Are Flying Kicks Banned In Taekwondo? (The Real Reason Explained)

There are many different types of martial arts taught across the world, and each one has its own unique features and moves.

Some martial arts will use a mixture of different strikes, while others will be more restrictive, only allowing certain types of strike or kick. 

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that was developed during the 1940s and 50s.

Are Flying Kicks Banned In Taekwondo?

It has a heavy focus on kicks, and is one of the martial arts known for having the fastest and most powerful kicks.

Unlike some other combat sports, Taekwondo has several rules denoting the types of kicks and strikes that are allowed. 

In this guide we will touch on some of the basic rules implemented in Taekwondo as well as which kicks are legal and which are not. 

What Is A Flying Kick?

There are many types of kick used in martial arts, and of them all, the flying kick is probably one of the hardest.

Flying kicks are defined as any kick that takes place following a jump while in midair.

Often the jump will be towards your target or opponents, and the idea is to use your forward momentum to deliver significantly more power. 

Performing a flying kick requires a great deal of agility so that you can jump high enough in the first place.

Once you can stay in the air for long enough, performing the actual kick is the easy part, depending on what it is. 

Martial artists will often practice bending one knee when they jump to act as a driving force upwards.

This gives the momentum and force needed to get high enough for performing a kick. Flying kicks are an integral part of Kung Fu, Kenpo, and Karate. (Find out Is Kung Fu Better Than Taekwondo?)

Are Flying Kicks Allowed In Taekwondo?

Yes, taekwondo is another martial art that makes full use of flying kicks to deal devastating blows to an opponent.

While some kicks are illegal to perform in Taekwondo, flying kicks are not one of them and can be carried out freely provided they meet certain criteria. (Find out How To Do A Butterfly Kick In Taekwondo)

To understand what these criteria are, our next section will cover the basic rules of Taekwondo. 

Taekwondo Rules

Taekwondo was developed as a combat sport, and as such is designed for sparring matches in front of an audience.

The Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA) is the oldest group related to this martial art, and they are the ones in charge of writing the rules. 

There are five main tenets of Taekwondo that all contestants are expected to uphold during their match.

These tenets are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit.

The main objective in Taekwondo is to score points by landing kicks and punches to scoring areas of your opponent’s body.

As such, a kick or strike will only earn points if it hits your opponent  in a specific place.

A match lasts for three rounds, with each round lasting 2 minutes, and the winner is decided at the end by whoever scored the most points. An early win will be declared if one contestant manages to knock the other out. 


There are three main ways to score points in Taekwondo, which are as follows: 

  • One point for a punch or basic attack to your opponent’s torso
  • Two points for a kick to the torso. 
  • Three points for landing a kick to your opponent’s head. 

As you can see, flying kicks are not only legal in taekwondo, but are actually very high scoring if you execute them properly.

Any kicks or strikes that land below the waist are illegal and are likely to incur a penalty. 

Furthermore, you are only allowed to punch your opponent’s torso, with the only attack you can use to hit their head being a kick.

Scoring is measured by an electronic scoreboard that responds to sensors in each contestants’ chest protector.

Head kicks need to be judged by a panel of 4 judges, if three of them agree that the kick was landed properly then the points will be awarded. 



You can lose points by carrying out illegal strikes, such as punches to the head or any attack aimed below the waist. Any strike with the knee is also illegal and likely to incur a penalty.

Finally, you are not allowed under any circumstances to push, grab, or hold onto your opponent, after all this isn’t wrestling. 

 The competition area often takes the form of a square crash mat measuring 8 meters (26 feet) squared.

Contestants will also earn penalties any time they step out of the arena with both feet.

Finally, you can earn penalties by turning your back on your opponent, as this is considered disrespectful and not in line with the five tenets. Similarly, penalties are also handed out if any of the contestants feign an injury. 

Equipment Used

As you can tell from the rules we have described thus far, taekwondo is a very intense combat sport and as such it is a good idea to wear the right equipment.

Contestants will often wear protective clothing for their chest, head, groin, forearms and shins.

Even though some of these areas aren’t legal targets, it is a good idea to protect them anyway.

Since many strikes will be aimed at your opponent’s head, many events will require combatants to wear mouth guards as well. 

What Happens In A Draw

In the event of a draw, a final golden round will be fought, with the first contestant to land a successful strike or kick being declared the winner. 


Flying kicks are not only legal in Taekwondo, they are one of the easiest means of hitting your opponent’s head and scoring maximum points.

While they are difficult to master, learning how to perform flying kicks will be essential for anyone who wants to compete in taekwondo events or competitions. 

If you do decide to take up this martial art, you will find it energetic, dynamic and a great source of exercise.

Just remember when you go to events to always uphold the five tenets of Taekwondo.

Christopher Anderson
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