Kung Fu vs Karate
It’s a topic that comes in conversation in playgrounds and pubs, offices and the great outdoors. It’s a debate that’s been going on for decades, across all ages: “Which is better, kung fu or karate?”
The truth is, when it comes to martial arts, there’s no such thing as better or worse. There’s only different. And those differences in styles, gear, and moves are what gives each form its distinct look and feel. So, when we talk about kung fu versus karate (or any other martial art), they’re both just different expressions of the same concepts and ideas, and they are each fully capable in their own right. Here, we’ve laid out some of the main differences and similarities between the two.
The Martial Art of Hapkido
For anyone interested in getting into martial arts, there is certainly no shortage of choices on what to study. Over the last year we’ve talked about some of the more “famous” forms – like karate, tae kwon do, and ninjutsu – but there are many others that are less well known. One of these is hapkido.
BJJ - Brazilian Jui Jitsu
The history of martial arts is often richly layered and deep, with many different forms coming from the same original set of teachings. We’ve covered some of these in the past, and even in the modern age, many of these forms come into being as variations of more traditional forms. Today we’re going to be talking about one that is very popular in modern sports: Brazilian jiu-jitsu, also known as Gracie jiu-jitsu.
The Martial Art of Tai Chi
The words “martial arts” conjure up all kinds of imagery – and it’s usually Hollywood-style, over-the-top fight scenes that just barely jive with the laws of physics. But the truth is, the disciplines of different martial arts cover a wide range of activities and goals, and many of them are not focused on fighting. In fact, some of them have historically prioritized form, meditation, focus, balance, and other “inner” qualities. Tai chi quan, meaning “supreme ultimate boxing” and simply known as tai chi in most of pop culture, is one of them.
The Martial Art of Kendo
We’ve spent a lot of the last few months talking about different martial arts – karate, tae kwon do, kickboxing, and so on – but for the most part, those have all focused on disciplines that prioritize body movement over weapons. While some, like ninjustsu, allow for the use of weapons like staffs, the majority of the training is on how to strike, block, and counter with your own body. Today let’s talk about a martial art that goes the other way: the Japanese school of kendo.
The Martial Art of Ninjutsu
Of all the different fields of martial arts that we have already looked at, or will look at more closely in the future, perhaps the most misunderstood one is that of ninjutsu – the art and techniques of the nearly-mythical hidden attackers known as ninjas. From its ancient roots to its explosion in popularity during the last few decades, mostly thanks to pop culture phenomena like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the idea of what ninjutsu is and what its practitioners do has always walked the line between legend and reality.
The Martial Art of Wing Chun
A lot of people will ask about martial arts as if it’s a competition – which one is the best, which one is better for winning fights, and so on. But one of the best things about all martial arts in general is that they are all different expressions of the same underlying philosophy: that through training, discipline, meditation, and practice, anyone can become more in tune with themselves and their environment, and live a better life. And when we’re talking about styles as different as kung fu and wing chun, that distinction makes a big difference.
Why Kung Fu Loses Against MMA
If you go to any bar on a Saturday night, you might encounter a room full of people glued to the TV, watching Pay-Per-View coverage of the latest big-name title fight. From humble origins, mixed-martial arts (MMA) fights have come up to be hugely popular, often getting tons of attention from people around the world – and more often than not, drawing parallels with the more traditional martial arts from which MMA is descended.
The Martial Art of Taekwondo
In prior months we have covered some other common forms of martial arts like karate and kickboxing. Today we’d like to talk about another one, which you’ve no doubt heard about in many movies, TV shows, and probably even within your personal friend group: taekwondo.
Kickboxing: A Descendant of Martial Arts
Fighting sports, with the elements of rules and sportsmanship, have been around for millennia. Simply look at the number of ancient arenas and fighting pits that have been discovered, dating back to the oldest human cultures. But these days, popular fighting matches are about more than some quick bets on your favourite gladiators. From those old traditions come some of the most common and recognizable disciplines we see today, including kickboxing.
Where Does Kickboxing Come From?
In a previous post, we talked about the origins and forms of karate. As it turns out, that martial art is directly related, because it’s the original form that helped shape and influence kickboxing. Though it may seem like a natural offshoot of a fighting style – after all, kicks are more powerful than punches – it actually was not until the 1950s that the sport we now know as kickboxing began to take shape in Japan.
Drawing not only from traditional karate, but also from muay thai, a man named Tatsuo Yamada began outlining the forms of the new sport throughout the early 1960s. Soon, it took hold in students of both disciplines. As more people learned the rules of the sport, the first competitions and events were organized. By the 1980s, kickboxing was expanding around the world and had grown into North America and Europe. Moving back and forth in popularity since then, and with very broad scope of rules and styles, it is one of the most enduring schools of modern martial arts for people of all skill levels.
Rules of Kickboxing
There are many different styles and rule sets for kickboxing, and there are many international governing bodies for different styles of the sport. The bouts that most people are familiar with are generally based on full-contact karate, where the opponents fight through rounds until one of the fighters is knocked out or submits.
Usually, no specialized equipment or weapons are used aside from a mouth-guard, hand wrappings, and small other protective gear (i.e. light boots, helmets, shinpads, etc). The rules regarding low and high kicks, hits to knees or with elbows, and the use of spins are where most sub-disciplines differ – some allow plenty of freedom to fight, while others restrict strike zones to just the upper body and arms.
In many of these schools, each fighter must learn to be incredibly accurate when they make a move, be able to strike and retreat quickly, and get ready to react to their foe in an instant. As opposed to the more meditative nature of karate and kung fu, kickboxing emphasizes a faster pace with a higher focus on the immediate impact of kicks and punches.
Styles of Kickboxing
There are many sub- or closely related styles of kickboxing. Here are some of the main ones you can find around the world:
Learning Martial Arts of Calgary
Whatever your personal style may be, if you like to fight, chances are good that there’s a kickboxing genre for you. However, if you prefer something more holistic and meditative, you can’t go wrong with studying kung fu – and we just happen to know the perfect place to learn. Right here at Kung Fu for Life!
Kung Fu For Life
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