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Taekwondo, the national sport of Korea, is renowned for its explosive and powerful kicks. With a rich history and a strong emphasis on kicking techniques, Taekwondo kicks are essential for both self-defense and competitive purposes.

In this list, I will explore the names in English and in the Korean language, provide a detailed description of each kick, discuss their posture and position, and highlight their practical applications in various situations.

Man using Taekwondo Kicks on a puching bag

Introduction to Taekwondo Kicks

Now, as a proud dad of a little 7-year-old boy who has a red belt in Taekwondo, I can attest to the benefits and excitement that come with practicing this martial art. Being a Taekwondo student has not only provided my son with self defense skills but has also instilled discipline, confidence, and respect in him.

Living in Korea, where Taekwondo is the national sport and dojos(Taekwondo schools) are scattered throughout every neighborhood, I have personally witnessed the dedication and passion that students bring to their training.

As someone who has experience in Muay Thai, Hapkido, and Jiu Jitsu, I can confidently say that Taekwondo holds a special place in the world of martial arts, with its unique focus on powerful kicks and impressive demonstrations.

1. Front Kick (Ap Chagi,앞 차기)

English Name: Front Kick

Korean Name: Ap Chagi

Description

The front kick, or Ap Chagi in Korean, is one of the basic kicks in Taekwondo. It involves raising the knee and extending the leg forward to strike the target with the ball of the foot. The standing foot remains firmly planted on the ground, providing stability and balance during the execution of the kick. The front kick can be delivered at different heights, targeting the lower torso, midsection, or head of an opponent.

Practical Application

The front kick is versatile and is one of the first kicks students learn. It can be used for both offensive and defensive purposes. It is effective for creating distance between the practitioner and the opponent, as well as for striking vulnerable areas such as the groin or solar plexus. In Taekwondo competitions or promotion tests, the front kick is often utilized to score points by striking the target area designated by the rules.

Technique and Position

To execute a powerful front kick, start by raising the knee of the kicking leg, keeping it bent at a 90-degree angle. Extend the leg forward in a snapping motion, aiming to strike the target with the ball of the foot. Maintain a straight posture and engage the core muscles for stability. The supporting leg should remain firmly planted on the ground, providing a solid base.

2. Roundhouse Kick (Dollyo Chagi,돌려 차기)

English Name: Roundhouse Kick

Korean Name: Dollyo Chagi

Description

The roundhouse kick, known as Dollyo Chagi in Korean, is a powerful kick that involves a circular motion of the leg. It is executed by swinging the leg in an arc, aiming to strike the target with the instep or the ball of the foot. The roundhouse kick can be delivered with either the lead leg or the rear leg, offering different angles of attack.

Practical Application

The roundhouse kick is a fundamental kick in Taekwondo, used in both self-defense scenarios and competitive sparring. It allows the practitioner to generate significant power and reach, making it effective for striking opponents at various distances. In Taekwondo demonstrations, the roundhouse kick is often showcased for its impressive technique and visual impact during different situations.

Technique and Position

To perform a roundhouse kick, start by pivoting on the standing foot, and rotating the hips and shoulders in the direction of the kick. Raise the knee of the kicking leg, then extend the leg outward in a circular motion, aiming to strike the target with the instep or the ball of the foot. Maintain a balanced stance and keep the non-kicking hand up for protection.

3. Crescent Kick (Bandal Chagi, 반달 차기)

English Name: Crescent Kick

Korean Name: Bandal Chagi

Description

The crescent kick, referred to as Bandal Chagi in Korean, is a unique kick that follows a curved trajectory. It involves sweeping the leg in an arcing motion, aiming to strike the target with the instep or the ball of the foot. The crescent kick can be executed with the lead leg or the rear leg, offering different angles of attack.

Practical Application

The crescent kick is a versatile kick that can be used for both offensive and defensive purposes. It is effective for targeting an opponent’s head, neck, or ribs. Additionally, the crescent kick can be utilized to counter an opponent’s strikes or to create openings for follow-up techniques.

