Ways to compare sport Taekwondo and traditional Taekwondo
Sport Taekwondo is primarily concerned with competition so training is geared toward how to scores points in competitions.
Tradition Taekwondo is primarily concerned with self-defense so training is geared more toward preventing an attacker from harming you and insuring the attacker cannot continue the attack. Competition is an integral part of the training, but it does not take presence.
Sport Taekwondo patterns were created primarily to differentiate them from the traditional patterns. They are performed using short, narrow stances, and smooth movements, with an emphasis on speed and agility rather than on power. Kicks are high with more emphasis on kicking techniques than on hand techniques. Most techniques are at close-range with emphasis on power with minimum movement of the stance, hips, shoulders, etc. Techniques are delivered with smooth, quick, whip-like, speed. The fighting philosophy is that a fight is continuous action with both withdrawals and attacks over the course of the fight.
Traditional Taekwondo patterns have been used since the conception of the art. Since Taekwondo was heavily influenced by Shotokan karate, these patterns closely resemble the way karate patterns are performed. They are performed using wide, deep stances and linear movements, with emphasis on power rather than on speed and agility. Kicks are low and there is more emphasis on hand techniques than on kicking techniques. Movement is usually toward the attacker followed by a block and counterattack. Whereas, karate practitioners usually move into a new stance and then attack, in Taekwondo, the movement and the attack are simultaneous and, at moment of impact, the movement ends in the new stance. Most movements are performed with powerful, relentless, direct, piston-like attacks delivered with precision, focus, and power, which are directed against both short and long-range targets. The fighting philosophy is “one punch—one kill” where every attack is delivered with the power needed to take the attacker out of the fight.