One of the most challenging things when trying to learn more about all of the systems of martial arts in the world is telling the difference between all the names.
Many of them have similar-sounding names; we can see this clearly when comparing ‘tantōjutsu’ and Taekwondo.
So what exactly is the difference between these two forms of martial arts? If you’re wondering about this question then you’ve come to the right place!
In this article we’re going to be taking you through everything there is to know about tantōjutsu vs. taekwondo – how they are similar, how they are different, and which one might be the better choice for you to choose as your next discipline.
What Is Tantōjutsu?
Tantōjutsu differs from a lot of other martial arts because it’s not really a martial art in itself, but more of a system of weapon-based fighting that can be found within other martial arts such as Bushido, Aikido, or Shasima Shin–Ryu (You might also want to check out Karate Vs. Tantōjutsu – What Is The Difference?).
The best way to remember what Tantōjutsu is is to look at the name. A Tantō is a small sword the size of a dagger that was used by the samurai class of feudal Japan.
When you think of samurai, the first weapon you likely picture is the katana blade, but this is actually only one of two that they would use.
The Tantō is a smaller blade that is used for close-quarters combat, usually when one samurai was disarmed or needed to get in close for short attacks or fast kills.
The word ‘Jutsu’ translates to ‘technique,’ so Tantōjutsu is the technique of fighting with a Tantō blade.
So then, if you were to learn Tantōjutsu, what are the skills that would be passed down to you?
You’re likely to learn close combat techniques when fighting another combatant with a Tantō blade, or how to get in close with somebody wielding much larger weapons.
The main skills involved with Tantōjutsu are to do with distance control, self-defense against a weapon, and how to end a fight quickly.
If you were to learn Tantōjutsu you would likely start with wooden blades that allow you to train safely.
Some who specialize in this martial art are more likely to move on to dulled metal blades, though only when they can use them safely with their training partners.
Tantōjutsu was once a martial art that was used to teach real samurai how to fight and kill with sharp blades, though the practical use for this has mostly faded and it’s unlikely you’ll ever be able to train with real Tantō blades.
What Is Taekwondo?
Taekwondo is one of the most popular martial arts in the world.
It originated in Korea in the early to late sections of the 20th century and has since spread to other parts of the world; picking up in the west after the great martial arts boom of the 1970s and 1980s.
Taekwondo is a system that stems from a few older martial arts such as karate, kung-fu, and others.
The real modern form of Taekwondo that most students will learn today manifested in the 1950s, and since then has grown and flourished.
Taekwondo most clearly differentiates itself from other forms with its emphasis on distance control, kicking, and fast strikes.
If you were to join a Taekwondo school you are most likely to learn techniques ranging from simplistic turning and head kicks, all the way up to more visually impressive techniques like spinning kicks.
Like most martial arts, Taekwondo students are not only taught how to fight in a specific way but also how to conduct themselves and look after their bodies.
Respect is a big part of Taekwondo, and practices such as bowing and giving proper dues to your fellow students and instructors are of utmost importance.
What Is The Main Difference, And Which Should You Choose?
Choosing between these two martial arts is actually a more simple question than you might think.
Tantōjutsu involves itself primarily with weaponry, and Taekwondo is all about hand-to-hand combat – so the one you pick is going to depend on what you value more.
One note about Tantōjutsu is that it is a lot rarer martial art to study.
Whilst many popular martial arts (such as Aikido) will include it as part of their syllabus, finding a pure Tantōjutsu school can be difficult depending on where you live.
Taekwondo on the other hand is one of the most popular martial arts and there are usually multiple schools within a city.
If you’re trying to work out which will be the more practical martial art for real-life, self-defense situations – this too depends on what you’re looking for.
If you want to learn about knife defense, then Tantōjutsu is going to give you some skills. If you want to learn how to keep distance in a hand-to-hand situation then Taekwondo is a great pick.
If you’re a martial artist who is looking to add another skill set to your repertoire (perhaps for Mixed Martial Arts) Taekwondo is going to be much more valuable than Tantōjutsu as there are few forms of contact competition that use weaponry.
Both martial arts can be a great addition to your life. Both will give you a sense of community, structure, and physical exercise, as well as skillsets that can help massively in real-life, self-defense situations.
Which one is better is going to depend on your own personal tastes and goals, so it’s important to consider this carefully before making a decision!
We hope that this article has given you all the information you wanted to know about the differences between these two systems and that you’re now more confident about being able to tell them apart.
We wish you the best of luck on your martial arts journey and hope that you pick the perfect one for you!