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Taekwondo vs. Ju Jitsu

There are tons of different martial arts styles out there. (That's right! There is more to the martial arts world than just karate!) Here is a break down of two common types of martial arts. Maybe it will help you decide which is better for you, or maybe it will convince you to do both.

Let's start by taking a basic look at Taekwondo. Taekwondo is a martial art that originated in Korea. It is commonly confused or lumped together with karate, and while there are some similarities, there are some major differences in not only forms and movement names but also in the way that we use our bodies to perform certain techniques. Karate is also from Japan, so if it makes it easier, you can think of it as Korea's version of Japan's karate. This post isn't to debate which is better or worse. They are different, and that would be like trying to determine if Coke is in fact tastier than Pepsi or if Apple is better than Android. I digress. Taekwondo literally translates to "the art of the hand and foot", so, by implications alone, there is a lot of punching and kicking involved. As far as combat goes, it is a standing combat sport; this information will come in handy later on. Taekwondo isn't only a combat sport though, there is an art/performance factor as well. Traditionally to move up in rank and earn new belts, a student would not only have to spar, but also perform a series of forms (a set pattern of practical movements to be memorized) according to their current rank. Some Taekwondo schools, like ours, even require students to break boards with certain kicks and strikes, again, contingent on their current belt rank. Don't think that the forms are just to look pretty and be performed well. Thought they are in a set pattern to be memorized, every move has a practical application behind it as well, and forms give every student a way to practice and perfect those techniques. (You know: wax on, wax off and what not).

Ju Jitsu, or sometimes referred to as BJJ, has a couple of different places that it comes from. BJJ, or Brazilian Ju Jitsu, comes from Brazil like the name suggests. There is also Japanese Ju Jitsu which comes from Japan. Without giving a full on history lesson, Japanese Ju Jitsu has many elements to it because it was originally used as the martial art for the samurai soldiers. That means they not only had the grappling aspect that most people think of when they hear Ju Jitsu, but they also had throws similar to Judo, weapons training, and even forms (katas). Brazilian Ju Jitsu focuses heavily on the grappling side of things. This means that for this combat sport, it is mainly taught on the ground. It's kind of like a more intense version of wrestling where your back can definitely touch the ground. Combatively, students learn how to take their opponents to the ground and take control of the situation. For sparring purposes in class and tournaments, students are trying to make each other "tap out" which is just basically a nonverbal way of communicating that the other person has gotten you into a position that you can't get out of and you are calling the match to be stopped, so no one is injured. Some schools even label their Ju Jitsu programs as "anti-bully" classes. This is because most fights that break out in school or life end up on the ground or with a kid trying to put the other in a head lock or something they have seen on tv, and Ju Jitsu can be the perfect answer to common bully moves, especially if they are brought to the ground.

Both types of martial arts are great in their own ways. Students in either are guaranteed to become stronger, more fit, gain confidence, increase focus and coordination, develop an attitude of perseverance, and have a sense of self respect as well as respect for others. Both are great for self defense. Taekwondo is more of a stand up sport, so self defense is taught by learning good technique behind punches and kicks. Ju Jitsu (Japanese or Brazilian) is great for learning how to protect yourself on the ground.

In my opinion, a knowledge of both forms of self defense are needed. The saying "better to be safe than sorry" most definitely applies here because a student never learns a type of martial arts in hopes to one day be able to use it in a real life situation, but they learn it so that if that day ever comes, they are as prepared as they can be in any situation. Kicking and punching will only get you so far if the attacker gets you on the ground, and on the flip side of that, knowing how to defend yourself from the ground doesn't do you as much good if you are standing the whole time. Being well-rounded is important when it comes to matters of personal safety. Luckily, you have two fantastic options to dive in to!

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