Technique and Position

To perform a crescent kick, start by raising the knee of the kicking leg, keeping it bent at a 90-degree angle. Swing the leg outward in a circular motion, aiming to strike the target with the instep or the ball of the foot. Maintain a balanced stance and engage the core muscles for stability. The non-kicking hand can be used for balance or as a defensive tool.

4. Axe Kick (Naeryeo Chagi,내려 차기)

English Name: Axe Kick

Korean Name: Naeryeo Chagi

Description

The axe kick, known as Naeryeo Chagi in Korean, derives its name from the motion of swinging an axe downward. It involves extending the leg upward and then driving it downward in a chopping motion, striking the target with the heel of the foot. The axe kick can be executed in various directions, such as inward, outward, or straight up and down.

Practical Application

The axe kick is a powerful and intimidating kick that can be used to strike an opponent’s head, collarbone, or shoulder. It is often employed as a surprise attack, catching the opponent off guard with its downward trajectory. The axe kick is also effective for breaking techniques and can be utilized in self-defense scenarios.

Technique and Position

To perform an axe or cut kick, start by raising the knee of the kicking leg, bringing it up as high as possible. Extend the leg upward, then drive it downward in a chopping motion, aiming to strike the target with the heel of the foot. Maintain a balanced stance and engage the core muscles for stability. The non-kicking hand can be used for balance or as a defensive tool.

Group of Young guys practicing Taekwondo kicks

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5. Flying Side Kick (Nalla Chagi, 날라 차기)

English Name: Flying Side Kick

Korean Name: Nalla Chagi

Description

The flying side kick, known as Nalla Chagi in Korean, is a dynamic and aerial kick that combines a jumping motion with a sidekick. It involves leaping into the air, extending the leg sideways, and striking the target with the heel or the ball of the foot. The flying side kick requires explosive power, balance, and precision.

Practical Application

The flying side kick is a high-risk, high-reward technique that can be used to surprise opponents, cover significant distances, and deliver devastating strikes. It is often employed in Taekwondo demonstrations and exhibitions to showcase the skill and athleticism of the practitioner. In self-defense scenarios, the flying side kick can be utilized to create distance or disable an attacker.

Technique and Position

To perform a flying side kick, start by jumping off the standing leg, extending the kicking leg sideways in a sidekick motion. Aim to strike the target with the heel or the ball of the foot, generating maximum power and accuracy. Maintain a balanced posture during the jump and engage the core muscles for stability. Land softly on the supporting leg after delivering the kick.

6. Reverse Side Kick (Dwi Chagi, 뒤 차기)

English Name: Reverse Side Kick

Korean Name: Dwi Chagi

Description

The reverse side kick, referred to as Dwi Chagi in Korean, is a powerful and deceptive kick that involves striking the target with the heel of the foot. It is executed by turning the body away from the target, chambering the knee, and extending the leg backward in a sidekick motion. The reverse side kick can catch opponents off guard and deliver significant force.

Practical Application

The reverse side kick is an effective technique for striking opponents who are behind the practitioner or attempting to flank them. It can be used for both offensive and defensive purposes, providing an opportunity to neutralize threats from unexpected angles. The reverse side kick is often employed by experienced martial artists in self-defense scenarios and competitive sparring.

Technique and Position

To execute this kicking technique, start by turning the body away from the target, positioning the kicking leg behind the body. Chamber the knee of the kicking leg, then extend the leg backward in a sidekick motion, aiming to strike the target with the heel of the foot. Maintain a balanced stance and engage the core muscles for stability. The non-kicking hand can be used for balance or as a defensive tool.

7. Knee Strikes (Moreup Chigi, 무릎 치기 )

English Name: Knee Strikes

Korean Name: Moreup Chigi

Description

Knee strikes, known as Moreup Chigi in Korean, are close-range techniques that involve striking the target with the knee. They are executed by bringing the knee upward in a thrusting motion, aiming to strike vulnerable areas such as the groin, abdomen, or solar plexus. Knee strikes can be delivered with either the lead leg or the rear leg.

