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The Difference Between Judo And Karate

Updated: Oct 31, 2023 The Difference Between Judo And Karate Gary Goltz 13–17 minutos For my Black Belt Blog for This week I wanted to share this interesting comparison between judo and karate. As a judoka I like what the author says about the benefits of judo. However knowing how to strike and block is of key importance in self-defense as proven in the UFC and other MMA events. This is why I put my kids in karate too as they were growing up. I wanted them to be prepared for an encounter with Holly Holmes!

By James Franklin If you’re not a martial arts fan, judo and karate may seem similar. Although both sports originated in Japan and have some similar techniques, the two are entirely different. Generally, the main difference is that judo is a soft martial art that entails grappling and throwing techniques, while karate is a complex martial art involving striking.

However, that’s not all. This article dives deep into extracting the main differences to help you grasp the differences between the two forms of martial arts. Read on to learn more. The first difference between these sports is their history.

The History Of Judo Judo, a Japanese martial art, was initially referred to as Jiu-jitsu and involved throws, locks, and grappling. However, it was later evolved and renamed by Jigoro Kano in 1882 as it had started to fade away. This sport was inspired by ‘ju yoku go o seisu,’ referring to ‘softness controls hardness,’ meaning a weaker individual can defeat a stronger opponent by using the opponent’s force and momentum.

Judo was initially meant for entertainment, but in the 20th century, it was termed an Olympic sport. Judo participants are called judokas, while their instructors are called sensei. The judokas must wear a traditional attire called keikogi when performing the sport. Judo has become popular and is taught in many gyms. For example, if you’re looking forward to learning, it’s worth checking out The Arena in San Diego and other similar places. Here you will meet well-trained coaches such as those with the necessary knowledge about the sport.

The main objective of judo is to take down the opponent. Therefore, one is declared a winner when the opponent is inactive and on the ground.

The History Of Karate Karate is a form of martial art derived from a combination of words, ‘kara’ and ‘te.’ Kara means empty, while te means hand. Therefore, karate means ’empty hand.’ Karate was invented by people who intended to defend themselves in a period when weapons were prohibited. This martial art originated in East Asia in the 17th century but evolved in Japan in the 1920s. It was categorized into four styles: Wado-Ryu, Goju-Ryu, Shotokan, and Shito-Ryu.

Unlike judo which entails taking down the opponent to the ground, karate entails kicking and striking the opponent while defensively blocking the opponent’s moves with legs and arms. Body Parts Used Another key difference is evident in the body parts used in these two forms of martial arts. Judokas use their arms and legs to wrestle with their opponent. However, the force and momentum to take down their opponent are mainly generated from the legs, core, and hips. In judo, the legs aren’t primarily used for their strength but for their ability to abruptly distort the opponent’s balance, after which the core and hips help execute the throw to the ground.

Karatekas, practitioners of karate, mostly use their limbs. For example, they use the elbow to fists on the arms and knee to feet for the legs. All the parts between these areas are used to strike and punch the opponent. Throws and locks are non-existent in karate. Therefore, karate focuses mainly on the limbs, while judo is a full-body sport.

Techniques Judo has two main techniques: nage-waza (throwing techniques) and katame-waza (grappling styles). However, judo’s strength is mainly in its throwing techniques. Judokas aim to unbalance the opponent and throw them on the ground. Judo doesn’t involve striking; that’s why it’s referred to as a soft form of martial arts. Judo’s training and technique emphasize using force, momentum, pivot points, and joint manipulation.

Karate, on the other hand, is a striking martial art focusing on stand-up fighting without grappling or throwing. Karate training only entails kicks, punches, and blocks. These techniques make it a more aggressive form of martial arts than judo. The main aim of karate is to defeat the opponent using strikes and punches. Therefore, karate’s technique and training emphasize the strength and flexibility of the limbs.

Self-Defense Judo is a defensive martial art in nature, meaning when a fight breaks on the street, a judoka has the upper hand regarding self-defense. This is because many street fights are close-range and mainly end on the ground, which is judo’s technique.

