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Difference Between Karate and Judo

karateKarate vs Judo

Karate and judo are martial arts of Japanese origin. Both have distinct characteristics. While Judo is what could be called a soft martial art mainly involving body maneuvers against an opponent, karate can be termed as a hard martial art where blows are landed on an opponent’s body.

A Karate exponent would strike an opponent whereas somebody practicing Judo would endeavor to throw him. A Karate man would batter a man to submission whereas a Judo man would grapple with, wrap or trap an opponent, the effort aimed at tiring down the opponent.

A Karate man takes his energy from mother earth and uses it against his opponent in the form of blocks and counter assaults, whereas in Judo energy is drawn away from the opponent by redirecting it towards mother earth by tossing the opponent down. As a sport Karate involves earning points for kicking and punching, whereas in Judo points are to be had for grappling and throwing your opponent as one would in wrestling. In Judo the body and its weight and how it is balanced vis-à-vis the opponent decide the course of a fight, while in Karate, hands are used to chop and legs to kick at your adversary.

Karate is an attacking and aggressive form of martial art, whereas Judo is purely a defensive form of martial art. Karate as a way of fighting is quite dramatic unlike Judo which primarily is all about grappling. In Karate on the other hand the process of blocking blows or landing them on to other people, or objects (as in smashing boards and objects) looks quite spectacular. It is no wonder then that while Judo is not much featured in movies, Karate is the staple of many movies. An example being the Karate Kid series of movies from Hollywood.

Judo and Karate in a way symbolize two entirely different approaches towards the art of fighting. In Judo the stress is not on brute strength or sheer force. It has to do more with a gentle but firm defensive attitude where your body and the way it is poised and balanced vis-a-vis the opponent lets you get the upper hand. Karate on the other hand is a direct and confrontationist approach where you boldly block the opponent’s moves and attack him vigorously with your hands and legs.

1.Judo is a soft martial art mainly involving body maneuvers against an opponent. Karate can be termed as a hard martial art where are blows are landed on an opponent’s body
2.A Karate man batters a man to submission whereas a Judo man grapples with, wraps or traps an opponent the effort aimed at tiring down the opponent.
3.As a sport Karate involves earning points for kicking and punching, whereas in Judo points are to be had for grappling and throwing your opponent as one would in wrestling
4.Karate is an attacking and aggressive form of martial art, whereas Judo is purely a defensive form of martial art.

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  1. most wonderful art acc. to me,i would like to earn this art at any cost.

    • The person who wrote the article knew little about martial arts.

      The Japanese in their typical logical way and with their talent for improving things developped a martial arts system that is separated into specific categories. The Chinese system Wu Shu (Kung fu) is one big package wheras the Japanese system is compartmentalized.

      To master Wu Shu one must learn the internal body to body fight which the Japanese call Judo as well as the external punching and kicking fight which the Japanese call Karate and the art of the sword which the Japanese call Kendo and the art of the bow which the Japanese call by yet another name I cannot recall at this moment. The above mentioned as well as many other arts must be mastered to become a master of Wu Shu (Like a Shaolin Monk)…just as ALL the above mentioned Japanese disciplines must be mastered to become a Samurai.

      If any of the elements which constitute the entire system are missing one is an incomplete and largely useless fighter.

      From a purely practical point of view in any case the internal fight (Judo or Jiu Jitsu or Wrestling or Grappling) is by far the most important art to master and is usually the first art which is taught for that vefy reason… Proof of this is the complete dominance of the Gracie family’s Brazillian style of Jiu Jitsu in the original MMA world championships …they dominated all comers from all disciplines for five years forcing all MMA competitors to go get training in Brazil. Fundamentally if you caint Wrastle you gonna get wooped !

  2. Wow. I find this incredibly offensive. The person who wrote this knows nothing about Judo whatsoever. Referring to Judo as purely “defensive” is a severe understatement. If anyone has ever seen the mixed martial artist and olympic judo metalist Ronda Rousey fight, you would know that judo not purely “defensive”. Judo is a grappling martial art, while karate is a striking martial art. Anyone who has been thrown by a good judo player knows that if it wasn’t for that nice, soft mat to land on, Judo would do a lot more damage than a single karate punch could imagine. I challenge any karate guy to step on a judo mat and call judo purely “defensive”. Youll be on your ass faster than you knew what happened.

    • I’m sorry to say but it’s true, judo it’s an art that it about trows and locks were karate it’s strikes. As a sport Karate has to be down graded for points, as real karate means breaking knees, neck chops that will cut your oxygen and kill you, face punches out of men who have iron fist. Karate also has some trows and sweeps like judo but it depends on the school. However that said many karate schools in America are only mcdojos, a good karate figther it’s hard to come by now days, but judo doesn’t fail to deliver from that side. Finally if interested in karate, search your school and learn the history of the tradition. I would recommend to do judo or jujitsu first as many figths end on the ground then take karate or any striking art, or it could be the other way around but one MUST master or understand both strikes and grappling to be an effective fighter, I seen many judo and jujitsu guys fall after one kick to the face or their ribs, the same I have seen many karate guys go down after being caught by a grappler.

