Difference between Tai Chi and Taekwondo

Key difference: A prominent point of difference between Tai Chi and Taekwondo is that the former originated in China, whereas the latter is a Korean martial art form.

The term Tai Chi, means the “supreme ultimate fist”. It is a discipline devoted to achieve unity and harmony between the mind and the body of a person. Tai Chi is highly influenced by the Taoist and Buddhist monasteries, and first originated in China. The basic tenets of Tai Chi include self-defense and maintenance of one’s health. The health here refers to the physical and also mental fitness of a person, which is why Tai Chi comprises of three important modules namely: health, meditation and martial arts.

The fundamental premise of Tai Chi is to be responsive and aware of the opponent’s vital energy, also known as ‘Chi’. Tai Chi teaches a person to anticipate and react to the opponent’s moves and movements, without instigating any on one’s own. It is the knowledge of using an opponent’s vital force to one’s advantage. Keeping this in mind, Tai Chi involves the practice of slow movements, which enable a person to learn the art of balancing himself/herself in all conditions, and also eliminate the risk of falling.    

Taekwondo literally means “the way of foot and fist”. It is a term made up of three Korean words: Tae, Kwon, and Do. Taekwondo first originated in the 1950’s, when it was being practiced as a martial art form, by the then South Korean military. Taekwondo is also known by names such as "The art of Kicking and Punching", or "The art of unarmed combat".

The reason behind this is that Taekwondo advocates physical attributes such as speed, strength, balance, flexibility, stamina, etc. This is precisely the reason why marital artistes have long and strong legs, which aid them in countering attacks and kicks from an opponent(s). Other than the internationally followed and practiced form of Taekwondo, another form of it is practiced, which is derived from Kukkiwon, the source of the sparring system, sihap gyeorugi.

Comparison between Tai Chi and Taekwondo:


Tai Chi



“supreme ultimate fist”

“the way of foot and fist”





Achieving internal and external stability.

Learning the essentials of combat and using them in one.


It is a soft and hard martial art form

It’s a hard martial art form

Other aspects

Health, meditation apart from martial arts.

Taekwondo is concerned only with martial arts.



Fast and energetic

Basic tenets

Mental and physical oneness.

Development of physical attributes such as speed, strength, balance, flexibility, stamina, etc.

Image Courtesy: thetaichicentre.co.uk, bluecottagetkd.com

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