Kicks play a major role in Taekwondo. In fact, the name ‘Taekwondo’ translates to “the art of punching and kicking”, so it’s no surprise that kicks are a core part of this martial art.
If you’re just starting out in Taekwondo, or if you’re interested in starting, then you’re going to have to learn the basic Taekwondo kicks pretty early on.
Luckily, we’re here to help! In this handy guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about the six basic kicks in Taekwondo.
Here we’ll cover the basics of each major Taekwondo kick and teach you how to do them yourself!
So let’s get started, shall we?
The Six Basic Kicks In Taekwondo (And How To Do Them)
The Front Kick
This is the most basic kick in Taekwondo (see also ‘Is Taekwondo All Kicks?‘), and typically the first kick you’ll learn when you start. The front kick, which is also sometimes called a snap kick, is a fast and powerful kick despite its simplicity.
To perform a front kick, you have to start in a normal stance.
Then, bring the knee of your kicking leg up in front of you at waist height, with your knee pointing forward – this is called a ‘chamber’, which prepares you to kick.
From here, you ‘snap’ your leg out directly forward toward the target, impacting with the ball of your foot.
Whether you’re kicking with your front or back leg, this kick is as powerful as it is fast and exerts a lot of force onto the target.
This is intended to push an attacker back as well as injuring them, while still letting you easily keep control of your balance.
Snap your leg back into the chamber position and step down to finish the kick.
The side kick is another super-simple kick. However, it’s one of the most powerful kicks in Taekwondo (See also How To Do A Butterfly Kick In Taekwondo).
A side kick, as the name implies, involves bringing your knee up and forward while also turning your body 90 degrees away from the target; then, you twist your knee so your foot is pointing at the target before extending your leg out quickly.
The Side Kick
Side kicks are slightly trickier than front kicks as it can be hard to keep your balance, but this becomes much easier with practice.
If you use the momentum of bringing your leg up and around in one fluid motion to power your side kick, you’ll be able to connect with much more force while also kicking extremely fast.
Using the heel of your foot to kick massively increases its power due to having the strength of your whole leg behind it.
The Roundhouse Kick
Roundhouse kicks, also known as turning kicks, follow a slightly different chamber to front and side kicks.
Instead of bringing the knee of your kicking leg up in front of you before you kick, roundhouse kicks bring the knee up from the side.
Start by facing your target with your kicking foot behind you.
From here, turn your body 90 degrees while simultaneously bringing your knee around and in line with your waist; for a roundhouse kick, your leg should be shaped like an arrow with the knee as the tip pointing at the target.
Now, all you need to do is snap your leg out, impacting with the instep of your foot (this is on top of your foot, in the space between your toes and ankle) before bringing it back down.
It’s easy to lose your balance if you follow through too much, so you should bring your leg back into a chamber position before putting it back down.
The Back Kick
Back kicks are essentially a more complicated side kick, but are significantly stronger due to the increased momentum you get.
As the name suggests, they are a kick that is set up by kicking from behind you.
To perform a back kick, you need to start by standing to the side of the opponent with your kicking leg behind you.
For example, if you were kicking with your back leg you would need to face 90 degrees clockwise from your opponent to set up.
Step your stance kick forward slightly to make it easier to balance, and then twist your body away from your opponent until you can look at them over your shoulder.
Now, bring your back leg around and up, continuing to turn, until you’re in a standard side kick chamber.
Finally, you can extend your leg out to kick the target.
Keeping your momentum and doing this in one fluid movement puts a tremendous amount of force behind the kick, making it one of the strongest in Taekwondo.
The Hook Kick
Hook kicks are simple in concept, but can be a bit tricky to pull off properly.
They are performed mostly in the same way as a side kick, but you don’t re-chamber your leg after extending it in the same way.
Instead of extending your leg directly in front of you, kick slightly past the center of your body; don’t put all your power into this, however, as this is only the first part of the kick.
From here, you want to bend your knee while snapping the heel of your foot back in a hooking motion – hence the name.
This kick is less powerful than others, and is used to trick the opponent into moving their guard before hitting them with the hooked heel.
The Axe Kick
Finally, we have the axe kick. This kick can be performed in two ways, and is very different to the other kicks on this list.
First, you must bring your leg up in front of you in a crescent motion; this can be done either by bringing it inward from the outside of your body, or by bringing it through and up past the center of your body.
Next, while keeping your leg straight, you bring the heel of your foot directly down in a chopping motion. This is meant to impact the top half of the target with a lot of force.
So there you have it – the six basic kicks of Taekwondo and how to do them yourself!
These kicks are some of the most basic moves in Taekwondo, but learning how to do them well is a major stepping stone to progressing in the martial art.
Now you know how to do them yourself, it’s time to start practicing!
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