Difference Between Judo and Karate

Judo vs Karate

Judo and Karate are both modern sports as well as martial arts of Japanese origin. Both are combat sports that help people defend themselves against more powerful and armed opponents. Though the two martial arts appear similar to those who know nothing about these martial arts, there are many differences that will be highlighted in this article.


Judo is a modern combat sport and a martial art developed by Jigoro Kano in 1882. Kano was a frail man who was interested in learning Jujutsu, the ancient Japanese martial art that was a system of self-defense and helped people to defeat more powerful and armed opponents. Jujutsu was a complete fighting system that evolved in feudal Japan as a need to help Samurai warriors to overcome armed opponents. Kano left the striking katas or techniques and borrowed some techniques from other martial arts. In addition, he developed some techniques of his own to come up with a new martial art that he dubbed as Judo.

Judo caught the fancy of the people of Japan who felt that Jujutsu was a dying martial art. It soon became popular in many parts of the world, and it was also included as a combat sport in Olympics. Judo focuses more on grappling and throwing the opponent rather than on striking him with hands and feet.


Karate is one martial art of Japanese origin that has brandished as a mysterious art capable of delivering death or grievous injury to the opponent with the strike of hand or feet. This is a wrong perception that is a result of Hollywood movies where Karate has been projected as a deadly martial art. Jackie Chan is one Hollywood actor who has helped popularize this myth or perception about Karate. Bruce Lee became a super star in Hollywood solely on the basis of his knowledge of the martial art called karate.

As a martial art, karate developed from indigenous style called Te that was practiced in Ryukyu Islands and Kenpo, the martial art of Chinese origin.

Karate is a martial art that involves striking, punching, kicking etc. with hands and feet in an effort to defeat the opponent. Strikes through knees and elbows also form a major part of the strikes in this martial art. Karate is very popular martial art and there are close to 100 million practitioners of this form of self-defense at present.

Judo vs Karate

• Karate is a hard martial art, whereas judo is a soft martial art.

• Karate is an aggressive, attacking martial art whereas judo is a defensive martial art.

• There is a lot of striking, kicking, and punching with hands, feet, and elbow etc. in karate whereas judo focuses on grappling and throwing to subjugate the opponent.

• Judo is closer to wrestling whereas karate is closer to kick boxing and boxing.

• Throws, pins, and locks are the weapons in judo, whereas kicks and punches form weapons in karate.