How Many Types Of Punches Are There In Taekwondo? (Quick List)

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art which focuses on kicking and punching.

Taekwondo translates to ‘the art of kicking and punching’. The movements are fast and controlled and the training can be quite intensive. 

How Many Types Of Punches Are There In Taekwondo

A lot of people are enticed by Taekwondo because of the kicking strikes.

There are a lot of head height kicks and spin kicks which look exciting and impressive, like something out of a movie fight scene.

However, punching is also an important part of Taekwondo

We have put together this guide to tell you all about the punches in Taekwondo. Keep reading to find out more. 

Where Can You Punch In Taekwondo?

In Taekwondo you can kick your opponent in lots of different areas of the body.

This is not the case with punches. You can only punch them above the belt and you cannot punch your opponent in the head.

This means that you can punch their torso, shoulders, and arms.

If you punch your opponent in the wrong place in a fight then you will have points deducted from you. 

The exact rules for punching in Taekwondo can vary depending on which organization is refereeing the match.

Make sure you check this before you begin a fight or a class. 

Taekwondo Punches 

There are lots of different punches used in Taekwondo. Here are  some of the most commonly used punches in Taekwondo and what they are used for during a fight.  

Straight Punch 

The straight punch, also called the cross punch, is one of the most basic punches in Taekwondo.

It is very similar to the straight punch used in boxing. You stand with the dominant foot back and your other foot forward, and punch with your back hand.

You can also switch and use your less dominant hand to punch.

The rotation of your body generates the power for the strike, and you use your first two knuckles to make contact with your opponent. 

The best time to use the straight punch is when your opponent is moving toward you.

The combined momentum of their movement and the power from your rotation will result in a forceful strike. 


The jab is less about power and more about strategy.

It is a simple punch using your front arm, throwing it out in front of you in a fast and controlled movement to make contact with the opponent.

The force comes from the arm and the shoulder, but you need to retract the hand afterwards rather than following through. 

A jab can be used to measure the distance between you and your opponent, which will help you to place your next punch more accurately.

It can also be used to draw your opponent closer towards you, as they will advance for a counter strike which allows you to cut them off with a punch or a kick.

You could create a combination move of a left hand jab and then a right hand straight punch. 


The uppercut is quite a versatile punch as you can begin it from any position.

The punch comes from waist height and strikes your opponent in an upwards motion.

You can use either hand, and you can keep your arm close to your body or take it out wide to build up momentum. 

The uppercut will often take your opponent by surprise and the directional change can give you a big advantage for your next move, so it is best used as part of a combination.

If you are stuck too close to your opponent you can use an uppercut to temporarily disarm them, take a step back and then deliver a kick while they are still recovering. 

How Many Types Of Punches Are There In Taekwondo


The hook punch is named for two reasons – your arm creates a shape of a hook, but the strike allows you to hook over your opponent’s defensive stance.

Keep your arm bent and bring it out to your side, then use a swinging motion to forcefully strike your opponent from the side. 

The hook punch is ideal for close combat when you don’t have much distance to build momentum and power.

It is also great for striking your opponent side on rather than front on. 


To complete the hammerfist, you need to bring your arm down in the same motion as you would use to hammer a nail into a plank of wood.

Strike your opponent with the padded bottom part of your hand.

The gravity and momentum of your falling hand creates power, but it is still a controlled movement. 

This punch is a great one to use to break your opponent’s defensive barrier.

It can weaken the arm that is in front of them for protection, giving you a perfect opportunity to strike them while they are vulnerable.

Try following up the hammerfist with an uppercut or a hook to create an effective combination. 


There are three different types of Backfist punches. The classic punchfist is very similar to a jab punch.

It is performed with the front hand and arm, and it is a quick strike that is explosive but then retracted.

However, you strike the opponent with the back of your hand rather than the knuckles. 

Turn Backfist 

The turn backfist is a variation of the classic backfist.

This is when you complete a 180 degree turn before completing the strike, which helps to build up momentum and position your body.

This is ideal when used as part of a combination, perhaps after a kick. 

Spinning Backfist 

The spinning backfist takes the turn backfist a step further.

You strike your opponent after completing a 360 degree spin.

This often comes after a kick, sometimes a spinning kick.

By spinning your body you make it harder for your opponent to strike you as well as creating more power for your strike. 


Learning the basic punches can help you to get a good foundation in Taekwondo.

From here, you can begin to use combinations to really improve your skill and performance. 

Christopher Anderson
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