Practical Application

Knee strikes are highly effective in close-quarters combat, allowing the practitioner to generate significant force and disrupt an opponent’s balance. They are particularly useful in self-defense scenarios, where the close proximity to the attacker limits the range of other striking techniques. Knee strikes can be employed by martial artists from various disciplines, including Taekwondo, Muay Thai, and mixed martial arts.

Technique and Position

To perform a knee strike, start by raising the knee of the kicking leg, bringing it upward in a thrusting motion. Aim to strike the target with the bony part of the knee, generating maximum impact. Maintain a balanced posture and engage the core muscles for stability. The non-kicking hand can be used for balance or as a defensive tool.

More Different Kicks

8. Cha Busigi (차부시기)

Name in English: Stamping Kick

Description

This kick involves a stamping motion using the ball of the foot (Balkal) in a downward direction.

Practical Application

It’s often used to attack an opponent’s lower body or to disrupt their balance.

Technique and Position

The kicking leg is raised and then thrust downward forcefully, aiming to strike the target with the ball of the foot.

9.Bandae Golcha Chagi (반대골차기)

Name in English: Reverse Hooking Kick

Description

This kick involves a hooking motion using the heel (Dwitchook) in a reverse direction.

Practical Application

It’s effective for targeting an opponent’s side or back.

Technique and Position

The kicking leg is raised and then swung in a hooking motion towards the target, often performed with a pivot of the supporting foot.

10. Bituro Chagi (비투로 차기)

Name in English: Twisting Kick

Description

This kick involves a twisting motion of the body while executing the kick, typically using the instep (Apkumchi).

Practical Application

It’s versatile and can be used to strike various targets, such as the torso or head.

Technique and Position

The kicking leg is raised, and the body twists while extending the leg towards the target, striking with the instep.

2 Taekwondo fighters in a competition

11. Sewo Chagi (세워차기)

Name in English: Vertical Kick

Description

This kick involves a straight upward motion using the instep (Apkumchi) of the foot.

Practical Application

It’s useful for targeting an opponent’s lower body or for defensive purposes.

Technique and Position

The kicking leg is lifted straight up, striking the target with the instep in a vertical motion.

12. Cha Mum Chagi (차머리차기)

Name in English: Checking Kick

Description

This kick is used to check or block an opponent’s movement by extending the leg outward.

Practical Application

It’s employed defensively to create distance or disrupt an opponent’s attack.

Technique and Position

The kicking leg is extended outward to block or push against the opponent, often targeting their legs or midsection.

13. Goro Chagi (고로차기)

Name in English: Sweeping Kick

Description

This kick involves a sweeping motion aimed at knocking an opponent’s body off balance or to the ground.

Practical Application

It’s used to disrupt an opponent’s stance or to set up for a follow-up attack.

Technique and Position

The kicking leg is swung in a wide arc towards the opponent’s legs, typically targeting below the knee to sweep them off their feet.

Conclusive Kick!

Taekwondo offers several types of kicks that are essential for students of all levels. From fundamental techniques like the front kick to the dynamic Sweeping kick, each kick has its unique characteristics.

By mastering these Taekwondo kicks, martial artists can enhance their combat skills, improve their physical fitness, and gain a deeper understanding of the art of Taekwondo. Whether in self-defense scenarios or competitive sparring, these kicks showcase the power, agility, and precision inherent in the martial art of Taekwondo.

Whether you’re a seasoned Taekwondo practitioner or someone interested in exploring this dynamic martial art, embrace the challenge, elevate your skills, and let the spirit of Taekwondo guide you on an awesome journey of self-discovery and personal growth. So, put on your dobok, step onto the mat, and unleash the full potential of your powerful weapons.

“The journey of a thousand kicks begins with a single step.” – Unknown

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