      • Thanks Ray,

        my son after spending 10 yrs in karate ( he is a black belt at the age of 9 n now trying for den after 13 yrs) feeling blank as there is no future of Karate, there is no national or international competition.

        Can u please suggest or should he move for Judo as a carrier.


        • Agreed, Joe. This is terribly offensive, as the author does not know a single thing about judo. You do not “tire” an opponent in judo to defeat him. Judo throws can break someone’s neck. Also, I do not see the “submission” part of karate. In fact, in judo, you practice chokes and arm bars and use them in competitions. Ronda Rousey is definitely a good example of someone who knows the art of arm bars and judo. Sorry, but this article lacks any real knowledge behind judo AND karate, whatsoever.

          Amit, judo is a great sport, as it teaches and builds self confidence and tones your skills. It is definitely something that won’t be boring after a while, if that is what your son is worried about. I think that he can learn a lot more from judo since it teaches you how to fight bigger and stronger opponents since you cannot just use raw strength. Maybe let him watch some Olympic judo clips, and let him decide if it is right for him. Judo is exhilarating, to say the least.

        • Mr Amit,
          Go through the right channel and there is a lot to karate.
          Karate is an official sport in 2020 tokyo olympics.
          Karate association of India is the only national organisation for promotion of sports karate with its headquarters in chennai and headed by president mr thiagarajan and general secretary mr bharat sharma. Its recognised by Government of India, Ministry of youth affairs and sports.

          For any other querries or suggestions pls feel free to call on 9821418036.
          Best regards
          Sachin Chavan
          Chief Instructor KWF India
          Judge – asian karate federation

        • Please u can move him to Judo,ji jutsu, and wrestling..

      • What nonesense! …The Gracie family beat ALL martial arts competitors for five straight years in the original MMA world championship! . This forced ALL martial artists who desired to compete in MMA at the world level to become proficient in grappling OR get their asses kicked. Nobody can compete in mixed martial arts without mastery of Judo.Go on youtube and watch Royce Gracie beat the crap out of everybody!

    • wow thanks I have been trying to decide if I should do judo or karate and judo wins hands down so thanks a lot

    • I have to agree with Joe. I spent several years learning Shotokan Karate. I got my hat handed to me when I was a brown belt by a green belt Judoka. I tried to kick with a front snap kick. He stepped inside and threw me with O Uchi Gari. I became a Judoka and now am a Sandan. Never again interested in Karate, as a Judo player will destroy you. Judo translates as the Soft Practice or the Gentle Way. In my years of Judo I have never seen anything soft or gentle.

  3. I’d like to know what kind of martial artist wrote this! Each style has its merits and boiling things down to the lowest common denominator is not at all a fair representation and frankly I find it offensive.

  4. There are more than 150 martial arts practised across the globe.

    Karate & Judo are martial arts of Japanese origin (the former “Karate” being originally an okinawan martial art was brought in Japan by master Funakoshi Gichin, the father figure of modern day karate. It was master Jigaro Kano the founder of Judo who invited master Funakoshi Gichin to demonstrate his karate skills infront of the crown prince of Japan in 1922 and thats how the okinawan martial art of “Tote” transformed into the art of fighting with empty hands (karate).

    In comparision with each other both are Martial science and to the very core both of the above arts teach & promote harmony and mutual respect amongst its followers.

    Both the above arts are equally powerful in attack & defense and have deep scientific analysis in each techniques (also called as waza)

    Karate is now recommended as a sport for the 2020 tokyo olympics whereas Judo is already an olympic sport.

    I would recommend learning both the art forms as they compliment each other.

    Traditional Karate and Traditional Judo are very different from sports and have different rules as well.

    In both the martial arts the “dojo kun” (principles) taught are towards accomplishing a common goal, i.e to make a disciplined and courteous human being.

    The dojo kun is as follows:

    1. To seek perfection of character
    2. To be honest & faithful
    3. To respect others
    4. To endeavour
    5. To refrain from violent behaviour


    I hope i am able to justify both the arts in short.

  5. I really don’t think that one style can be compared to another for each is unique and different in its own way. I think that instead of just making a decision based on what a few people say you should actually take the time to study and do research on both styles and instead of just doing one why not do both, for both are great sports. Any good karate-ka can beat a judo-ka and any good judo-ka can beat a karate-ka and both the styles can be actually deadly if used right. No style is better and just because some people lost against others does not make one style better. The key to success is, TRAINING and a shodan karate ka that lost to a green belt judo ka man you were probably not as good as you thought that or your instructor did a SHITTY job

  6. i need karate

  7. My spouse and I stumbled over here different web page and thought I should check things
    out. I like what I see so i am just following you.
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  8. Very good knolege about martial art Judo & Karate sport

  9. To be complete one must master all aspects of physical combat the basic foundation of which is the internal fight, i.e. grappling / wrestling. The Gracie family forced all comers in MMA to become masters of grappling or get whooped, it is an undisputed fact.

  10. This is the stupidest article ive ever read, nothing “soft” about judo.

  11. So what should a woman learn in order to save herself in a dangerous situation? Karate or Judo?


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