Kung Fu vs Karate
You cannot find any difference between Kung Fu and karate unless you have studied or tried to train in either of these world famous martial arts. The west came to know about Kung Fu and Karate through Bruce Lee, the actor who popularized these martial arts with his Hollywood movies that were extremely successful. Both martial art forms are equally exciting and, to someone who is not aware of the nuances, it is hard to tell if a person is performing Kung Fu or Karate. This article attempts to highlight the differences between Kung Fu and Karate, one of which is inspired by the other with the assimilation of other influences.
What is Kung Fu?
Kung Fu originated in Shaolin Temples in China, and people of Okinawa Islands that were a part of the Chinese Empire were trained in this martial art form. Kung Fu has many striking and punching styles that are common with Karate since Karate was influenced by Kung Fu. However, Kung Fu also has movements that mimic the attacking styles of animals.
Talking of the differences, the movements in Kung Fu are circular that look majestic when a person uses his hands to make these movements. Also, there is much less stop and go in Kung Fu than in Karate, which is why it is referred to as a soft style of martial arts.
While performing Kung Fu, the performers wear a pair of kung fu pants, belt, and kung fu shoes. The whole uniform can change according to the school, but usually these parts are included.
What is Karate?
Okinawa Islands, south of Japan, were the first to learn about Kung Fu, the ancient Chinese martial art form and, through these islands, the people of Japan came into touch with Kung Fu. They absorbed the combat sport but also introduced new rules, and thus, the art form got influenced by the Japanese culture. This led to the development of a totally different martial art called Karate. Karate is aimed at striking. As a result, it has a combination of moves that are kicks, elbow or knee attacks, and punches.
When you try to differentiate between the two martial arts, you can find that Japanese have reduced the number of techniques and streamlined the procedure. Execution of techniques in karate has also been modified and not incorporated as it is from Kung Fu. Interestingly, Korea, which was a part of Japan and got independence after WW II, modified even Karate and developed Taekwondo, which is another famous martial art form.
Karate is referred as a hard style of martial arts because there is more stop and go in Karate than in Kung Fu. This is not to say that Kung Fu is any less powerful than Karate. Only thing it means is that power remains hidden because of circular motion. These techniques make Kung Fu look more exotic in nature than the Karate, which looks more straightforward and easier to learn for some. As described above, there are more techniques, movements, and even uniforms in Kung Fu when compared with Karate.
When doing Karate, the students wear a Gi with patches that show the style the student is practicing or the school he or she is from. Gi is a loose white jacket. Also, karate students do not wear shoes. They also have a belt, which comes in different colors that signify the skill level of the student. Black belt is the highest honor in karate.
What is the difference between Kung Fu and Karate?
• Kung Fu is a martial art form from China.
• Karate is a similar martial art form from Japan.
• Karate is a modified form of Kung Fu and people from Okinawa Islands introduced it to Japanese people.
• Kung Fu has circular movements and has complex techniques.
• Karate has streamlined movements that appear to be simpler.
• Soft vs Hard Style:
• Kung Fu is considered a soft style of martial arts.
• Karate is a hard style of martial art.
• Title of the Instructor:
• Kung Fu instructor is addressed as Si fu.
• Karate instructor is addressed as Sensei.
Despite ostensible differences, both martial art forms look exquisite when performed by an expert and it all boils down to personal preference when it comes to choosing between the two martial arts. It is difficult to say one or the other martial art is any superior to the other martial art form.