Difference Between Aikido and Karate

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    Aikido vs Karate

    Aikido and Karate are popular martial arts which are practiced by many people worldwide. Their martial art concepts come from opposite ends of the softness/hardness spectrum. Aikido is considered as ‘soft’ martial art while karate is classified as ‘hard’ technique. However, both of them share many similarities.

    A lot of people believe that Aikido is a very passive technique; however, it is actually a dangerous technique. The base principle of Aikido comes from the main martial art concept: to kill an opponent. According to an Aikido teacher, any untrained person doesn’t know how to fall and go with the throws. The untrained can easily break his/her neck, back or joints. On the other hand, many people view Karate as a hard technique. However, at technical and mental levels, Karate takes a softer appearance.

    At the beginning, a karate student needs to execute basic punches to develop muscular strength. This basic movement also helps a practitioner to relax while punching and putting strength only at the end. Then, he needs to align his punches with his body movement. At the later part of the training, the student already knows how to execute a technique with relax muscles and posses great spirit. The punches generated during this stage looks soft but are actually very strong.

    In reality, only few Karate practitioners attain this level of technique. The Karate stylist needs to find the most economical and efficient way to execute punches through extensive training and proper state of mind.

    Aikido also shares this concept. Most Aikido techniques are based on square, triangular or circular movements. When a student starts to practice, he will perform techniques in a square formation. After several months of diligent practice, he may perform triangular techniques. Then, he will be introduced to circular movements as he progresses. At each level, all techniques are economically and efficiently taught to students using lesser amount of power.

    Although the training of Karate and Aikido is interpreted differently, the way their techniques evolve is almost the same. In each of their respective levels, a student graduates from a rigid and hard state into a more efficient, economical and relaxed state.

    Even the different levels of fighting ability and strategy of Karate and Aikido are similar. At the first level, a student needs to control his opponents through combinations of movements. When the opponent begins to attack, a student should hit him. On the next level, one needs to make his opponent immobile or used his attacker’s momentum against him. Lastly, the highest level is about the prevention of a confrontation and harmonizing the situation.

    Furthermore, the similarities between Aikido and Karate fall in these categories: thinking, alignment, connection, proper timing, distance and state of the body. A person needs to give up his life mentally before an opponent attacks him. In Japan, this is called mushin or a state of unconscious thinking.

    The core principles behind Karate and Aikido are employed in the same parameters. In both techniques, a practitioner needs to move his body in the most economical and efficient way without using resistance or external power. According to experts, the hips, body and mind move as one and are driven by an incredible internal spirit, which gives extraordinary feeling.


    1. Aikido is a soft technique which is based on the original concept of martial arts: to kill an enemy.

    2. Karate is a hard martial art technique that requires one to execute hard punches first to develop muscular strength.

    3. Both techniques require greater power of the mind than physical strength.

    4. Aikido and Karate shares many different things like training evolution, discipline and movement.

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