Taekwondo is a martial art from Korea (not South Korea, just Korea, although taekwondo schools honor South Korea) that focuses on kicking, particularly kicking very high in the air. Spinning kicks characterize it as well. There is only one style of taekwondo; don't let the different federations confuse you. There's the World Taekwondo Federation and there's the International Taekwondo Federation. I can't explain it because it's really confusing, but there is only one taekwondo. There's no such thing as a World Taekwondo Federation school or an International Taekwondo Federation school - there's only ONE taekwondo. The ITF issues different uniforms, with a crossover top rather than a V-neck like World Taekwondo does, and ITF sparring isn't full contact like World Taekwondo sparring. The World Taekwondo Federation has the Taegeuk and Palgwae poomsae, or forms, and the International Taekwondo Federation has tul, or patterns, which I am not as familiar with but plan to look into after mastering the rest of the Taegeuk forms and all of the Palgwae forms. Anyway, I'll say it one more time: there ARE NOT two different styles. My school is more World Taekwondo than ITF since we have poomsae, not tul, as part of our curriculum and have Olympic-style sparring in our curriculum as well (ITF does sparring too, only they wear less protective gear, don't make as high a level of contact, and they punch more), and that is more common in my area. But I have this taekwondo book and the master who wrote it has a school that's more ITF. But it's the same martial art.
So basically, taekwondo = kicking. I wasn't flexible whatsoever when I started, but now I can easily kick at my instructor's head level. Not that I WANT to kick him in the head, he's a nice person! XD
Basic terminology and Korean phrases:
Thank you: gamsahamnida
I'm sorry: choesong hamnida
Karate is from Japan and/or Okinawa, depending on the style. Karate focuses equally on both kicking and punching. Forms in karate are called kata (example: Heian Sandan, the third Shotokan Karate kata), kicks are called geri (example: ushiro-geri, back kick), punches are called tsuki/zuki (examples: kage-zuki, hook punch), and stances are called dachi (examples: neko ashi dachi, cat stance). Your teacher is called sensei ("older person"). In Japan titles are added after a person's name (Yamamoto-sensei), but outside of Japan, typically a Western order is used (Sensei Yamamoto). Some teachers go by their first names, others by their last names. It varies depending on your school. Sometimes at a higher rank a teacher will go by his or her last name, but sometimes not. Again, it varies.