Boxing vs. Karate

Boxing vs Karate

Boxing and karate are two of the most popular forms of self defense used around the world. Since they are the two of the most popular forms of self defense, it has often been debated which is better.

Here is a full breakdown of the old debate of boxing vs. karate. Check out everything you need to know about these martial arts below and their game plans for beating each other.

Boxing vs. Karate: The Histories

Before we go over the boxing vs. karate scenario, let’s talk a little about their histories. Here’s a short explanation of the history of each style below.

The History of Boxing

Boxing History

The history of modern boxing is a few hundred years old, but the art of boxing goes back centuries. Ever since people have existed, we have used our fists to go to war.

You can look at the history of nearly every culture that has ever existed and see they practiced forms of boxing. Modern boxing as we know it today started to become a sporting event during the 1700s and 1800s.

It started out as bare-knuckle boxing, but began to evolve and modernize. Welsh sportsman John Chambers came up with the first official rules of boxing known as the Queensberry Rules.

Many early organizers of boxing matches adopted these rules as boxing evolved into a legitimate sport. After official rules were established, the inclusion of everything from rings, boxing gloves, time limits, and weight classes were added.

As boxing was legitimized it became one of the biggest sports in the world. Since the early 1900s, fans have been packing arenas around the world to see the best boxers compete.

Today, there are tens of millions of boxing practitioners worldwide and many more who tune in for the big championship fights.

The History of Karate

Karate History

Many people believe that the Japanese form of self-defense known as karate is an ancient fighting style. In reality, the martial art is a little over a century old.

The martial art was first developed within the Japanese islands of Okinawa. Natives of the Ryukyu Islands within Okinawa practiced their own fighting style, which was mixed with styles of Kung Fu.

This blend of styles was possible due to the Chinese fisherman, who would travel to the island to trade. 

During the late 1800s to early 1900s, practitioners of this Okinawan fighting style began establishing their own fighting styles. The martial artists credited for developing karate included Itoso Anko, Gichin Funakoshi, Kenwa Mabuni, and Motobu Choki.

Funakoshi is considered among the most influential of the group, who introduced Karate to mainland Japan. After WW2, Karate was able to spread worldwide as American soldiers stationed in Okinawa were introduced to the martial art.

Within the next century, Karate exploded in popularity and is now practiced on nearly every continent. 

Boxing vs. Karate: The Differences

There are obviously a lot of differences between boxing vs. karate. Let’s take a look at some of the main differences between the fighting styles.

The Techniques 

From a glance, anyone can see the obvious difference between the two styles are the techniques. Boxing uses hand strikes, while karate uses both punching and kicking techniques within the martial art.

The sweet science of boxing is 100% punching techniques. Throwing prodding jabs to test the range before delivering devastating power punches.

Karate’s striking is a bit more complex, which uses a wide variety of punches and kicks. However, the punches are very similar to those used in boxing

Fighting Distances

Since boxing only uses punches, the fighting range is a bit closer than the range usually used in boxing. In karate, the use of kicks makes karate fighters tend to fight at a more distant fighting range.

The Uniforms

Another obvious difference is the uniforms that each fighting style uses. Boxers wear shorts and boxing shoes, while in karate, students wear a traditional karate gi 

The Equipment Used 

In boxing, boxers are required to wear boxing gloves to practice and compete in the sport. Within Karate, practitioners traditionally don’t use any type of protective equipment in practice. However, some students do wear point sparring gloves and shin guard during sparring.

Fighting Areas 

The fighting areas are also different between boxing vs. karate. In boxing, the boxers train and compete in boxing rings, while karate practitioners generally use an open mat. Some karate organizations do use boxing rings, but traditionally just use an open mat.

Ranking Systems

Ranking systems are another big difference between the two fighting styles. Within Karate, students are ranked by their belt color, which goes from white to black with different colors in between.

The art of boxing does not use a ranking system. What separates the level of boxers is amateur and professional. All boxers start out as amateur and the most skilled fighters make their way to the pro level.

Boxing vs. Karate: The Similarities

While it doesn’t seem like the two fighting styles have anything in common, they actually do share some similarities. Here are some of the main similarities between boxing vs. karate.

Striking Martial Arts

The main similarity that the two fighting styles share is that they are both striking martial arts. Within each martial art, the objective is to subdue an opponent using a variety of strikes. Boxing uses punches, while karate uses punches and kicks, but they have the same goal. 

Both Use Punching Techniques

Both fighting styles use punching techniques and karate even teaches the same punches that are used in boxing. The mechanics of the punches used in both styles are almost identical with the objective being to punch through the target.

Many karate practitioners will even practice boxing to develop better striking for their overall abilities in karate.

Karate Punch

Standing Only

Both martial arts are strictly done from the standing position. There are no takedown techniques taught in either boxing or karate.

Effective Forms of Self Defense 

Boxing and karate are both effective forms of self defense. Both fighting styles have been proven to be effective in different self defense situations. 

Both Practiced By Millions

Karate and boxing share the similarity of being two of the most practiced martial arts in the world. These fighting styles are both practiced on nearly every continent on the planet. 

Boxing vs. Karate: The Game Plans

If there was ever a situation where a boxer was facing a karate fighter, they would have to follow specific strategies. Here are the game plans for each side in a boxing vs karate matchup.

A Boxer’s Game Plan vs. Karate Fighter 

A boxer has the punching technique of any other martial art, but they can’t stay in a Karate fighter’s kicking range. To beat a karate fighter, a boxer will have to quickly close the range and jam the karate fighter.

Following this strategy will take a karate fighter’s kicks out of the fight and keep the battle in the boxer’s realm.

Karate Fighter Game Plan vs. Boxer

A karate fighter has a more well-rounded striking game than the boxer. If they’re facing a boxer, they know the boxer is going to want to exchange punches, so they must control the fight range.

To beat a boxer, they must keep the kicking range to get off their kicks. Boxers don’t know how to defend kicks, which will make the fight easier for the karate fighter.

The Verdict

In the unlikely event that a boxing vs. karate matchup were to happen, the winner would depend on the ruleset. If the match was under boxing rules, the boxer would have the advantage.

However, if the karate fighter was allowed to kick, this would drastically increase their chances of winning. Either way, it is a fact that both boxing and karate are effective forms of self-defense and worth learning.