Taekwondo is one of the most popular martial arts in the world, and many people are drawn to it by its fluid-yet-powerful techniques and impressive high kicks.
But if you aren’t familiar with Taekwondo, it can be hard to know where to even start with this martial art.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered. In this handy guide, we’ll take you through all there is to know about the basics of Taekwondo, from the techniques it uses to the principles it’s built on.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
What Is Taekwondo?
First things first – what exactly is Taekwondo?
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that primarily centers around the use of punches and kicks to strike the opponent; in fact, the word ‘Taekwondo literally translates to “the art of kicking and punching”!
However, Taekwondo isn’t just about beating up your opponent. Taekwondo is based on a set of principles, and these tenets play a large role in the fighting style of this martial art.
As a result, a large part of Taekwondo focuses on form and precise techniques while fighting. When put into practice, Taekwondo’s fighting style is fast and strong with a particular focus on head-height kicks.
The Five Principles Of Taekwondo
Before we can take a look at some of the basic techniques used in Taekwondo, we need to look at the tenets that Taekwondo is based on.
Taekwondo centers around five main principles. These tenets are Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control, and an Indomitable Spirit.
While it might seem like the principles of a martial art might not influence its fighting style, the five tenets of Taekwondo play a large role in the style and techniques used in the martial art.
As mentioned before, one of the main ways that Taekwondo’s principles influence its fighting style is through the focus on form and precision.
Taekwondo places a lot of emphasis on control, which is shown through the use of fast and powerful kicks to the head and drills for practicing form.
Another way the five principles of Taekwondo affect the martial art doesn’t actually concern fighting itself, but instead how fighters treat their opponents.
Because of Taekwondo’s emphasis on integrity and courtesy, treating your opponent with respect is just as important as the techniques you use against them.
What Are The Basic Techniques In Taekwondo?
Speaking of which, let’s take a look at the techniques used in Taekwondo!
Like we already covered, the main techniques used in Taekwondo are various punches and kicks.
However, there are many other techniques and moves in Taekwondo, such as blocks and stances.
Here, we’ll take you through some of the basic techniques in Taekwondo, as well as how they are used.
If you haven’t caught on by now, kicks are one of the most important techniques in Taekwondo.
There are a wide variety of kicks in Taekwondo, but most of them are intended to strike the head.
Kicks in Taekwondo are split into a series of smaller moves (remember, Taekwondo puts a lot of emphasis on form and technique).
Most kicks are broken down into four parts: a chamber (essentially a ready position), the kick itself, returning to the chamber position, and stepping down either forward or backward.
Some kicks have a slightly different structure with more or fewer moves, but these are typically more advanced techniques.
With practice, this four-part structure can be used to give the kick more momentum and fluidity, making it strike faster and harder.
The most basic kicks in Taekwondo include the front kick , the side kick, and the turning kick (also commonly referred to as a roundhouse kick).
These strike with different parts of the foot, and are used to serve different purposes such as pushing your opponent back or striking quickly at the opponent’s head.
Other basic kicks include the axe kick, which strikes straight down on the opponent’s head or shoulders, and a back kick – essentially a stronger version of a side kick that involves spinning around to give the kick far more momentum.
While kicks are the most important technique in Taekwondo, punches aren’t far behind.
Taekwondo uses several different punches and other strikes with a closed fist such as hooks and uppercuts.
In competitive matches, punches can only be aimed at the opponent’s body, while punches to the head and any strikes below the belt line are fouls.
This makes them slightly less useful compared to kicks, as the torso is a harder target to hit and requires you to get in closer range.
However, techniques like straight punches, hooks, and body shots are all very effective moves. Like kicks, punches in Taekwondo strike quickly but with a lot of power.
Technically, Taekwondo also includes techniques such as elbow strikes and knee strikes, but these aren’t permitted in competitive matches.
In general, only strikes with a closed fist are permitted in the rules of competitive Taekwondo. However, there is one exception – the ridge-hand strike.
This technique uses the ‘ridge’ of your hand (the tough area between your wrist and the base of your thumb) to strike at an opponent with a swinging motion.
Blocks play another important role in Taekwondo – after all, it’s no use knowing how to use attacks if you can’t defend yourself against them.
As Taekwondo mostly uses kicks to attack, blocks and guards are typically performed by using the arm to block contact to the body from an opponent’s kick.
For kicks aimed at the torso, shield blocks and low blocks are used for defense. Meanwhile, head-height kicks can be blocked with a simple cover.
Finally, we have stances. Here we return to Taekwondo’s emphasis on form: stances and footwork play a vital role in Taekwondo, influencing everything from evasion to the power of punches and kicks.
One of the most important rules of footwork in Taekwondo (as with most martial arts) is to never let your feet cross over. Maintaining a solid stance is as important for offense as it is for defense.
However, stances and proper footwork are most crucial while kicking – because of how Taekwondo kicks use momentum for increased speed and power, it can be easy to lose your balance without the right stance!
Now you know all there is to know about the basics of Taekwondo! Put this knowledge into action, and you’ll be able to have a great start in this great martial art.
So now that you have the knowledge from this guide, all you have to do is give Taekwondo a try! Good luck, and have fun!