What are the differences between Taekwondo and MMA?

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 Taekwondo is one of the few traditional martial arts that has found its place in modern MMA fighting. Over the years, there have been many MMA fighters with a Taekwondo strong background who are doing well in professional contests. Taekwondo is a very effective martial art. Today we shall discuss differences between Taekwondo and MMA

History of Taekwondo

North Korean born Choi Hong Hi is widely acknowledged as the founder of tae kwon do.  

Taekwondo (Way of kick and fist art) was developed by South Korean Army General Choi Hong Hi in 1955 as a combination of a Korean form, taek kyon, and the Japanese discipline karate. It is a method of unarmed combat intended for self-defence. Later, he defected to North Korea. 

Choi Hong Hi’s early life is historic. He was born on Nov. 9, 1918, in the Myong Chun district of what is now North Korea. According to credible stories narrated by his followers, he was a sickly but willful child who understood wrong and right in politics. He led a protest rally against the occupying Japanese. As a consequence he was expelled from school at age 12. He was an important figure in the history of the Korean martial arts of Taekwondo. Notwithstanding, he is controversial due to his attempt to introduce the martial art to North Korea and his defection.

Taekwondo soon successfully spread around the United States. The founder of Korean national martial artist Choi 

died of cancer on 15 June 2002 in Pyongyang, North Korea, receiving a state funeral in the Patriotic Martyrs’ Cemetery.

MMA Fighting Disciplines

Mixed martial arts is essentially a sport in which fighters are allowed to use techniques from any martial discipline, such as boxing, karate, jiu jitsu, Judo wrestling to compete under rules that allow kicking, punching and grappling techniques, both stand-up and on the ground. Taekwondo is also one of them, an MMA fighter can use it for defence purposes. 

The use of kicks and fists (taekwondo) are an integral part of MMA fighting, and the Korean martial art is solely focused on kicking, which makes it an excellent base to build on in MMA, especially for defence.

Differences between MMA and Taekwondo

Despite Taekwondo maintaining distance, it is a combative contact sport. Unlike MMA fighters, Taekwondo competitors wear body, headgear and shin protectors, as well as mouth guards, gloves and a groyne guard to protect themselves from injury during a fight. Taekwondo has a reputation for being a competitive sport. This martial art emphasises kicks over all other techniques. Since human legs are usually longer than his arms, it is a great martial art to keep would-be attackers from getting close to him.

Taekwondo is an integral part of MMA. Mixed Martial Arts are a combination of several popular martial arts. Taekwondo is one of them. It is designed specially for defence purposes. For example, kicking and fisting before being attacked by the opponent. Kicking and using fists onto the face are one of the serious inflictions. But it is not a complete fighting technique as MMA is. Because it lacks offensive art of fight, including the ground fights, where most of the fighters completely submit.

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has other options. It can work without Taekwondo. There are a bunch of traditional martial arts other than Taekwondo to fight with for both stand-up and on the ground fights. It could be replaced by Karate and MuayThai. MMA is highly rich with all the techniques it needs to use it in a competitive fight.Taekwondo fighters use all possible protections. It emphasises on safety, while MMA seriously lacks safety measures. 

Taekwondo at the Summer Olympics made its first appearance as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. On the other hand, although the Olympic Games include several combat sports, Mixed Martial Arts isn’t yet one of them. 

Safety Difference between MMA and Taekwondo

Since fighters of Taekwondo use all needful protection, so that they can be safe from injury. They enjoy a low risk of concussion and other injuries due to wearing proper protection. 

On the other hand,  MMA is about as dangerous as any other full contact sport. Like in sports such as boxing, hockey and football MMA athletes are prone to a wide variety of injuries ranging from mild sprains to brain injuries such as concussions. MMA fighters are even more vulnerable to injuries than regular athletes. This is because they cannot wear headgear even if they want to. Wearing headgear is impractical and even dangerous because it doesn’t actually prevent head trauma.  Rather, it might actually make the head trauma worse. In terms of safety, this is the big difference between MMA and Taekwondo.


Every sport has its own usefulness and rules to be followed. Taekwondo is still played in more than 150 countries, including South Korea where the combat sport originated. The Eastern sport merged with the Western MMA to be an essential part of it. The big difference between MMA and Taekwondo is safety issues. MMA is a much more extreme kind of sport than Taekwondo. 

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