When contrasting two martial arts, there are bound to be tons of differences. Martial arts, particularly modern martial arts, are to an extent bound in mystery and secrecy. Some are thought to have been there for centuries, while in fact, they have been there since the end of World War II.
There are a plethora of martial arts that we can contrast and compare but today, the ones on the table are aikido and taekwondo. They are as different as martial arts can be and to get to know them better, we should examine what they want their practitioners to learn and what they are good at.
Aikido – A Modern Japanese Martial Art
Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art, one that was created by Morihei Ueshiba. Aikido was created in the period of between the 1920s and 1930s.
Ueshiba was influenced by the teachings of Onisaburo Deguchi, a spiritual leader and practitioner of the Ōmoto-kyō religion, which is a part of the neo-shinto religions.
These teachings were very important because they make aikido what it is, a martial art which focuses on defense and not harming the opponent in any way, but rather using their own energy to disarm and dissuade them. Actually, Deguchi gave Ueshiba connections in the military and elite societies, earning him financial backing and high-reputation students, some of which would go to form their own aikido styles later.
Taekwondo – Korean Military Fighting
Taekwondo literally means the art of kicking and punching, which sums up the martial art somewhat.
It dates back to World War II and was created in the 1940s and 1950s as a combat sport, influenced by Karate, various Chinese martial arts, as well as traditional Korean martial arts such as Taekkyon, Gwonbeop and Subak. It was created as a much needed traditional martial art to be taught to the military, after Japanese oppression was ended with the end of World War II.
Kicking and punching are already huge differences compared to aikido, but particularly the fact that free sparring is obligatory, with protective gear. Taekwondo in its rudimentary form, minus the competitive rules, is very dangerous and effective as a combat sport.
Aikido – Techniques and Their Use
Aikido is primarily a martial art that focuses on the flexibility of the body and its use to push the opponent away, using their own energy. In aikido, it is assumed that the opponent will atack, and that the defender and aikido practitioner will use that energy against the opponent, whether by pushing them away with a sharp turn, or grabbing one of their limbs or body parts and then using that energy to transition into a joint lock. Aikido does have some punching techniques, but they are not high on the priority list.
Katas practices are common between students, as is going through forms. Free sparring is uncommon but some aikido styles (namely those which combine aikido with other combat sports) add punching, kicking and sparring.
Taekwondo – Techniques and Their Use
Taekwondo relies on its theory of power which has six components such as reaction speed, concentration, equilibrium, breath control, mass and speed. Each of these is practiced through exercises, physical, as well as techniques. Taekwondo has many punching and kicking techniques and is particularly well-known for the kicks which go above the waistline, specifically to the head.
A typical taekwondo session has the practice of forms, which are similar to katas, then sparring, then breaking. Breaking is used to test the speed or power of one’s limbs, where they break boards and other objects.
Taekwondo and aikido are very different martial arts, but a practitioner should try both, whenever they get an opportunity.