Additionally, judoka can control the opponent and the fight’s direction, making judo greater for self-defense than karate. This is why judo training is taught to law enforcement individuals in many countries. However, judo doesn’t perform well in the case of multiple attackers since it can be disastrous to be on the ground against multiple opponents.

Karate is mainly designed for attacking. When karatekas are given ample space, they can unleash quick strikes and punches, gaining an advantage over the opponent. But, when an attacker closes down the distance, a karateka is disadvantaged. However, in the case of multiple attackers, a karateka can finish off two or three opponents before they close in, which is impossible for a judoka.

Focus As stated, judo is a defensive form of martial arts. Judo assumes the opponent is about to attack and focuses on countering the attack without sustaining any damage. Therefore, a judoka aims to be firmly planted on the ground to hold and throw the opponent. Once the opponent is on the floor, the judoka finds a superior position to control the opponent to submission. Comparatively, karate is an aggressive form of martial arts that focuses on damaging the opponent before the opponent can strike back. This means the body has to be firmly planted on the ground while the other limbs attack the opponent.

Benefits Of Learning Judo Judo isn’t just a sport; it teaches judokas a way of living and has mental and physical benefits. Here are some of the benefits of learning judo:

Advantages Of Learning Judo

  • It helps grow strength and flexibility.

  • It improves concentration and coordination.

  • It boosts self-esteem and confidence.

  • It improves overall physical fitness.

  • It helps one master self-defense.

Lastly, judo strongly emphasizes discipline, respect, and humility. One must treat opponents and instructors with respect and maintain a high standard of conduct on and off the mat.

Here are some benefits of learning karate

  • It tones the body and builds stamina.

  • It improves mental health.

  • It boosts aggression and energy levels.

  • It boosts reaction time and alertness.

Conclusion Judo and karate are fascinating martial arts with a long and rich history. Learning judo and or karate are both excellent ways to improve your physical fitness, mental well-being, and overall quality of life. While they may share some similarities, they are ultimately quite different in terms of technique, philosophy, and approach. Whether you’re interested in the throws and submissions of judo or the strikes and kicks of karate, both offer a great way to improve your physical fitness, discipline, and self-defense skills.


Speaking of Karate – RIP Fumio Demura, Sensei pictured below Ken Teshima and me back in 2017.

IJF Declares Inal Tasoev Heavyweight World Champion as well, 6-9-23 - Hans van Essen / judo news, results and photos During the final between Teddy Riner (FRA) and Inal Tasoev (AIN), there was one situation where neither the referee on the mat nor the IJF Refereeing Commission gave any score. Following a thorough expert analysis, according to the current refereeing rules, a score could have been awarded for Inal Tasoev’s counterattack. Therefore, the International Judo Federation declares both athletes as the winners of the contest and award a gold medal and the corresponding ranking points to Inal Tasoev. GG CommentTo me this seems like a big cop out. If they made a mistake the IJF should’ve just fixed it!

81-Year-Old Advocate - European Judo Union Veterans Championships – by Szandra Szogedi

Valentins AZAROVS lives and trains in Riga, Latvia, precisely at Satori Judo Club. The veteran judoka competed today at the M9 -73kg category and finished 7th place. Although his age would put him into the M11 age group, due to lower entries around his age, he was merged with the younger group, nothing that would have set him or his passion away from the tatami. Born in 1942, makes Azarovs the eldest competitor at the European Judo Championships Veterans 2023.

The 81-year-old judoka first trial himself on the judo mat at the age of 14… and never looked back. It was not until the age of 68 that he actually entered his first judo tournament, specifically the Veteran World Championships. Diving into deep water paid off for the Latvian veteran as he won his first medal and world title simultaneously.

That event remains my best memory of judo. I was shocked that I was able to win. I am regularly attending at these events since. I really enjoy competing, I love the whole process of preparation for a tournament and competing with friends. I know almost everyone around me, and I enjoy the atmosphere at these events.

