Difference Between Karate and Kung Fu

Main Difference

The main difference between Karate and Kung Fu is that Karate originated from the Ryukyu Kingdom in Japan, whereas Kung fu originated from China.

Karate vs. Kung Fu

Karate and Kung Fu may seem quite the same. They are Asian martial arts and are quite popular in movies. However, there are many differences between Karate and Kung Fu. Karate originated from the Ryukyu Kingdom in Japan. Kung fu originated from China. Karate is a Japanese word that means “open hand.” This name is directing the style because the main focus of karate is on the skills of a fighter who is unarmed. Kung Fu is a general name that is used for all the Chinese martial arts.

The term karate has an older form as “Kari te,” which means “China hand.” It refers to Chinese art origin history. There are so many varieties of different Kung Fu techniques. The word “wushu” is a term in the Chinese language that refers to the combat arts. Kung Fu (or Gong Fu) has the meaning “to reach enlightenment or achievement through hard work.”

Karate developed from the Ryukyu Islands, particularly in the area now known as Okinawa, and the battle techniques from Chinese Kempo, and the Japanese art of fighting. Kung Fu is the older type of martial arts. It was a spiritual exercise at first that required deep concentration as well as self-discipline then developed as a type of defenseless combat.

Karate is distinguished as a more rigid martial art. Its movements are linear strikes and crisp. There are pauses during the practice of Karate that is so visible. The movements of karate are known as kata (movements). Kung Fu is identified through its circular and flowing movements. There is often no pause in between the practice of kung fu.

Comparison Chart

KarateKung Fu
A type of Asian martial arts that originates from the Ryukyu Kingdom in JapanA type of Asian martial arts that originates from China
Variety of Styles
LessMore
Country of Origin
Japan (Okinawa)China
Movements
LinearCircular
Style
HardSoft

What is Karate?

Karate originated from the Ryukyu Kingdom in Japan. It is a Japanese word that means “open hand.” This name is a directs a clear reference to the style because the main focus of Karate is on the skills of an unarmed fighter.

Karate is believed to be influenced by Fujian White Crane (a form of kung fu originating in Southern China). The weapons that are allowed In karate are the hands and feet of a person only. The term karate has an older form as “Kari te,” which means “China hand.”

It dates back to the origin history of Chinese art. Karate developed from the Ryukyu Islands, particularly in the area now known as Okinawa, and the battle techniques from Chinese Kempo, and the Japanese art of fighting.

Among all other Chinese arts, Karate is distinguished as a more rigid martial art. Its movements are linear strikes and crisp. There are pauses during the practice of Karate that is so visible. The movements of karate are known as kata (movements). The training of karate involves sparring and simulated practices.

Moreover, the main focus of traditional karate is self-development. It accelerates the notions of courage, virtue, fearlessness, and leadership. Movements from karate are linear. It requires the person to strike, punch, and kick. These movements require doing crisps actions that are choreographed with a pause and go technique.

Karate is believed to be an offensive type of martial art. The reason behind this s that it focuses on attacking one’s opponent. Karate offers mental and physical benefits for its practitioners. It teaches respect and discipline. The practice of karate helps in confidence-building. Karate also provides its practitioners with practical self-defense skills.

Types of Training in Karate

  • Kihon (basics or fundamentals)
  • Kata (forms)
  • Kumite (sparring)

What is Kung Fu?

Kung fu originated from China. It is an umbrella term in China which refers to various schools of martial arts. There are several different varieties of Kung Fu techniques.

The word “wushu” is a Chinese term. It refers to the combat arts. The meaning of Kung Fu (Gong Fu) is “to approach/reach enlightenment through hard work.” Kung Fu is the older type of martial arts. The history of kung fu in China is so long. The origin of Kung fu dates back to the 4th century. It was a spiritual exercise at first that required deep concentration as well as self-discipline then developed as a type of defenseless combat.

Kung fu term is a compound word that comprises the words “work/achievement,” and “man.” This term, kung fu, has a variety of meanings with several interpretations. In kung fu, some movements are circular and flowing. There is often no pause in between the practice of kung fu. The practitioner continues the flow of his movement by moving from one move to the next.

Kung fu is known as the soft form fighting type as when movements are executed, and the person still looks graceful while inflicting pain in the battle. Kung fu not necessarily describes any specific style of martial art, but it generally directs any study, skill, or discipline achieved through Chinese martial arts. In brief, kung fu is an accomplishment achieved through a lot of time and energy.

There was a time when kung fu described the process of training of body and mind. It was known as perfecting one’s skills. Kung fu has many forms, and each form has its philosophies, principles, and even techniques.

Forms of Kung fu

  • Shaolin kung fu
  • Tai chi
  • Wing Chun

Key Differences

  1. Karate exists as its form of martial art, whereas kung fu refers to several different forms of martial arts.
  2. Karate is not combined with acrobatics in shows on the flip side kung fu is often combined with acrobatics in shows.
  3. Karate originated from the Ryukyu Kingdom in Japan, while Kung fu originated from China.
  4. The practitioners of karate wear a kimono type top that overlaps and is barefooted; on the contrary, practitioners of kung fu wears a Chinese silk top having frog-style buttons with soft flat shoes.
Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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