A kick is a kick and a punch is a punch. What makes a system of martial arts unique is the framework that holds the principles together and the objectives behind the moves. In Taekwondo, Judo, kickboxing and any other martial arts that makes competition the priority, winning the game is the primary driver and the techniques, philosophies and system objectives revolve around that mind set.
In competition orientated martial arts such as Taekwondo and Judo, there is physical improvement and there is spirit to continue, but Martial Sports can attract the physically strong and/or gifted. The strong win, the weak lose. Where ever you find any sport, ego is just around the corner. Taekwondo, Judo and Brazilian Ju Jitsu are great for health, fitness and vitality and if you are into sport can be fantastic fun. MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is the latest Martial Arts craze. It is robust, gets you fit, and can teach you good fighting techniques. The new students just needs to be mindful of the Instructors qualifications to teach.
Traditional/classical Martial Arts that have links to a line of legitimate teachers, such as Karate, Ju Jitsu, kenjutsu, Iaido, Wushu and others can best be described as the glue that holds it together. Which ever martial art you choose, it really has to fit your personality and reasons for training. Good luck with your quest for truth in Martial Arts.