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Tae Kwon Do Vs. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

author image Mike McLaughlin
Mike McLaughlin has been writing news, entertainment and sports articles since 1990. McLaughlin has written for “The Maine Campus,” “The Bangor Daily News" and various websites. McLaughlin is also a martial arts instructor and certified personal trainer. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an associate degree in filmmaking.
Tae Kwon Do Vs. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Tae kwon do practitioners can perform impressive kicks. Photo Credit: Hemera Technologies/ Images

Tae kwon do and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are widely practiced martial arts. Worldwide television viewers saw tae kwon do when it was fist demonstrated at the Summer Olympic Games in South Korea in 1988. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s popularity increased when its formidability was showcased in the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the 1990s. Both of these martial arts teach effective techniques, but tae kwon do and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu have vastly different approaches to fighting.

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According to the American Taekwondo Association, this art’s roots can be traced back to ancient Korea. The ATA says that documented history of tae kwon do began in the 1900s. The style was given its name when many of Korea’s martial arts styles were unified in 1955. Tae kwon do can be translated as “the way of the hand and the foot.” The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation says its grappling art was developed in the early 1900s. A Japanese judo and jujitsu master traveled to Brazil, where he taught Carlos Gracie. The Gracie family practiced these teachings and eventually developed their own style, which became Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Both tae kwon do and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu developed a belt-ranking system for the advancement of students.


Tae kwon do teaches several punching and blocking techniques, but the art’s primary focus is on kicking. If you watch a tae kwon do demonstration, you will likely see a variety of jumping and flying kicks. The roundhouse kick is frequently used in this martial art. This kick is performed by kicking horizontally at your opponent with the ball or top of your foot. The roundhouse kick is a fast, powerful kick that is often used to score points in tae kwon do competitions. Tae kwon do students also spend a lot of time practicing poomse. These choreographed routines help students refine their techniques.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Unlike tae kwon do, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu does not teach many kicks. Practitioners of this martial art do not even spend much time on their feet. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is primarily a ground-fighting art. If you study this art, you learn you how to do a variety of locks and chokes on the ground. For example, a popular technique is the triangle choke. This effective maneuver is performed be wrapping your legs around your opponent’s neck. You restrict blood flow to your opponent’s brain by squeezing his neck with your legs. The triangle choke can quickly render an opponent unconscious.


The winner of a battle between a tae kwon do fighter and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner is difficult to predict. To be successful, a tae kwon do fighter typically needs to keep his opponent at kicking range. A powerful kick delivered to the head can quickly knock out a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter. If a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner is able to close the gap and take a tae kwon do stylist to the ground, then the kicker is in trouble. Tae kwon do students do not typically spend much time learning how to defend themselves against locks and chokes on the ground.

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