karate dojo in Vancouver


How is Karate different from Kung Fu?

Two of the most commonly known martial arts are Kung Fu and Karate, both of which are strong self-defence techniques. These arts are very similar and feature unique differences that help define each. Many students ask, which of these martial arts is better to learn? Below, we discuss each martial art in detail and their inherent similarities and differences.

What Are Kung Fu and Karate?

Kung Fu is a Chinese martial art made up of various self-defence techniques, including Shaolin Kung Fu, tai chi, and wing chun. Like Karate is made of different forms, each Kung Fu form has its own structures and techniques.

Karate was developed in Japan and had much influence from Kung Fu in its development. The initial practice of Karate was known as “te”, and after mingling with practitioners in Chinese martial arts, it absorbed and improvised its own techniques to become what is now known as Karate.

Different Skillsets

Kung Fu

Kung Fu’s basic goal is protection against opponents and to quickly disable them. Kung Fu is a defensive and reactive art.

Kung Fu is made up of blocks and evasions, answered by strikes. Unlike Karate, Kung Fu encourages takedown skills and joint locks. Kung Fu movements are fluid, circular and lateral, which differentiates from the more linear movements of Karate.

Kung Fu is made up of punches, jabs, and kicks, which is similar to Karate. But, unlike Karate, some forms of Kung Fu focus on physical motions that replicate animal movements.


Karate’s style was developed and influenced greatly by Chinese fighting systems, such as Kung Fu. Karate is a more linear and offensive style compared to Kung Fu. Karate is made up of distinct stop-and-go movements that build up a lot of its power from forward momentum. 

Karate’s focus is on striking your opponent with damage and avoiding your opponent’s strikes. Karate motions place an emphasis on kicks, punches and open-handed movements. Blocking and sweeps are also important techniques to learn in Karate.

Karate is well known for its rigid forms of techniques and styles, focusing on proper form and self-control to build discipline in the student.

The Uniform

Kung Fu

Kung Fu practitioners wear a two-piece suit with different coloured loose-fitting tops. The pants are also typically loose-fitting, featuring an elastic band around the waist for easy movement.

Kung Fu also features shoes, gloves and belts. Certain forms of Kung Fu, such as Sanda, require headgear.


The Karate uniform is made up of a loose-fitting robe, pants and a coloured belt. The belt denotes the skill level of the student.

There are no shoes in Karate, but the Kumite style typically includes gloves and foot guards.


Both Karate and Kung Fu are equally rewarding and fulfilling martial arts to practice. There is no one better than the other. Whether you want to practice Kung Fu or Karate, you will earn valuable skills and benefits.

Both are strong martial art techniques with a strong emphasis on self-defence. Kung Fu is a broad range of different styles, whereas Karate is a striking art with power and speed. Which art you are more inclined to, is up to you.

If you are interested in joining a Karate Dojo in Vancouver, The Powerhouse Academy has programs for all ages and skill levels to help develop and start your Karate journey.

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