Azarovs trains approximately 1,5hrs per day, mixed with judo and other fitness trainings. Whilst he is keeping rather fit for his age, former sambo player and acrobat, is solely dedicating his sporting passion to judo. During his active work life regime, Azarovs was an engineering constructor. He has retired from the working world for quiet sometimes but has no plans leaving the mat just yet.

I am a retired man with a lot of free time. I don’t feel the same nor do I see my life without judo. I want to motivate younger people too to continue with judo. I won 3 European gold medal and 4 world titles at the veterans and even if I am not on the podium, I still feel like a winner.

Attention Judo Veterans - Register Now for the Veterans Judo Open - Myrtle Beach August 26th, 2023. For more information go to, Competing in judo tournaments can offer additional benefits for Veterans Judo Players. Here are some benefits of competing in judo.

1. Challenge Yourself

Competing in judo can be a way to challenge yourself physically and mentally. It requires dedication and hard work to prepare for tournaments, which can help you push yourself beyond your limits.

2. Keep Active Competing in judo tournaments can help older athletes stay active and engaged with their sport. It can motivate them to continue training and improving their technique, which can lead to a greater sense of satisfaction with their athletic performance.

3. Build Confidence Competing in judo tournaments can help Veteran Players build confidence. . Winning matches or achieving personal bests can give athletes a sense of accomplishment and pride, leading to increased self-confidence.

4. Meet Like-Minded People Tournaments offer the opportunity to meet like-minded people who share a passion for judo. Competing can help build camaraderie and friendships with other athletes.

5. Improve Technique Competing allows athletes to test their technique against other opponents and work on improving their skills. This can help them refine their technique and strategy, leading to better performance in future tournaments.

In Conclusion competing in judo tournaments can be an excellent way for Veterans Judo Players to challenge themselves, stay active, build confidence, meet new people, and improve their technique. It can be a rewarding experience that can enhance your overall health and well-being, both physically and mentally.

See you on the tatami! Sensei Ray Marquez, Jr. Calendar: June - 2023 16th Friday to 18th Sunday - USA Judo Junior Olympics, Shreveport, LA 25th Sunday - U.S. Adaptive Judo Championships, Riverside, CA July - 2023 16th Sunday - CA State Games, San Diego, CA August - 2023 5th Saturday - Beginner & Intermediate Tournament, Las Vegas, NV 6th Sunday - Nikkei Games Budo Tournament, Cypress, CA September - 2023 17th Sunday - Nevada State Judo Championship, Las Vegas, NV 24th Sunday - Nanka Fall Tournament, Westminster, CA October - 2023 1st Sunday - Capitol Open Judo Championships, Sacramento, CA 22nd Sunday - Fresno Invitational Tournament, Fresno, CA 29th Sunday - Fight for a Cure Women's Tournament & Clinic, Riverside, CA 29th Sunday - Hanabi Halloween Classic, Albany, CA November - 2023 1st Wednesday to 3rd Friday - IJF World Veterans Championships, Abu Dhabi, UAE 5th Sunday - Nanka Team Tournament, Westminster, CA 19th Sunday - Presidents Cup National Championships, Irving, TX December - 2023 8th Friday to 10th Sunday -Nanka Winter Nationals & Clinics, Azusa, CA April - 2024 7th Sunday - Nanka Spring Tournament, Westminster, CA May - 2024 5th Sunday - Nanka West Coast Invitational, Westminster, CA June - 2024 28th Friday to 30th Sunday - USJF & USJA Summer Nationals, Tacoma. WA September - 2024 29th Sunday - Nanka Fall Tournament, Westminster, CA October - 2024 20th Sunday - Nanka Team Tournament, Westminster, CA December - 2024 6th Friday to 8th Sunday -Nanka Winter Nationals & Clinics, Azusa, CA I’m always looking for new subjects to write about regarding judo as well as contributions from my readers. Please send them to, thanks

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