much like Karate fighters. Mcdojangs have got to stop using the word Karate on all of their advertising. Both the ATA and Tiger Rock are notorious for committing this crime, yet they are not even real taekwondo anyway so it is not crazy to understand such fake systems would use incorrect terms,  but I have seen actual Kukkiwon gyms and ITF gyms still using the word Karate. Now if this was from decades earlier and it is too expensive to change a sign I understand, but not in current advertising please!

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White Dragon is a 3rd dan Taekwondo Black Belt with over 19 years experience in the Martial Arts and head instructor of the White Dragon Dojang Martial Arts Training Program. 

 

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Comments
  1. MesYang88 says:

    But what about bizarre style like mine? It’s karate, but it’s Taekwondo, but it’s Hapkido… I predict that in the future my style will even migrate away from the term Taekwondo, but change is hard. As this blog implies. : )

    • White Dragon says:

      Well if you really want to say “Hey i do a Korean style” then call it Taekwondo like you have been. Dont say “Hey i am doing Karate at my Karate gym.” Its dishonest because everyone assumes it is Japanese and if you are proud of your style call it what your group calls it.

    • Grey Wolf says:

      You practice palgwe and some TKD dan forms, which are uniquely Taekwondo developed forms. Calling it karate or anything else doesn’t make a lot of sense, even if you do practice some karate forms too,

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