September 4, 2022

Karate Vs Boxing: Differences & Power

For a mixed martial arts player, it can be a considerable choice to select any one form of martial arts, over the other. Apart from personal preference, a martial art needs to be chosen on some solid grounds. In either world, punching occupies a major score for any player as one of the most effective ways to put down the opponent.

The truth is, both the forms of martial arts own a unique and distinct style of punching. However, it is what makes it work for those sports that matter. It is basically the difference between a good and a bad fighter.

Even so, karate usually happens to be a better form of martial arts as compared to boxing. This is mainly because of the variety in attacking techniques that he would be equipped with. In a fight between a boxer and a karate champion, the latter is likely to have the upper hand.

A boxer usually only has a bunch of strikes and punches in his training to charge on the karate champ. This is where a shortfall arises for the players. The lack of attacking techniques might be a major disadvantage for the boxer.

Let us go through a sequential evaluation of both to understand which of them fares better. By the end, we might have a winner at hand.

boxing vs karate

Karate & Boxing

Karate: The Japanese martial arts form lays a lot of focus on self defense and attacking techniques. Using a sequence of blocking and offensive techniques, a player aims to overpower his opponent and cause him to lose.

Boxing: Popular as a combat sport, boxing is as simple as fighting using fists. Boxing techniques have evolved to a large extent over the last few years. Usually, boxing takes place within an enclosure, called the ring.

Karate Punch vs Boxing Punch

Let us get into some basic details about the punches used in either sport.

Karate broadly makes use of straight line and curved punches. However, boxing punches are mostly jabs or follow through punches. There is in fact, some overlap between both the martial arts in this context.

Karate Punch
Boxing Punch

We can draw a parallel between jabs and straight line punches. In karate, a player can throw a straight line punch from basically any position. He might do so to protect himself or give momentum to his next move. Jabs in case of boxing are just basic punches, which don’t really result in a lot of velocities. Jabs do not really give the player enough thrust to make an impact on the opponent.

In boxing, a player is most likely not to stop their punches at a predetermined point. It is the opposite in the case of karate. Usually, after a punch has made contact with a player, the player retracts it to make a second blow. Usually, this technique is not followed in a game of karate.

When it comes to punching, the force does not matter as much as the technique you use to hit your opponent.

Another technique that’s often compared to Karate is dirty boxing, you can read more on the subject here.

Boxing and Karate Stance

When it comes to boxing stance, there are very few techniques that a player needs to master. For the most part of it, a player needs to master evasive techniques and punches. Due to the lack of variety in the techniques, a player has quite a lot of time on his hand to master his punches and jabs. Boxing is more about the self defense of the player.

In comparison, karate is an all round sport which involves the use of whole body for combat. It involves more attacking stances than self defense.

Which is better for Self defense?

Speaking truly, this is a whole wide subjective matter. When it comes to self defense, a lot depends upon the ability of a player to be self aware of his situation. His preventive techniques have a lot more to say about his chances of winning.

However, if we were to speak strictly in terms of the form of martial arts, here is our say.

For a karate player, Dojo skills can give the player a competitive edge over the opponent. At the same time, the quality of your training will impact your ability to defend yourself.

The reason why Dojo can get you out of a tough spot is because of a full contact strike on the opponent. It creates a high degree stress on the opponent and gives you room to defend.

There is no such speciality in boxing which is pure punching and striking. If you can train yourself well enough to do that then maybe it would be better for you.

The bottom line, however, remains clear on this note. As long as a karate player is able to find a dojo that trains him with the right skills and techniques, you will find yourself in a better position to defend yourself with karate.

We put the matter to rest with the idea that perfection comes only with practice.

Which is better for Street Fight?

When it comes to a street fight, you may find your training going down the drain. A street fight is mostly unregulated and open to modulation from both players. The simple algorithm that guides a street fight is that both the players try to inflict maximum damage on their opponent.

A boxer is most likely to bring down the distance between himself and his opponent. This is what they are really trained for. This is where a boxer is most likely to have an advantage over a karate player. He can bring him down in a matter of time quite easily. However, it would matter how well they are able to defend themselves.

A karate player, on the other hand, might have an upper hand in terms of the moves. However, what really matters here is how well he is able to charge upon his opponent and grab the score.

In a street fight, no one would be counting the scores or checking the strikes. It all comes down to the impact of every move that a player makes, which matters.


If it comes down to a professional fight between a boxing professional and a karate champion, the combination of self defence and attacks would decide the outcome of the match.

The karate champion would have the upper hand in terms of attack forms. He would be more well versed with fighting techniques as compared to a boxer. This is most likely to be the reason why a karate champ is able to defeat a boxer.

Karate incorporates a whole basket of techniques which a player can train in. These techniques provide a wider scope to overpower an opponent during a fight.

In the end, many people might choose either of karate or boxing, based on personal interest. Or else, they may also choose the former, based on its fighting diversity. Or, boxing, for its punching techniques.

Have you ever trained in karate or boxing? Which of the two do you find best for training in martial arts? Do share with us below.

More Comparisons

Eugene Hardy

Eugene is a professional Muay Thai fighter, with several years of experience. Also, a black belt holder. He actively participates in tournaments and provides training to his students. Eugene started this blog to share his experiences with Martial Arts.

View all posts by Eugene Hardy →

One thought on “Karate Vs Boxing: Differences & Power

  1. Most Karatekas don’t have a flipping clue how to fight. I’m qualified to say so because I was one. The main problem is that traditional karate and kung fu doesn’t teach you practical footwork that you can actually because the practical application has become stylised. They don’t understand that attack and defence (not this stupid safe space karate we see in tournaments) is simultaneous in real situations. It is no good being able to deliver a whole Swiss Knife of hand and foot attacks if the fundamentals of covering ground, evading and defending and effective attacking simply are not taught. While a traditional artist would win a flexibility contest, they comparatively unfit, poorly conditioned and have poor eating habits. The traditional karate punch looks pretty for kata but fails to teach practitioners to use their weight to land effective punches. Worse still is that most can’t even take a punch because their sparring is practically a joke.

    I have huge respect for the culture of traditional martial arts. They teach humility, focus and self-improvement. I want traditional schools to flourish because they have so much depth and teach lessons that boxing gyms don’t. I don’t think that mixed martial arts meets the needs of most people but the fundamentals of movement need to be taught. It is no good for senseis teach their students to win at tournament facing opponents doing the same style. Martial means war, not sport. Traditional schools should keep the best elements of their styles and scrap elements in the syllabus which don’t make sense. Traditional stances and strikes teach strength and flexibility, but they need to be taught in context. So many senseis deserve to get punched in the face because they are full of hubris when it comes to the importance their style. In real life, most won’t last 3 rounds against a real boxer.

    Due to the knowledge deficit, it is necessary for serious student of martial arts (just because you have been practising your style for 15 years doesn’t make you one), to cross train until dojos start teaching the basics right in both stand up and ground based fighting. Nobody cares what belt you when you need to defend yourself!

    At the same time, classic boxers (huge respect to them) will unlock their full fighting potential by learning more attack and defence forms. I don’t believe you need to know that many to be deadly if you move effectively.

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