What Is A Roundhouse Kick? (Origins and Technique Explained)

There are several different types of martial arts you can try and learn and the roundhouse kick falls into a few of these. But is it performed differently in different types of martial arts?

This particular move is quite a complex one and requires speed and height which also needs power. 

What Is A Roundhouse Kick?

This guide will be going over what a roundhouse kick actually is and how to perform one. This will also include how difficult this move is and how you can perfect it. Keep on reading to find out more! 

Roundhouse Kick In Taekwondo

In Taekwondo and other martial arts they all share the same education of learning this move. It is all about mastering the basics first because if you don’t, then you will find it very difficult to do this move at all.

This particular move is linked together by motion, skill and height which is very difficult. 

The skill is difficult but it just takes time to learn those basics then it is simpler than you might think. You first need to think about your stance.

Like in any sport, there is always a focus on stance because it is the main source of your balance and stability. You need to start well to finish well. For this you will need a back stance.

You need to make sure that you are paying attention to every movement when it comes to a roundhouse kick because it generates a lot of speed and therefore, power.

In the next part of this piece, we will be going through those small steps through the kick but also how to react to counter attacks. 

The Technicalities

In Taekwondo, this kick can be performed in different ways depending on what stance you take and what part of the foot you are looking to strike with. You can either have your toes back or instep.

You also need to think about the positioning of your strike. This could be either looking at the chest or your opponent’s head area. 

We are now going to look at steps which are sometimes missed in practice: 

  • Pivoting

This all depends on whether you are trying to perform a regular roundhouse kick or a back roundhouse kick. For this part, we will be focusing on a regular roundhouse kick.

The most important thing that people always forget, is to pivot that foot before you throw the kick. This will position your foot perfectly for the right strike.

If you forget to do this then your kick will not be able to generate the power and you will be out of sync. You need that pivot to be able to turn your hips as well which is a major part of the process. 

  • Knee

When moving your knee higher you need to think about where you want this strike to go. The higher you lift your knee the higher the kick will be positioned.

Without this step, you will be aiming for the person’s legs which is not the aim for this move. You are looking to bring your knee up to about your chest to be able to aim for the head region for the roundhouse kick. 

  • Hips

You need to be turning your hips and foot to be able to gain that momentum and put you in the best position to strike.

If you fail to turn your hips then you will be subject to a bad shot. You also need that arch for the snap which is created by the hip movement. 

  • Strike

Now it’s time for your strike and you need to make sure that you are hitting your leg where it needs to be. If you fail to strike correctly, this could lead to an injury and harm to yourself, not the opponent.

You are aiming to hit the bottom region of your shin bone.

If you were to kick with the top of your foot area, this could be an easy injury where you could break small bones. This is mainly due to a hard block or if you strike an area of bone. 

  • Breathing

Your breath control is also a very important part of your motion. You need to be taking that breath out.

It is always something that is forgotten but is a really important part of the move. If you have good breath control then you are in a better position of control over your strike.

One last thing to always remember in this sport is to keep your hands up ALWAYS. It is one of the most important parts because if you finish your strike and put your hands down you are not ready for any type of counter.

You need to be ready to have something thrown back at you. Or even if you fail the strike you need to be ready to take what is coming. Preparation is key. 


Overall, this kick is not the hardest one in the world but it does have a lot of technical moments which trip many people up.

A lot of situations occur when people forget small steps like the pivot or moving your hips properly because you cannot carry out this movement without using these steps.

When it comes to actually focusing on your skill and accuracy, that will take time. Hitting something correctly is the most important part for your own safety to avoid injury.

You also need to make sure that you are practicing over and over again to perfect that position and movement. 

Hopefully this guide has opened up your eyes to the roundhouse kick and everything you need to learn before trying it yourself.

It is always recommended to join a class with someone professional who can show you this in person and can adjust your movement wherever it needs to be. However, it is also great to practice with pads at home.

Christopher Anderson
Latest posts by Christopher Anderson (see all)