What are Difference between Karate and Kung Fu

If you watch people doing kung fu or karate, you would never know the difference between their moves if you weren’t trained in at least one of these. The idea of ​​this article is to get the Difference between Karate and Kung Fu understood, even without any formal training for either.

Difference between Karate and Kung Fu



Okinawa is considered to be the birthplace of the modern form of Karate, and Karate originated in Japan in 1922. It is actually a form of martial art, but today it is generally practiced from a sporting point of view. The development and defensive counter-attack body movements and actions are the physical aspects of Karate. In today’s era, it is the most developed and appreciated form of martial art, which is promoted all over the world.

The term Karate is a combination of two kanji (Chinese characters): Kara- empty and Te – Hand

Its generic traditional theme hinges on the principles and workings of training, fighting, and self-defense. In Karate, the attacker never attacks first, he waits for his opponent’s attack and then reveals his attack with appropriate and associative actions. His traditional subjects work in the disciplines of dedicated training, wrestling and self-defense techniques.

Practitioners use a series of “kata” or “stances” that can be offensive and defensive, and learn to focus their power on punches and kicks that are designed to have a very high impact. In the other forms or styles, throws, joint blocking, restraints, and vital points are also used and applied.

It is one of the most striking and dynamic art forms that uses punches, kicks, knee strikes, elbow strikes, and open-hand techniques.

Kung Fu

Kung Fu is one of the Chinese martial art forms. Its origin dates back to the Zhou dynasty (1111-255 BC). It was practiced as a form of exercise by Taoists in the 5th century BC. The art form originated in the Shaolin temple in China in the fourth century. Kung-Fu consists of fluid and circular movements, which are related to the fighting styles of animals.

In Chinese, the term Kung Fu is related to: Kung fu – (gong) Kung- “work” or “achievement and Fu- intensity

Kung Fu (or gongfu) refers to the commitment and dedication of any individual towards skill and art, which is obtained through hard work. It is one of the most famous and dedicated Chinese martial art forms. Martial art is a science in itself, training an individual’s body to move in a continuous circular motion and rotate. It is the oldest form of martial arts practiced in China.

The body in the art form is regulated according to physical principles and its use is optimal. It is an open martial art, which means that its styles can only be adapted by those practitioners who are perfect in their actions. From the earliest periods of development, it has now evolved into a healthy and potentially rich form of self-defense.

In Kung Fu, the goal is to deal as much damage as possible without losing balance, so the strikes are extremely fast and controlled. Their actions are habituated from the movements and styles of animals and are initiated from one of five basic foot positions, which are normal upright postures. The other four postures are known as dragon, frog, horsemanship, and snake.

Difference between Karate and Kung Fu

Kung fu originated in China, while karate originated in Japan. At first, kung fu was just a spiritual exercise that would require deep concentration as well as self-discipline, and later it would develop into a kind of helpless combat.

Karate, on the other hand, developed from the battle techniques of Chinese Kempo, the Ryukyu Kingdom, and the Japanese art of fighting. This is a difference between karate and kung fu.

Karate movements are actually linear in nature. It would require the person to punch and kick. The moves would require performing French fry actions that are choreographed with a pause-and-go technique.

In kung fu, the movements are circular. They call this type of fighting a soft form as when the moves are executed, the person would still look graceful while inflicting pain in battle.

Although kung fu involves circular movements while karate involves linear movements, both would still have the same power towards an opponent. Kung fu also has more styles compared to karate. Most of these styles were derived from animal postures.

Another difference between karate and kung fu is that those who do karate usually wear an overlapping kimono-type shirt and are barefoot. The color of the kimono doesn’t really matter, but the color of the belt would indicate the level of the practitioner. Kung fu practitioners, on the other hand, will be wearing Chinese silk button-down tops that are frog-style and soft flat shoes.

As a whole, kung fu has more styles and techniques compared to karate and the movements are more circular in kung fu while karate leans towards linear movements.

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