What’s the Difference Between Karate and Kung Fu

Karate and Kung Fu are 2 disciplines of martial arts that may seem very similar at first sight. However, there are certain aspects that can help you tell the difference between them.

5-Minute Crafts has created this short guide that will allow you to tell whether you’re watching someone perform Karate or Kung Fu.

1. Definition and origins

  • Karate stands for “empty hands,” which is directly related to the operative use of the body as a mode of self-defense. Therefore, it’s possible to say that Karate is a specific type of martial art. Furthermore, Karate was originated in Japan and it has been practiced there for about 200 years.
  • Kung Fu refers to any individual achievement or skill obtained by hard work. Also, this discipline doesn’t stand for a specific skill, but rather a variety of skills gained through Chinese martial arts. Moreover, Kung Fu has been practiced in China for 7,000 years.

2. Motions

  • Karate tends to use linear movements, which will take the practitioner directly toward the opponent. Also, karate techniques have sharp movements that have noticeable stop-and-go motions, making them more independent from one another.
  • Kung Fu has circular motions, which shift the practitioner’s weight laterally and make them depend more on their opponent’s movements. Moreover, these techniques seem to flow from one to the next.

Although the differences between both disciplines can be directly related to the individual’s skills, they may be useful for different purposes in self-defense. Kung Fu can be helpful if you’re struggling with an opponent and you want to stop them, while Karate can help you harm them.

3. Uniforms

  • In Karate, martial artists wear white pants, an overlapping jacket, and a colored belt, which is used to demonstrate a practitioner’s skill level. Also, he or she can go barefoot.
  • In Kung Fu, practitioners wear a top with Chinese frog-style buttons. They can come in a variety of colors, styles, and materials, like satin. At the same time, Kung Fu artists wear shoes.
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