Taekwondo Kicks

There are more kicks in Taekwondo than any other martial art making Taekwondo infamous for its kicking techniques, including spinning, jumping and flying kicks as well as multiple breaking skills. All of the superior kicks in Taekwondo, such as flying side kick and jump reverse turning turn (round house kick) are based on the basic techniques that you learn when you start the martial art. That is why it is vital that every technique is learnt correctly when you first start practicing the martial art as the principles never change.  

With Taekwondo being introduced into the Olympics a lot of clubs practice kicking techniques which are totally sport orientated as opposed to original Taekwondo kicking. However, practicing the traditional kicking makes you a better technician which can only help in the ring. The principles of kicking such as breathing, focus, foot forming, recovering after the kick, are the same whether you are studying the traditional martial art or have decided to take the sport taekwondo route. There is no reason why Taekwondo students cannot practice both as one enhances the other.

 Things you need to remember when practicing any kicking technique:

  • Relax your upper body and remember to breathe. Tension in the upper body has massive repercussions on your kicking technique. The more relaxed you are the faster you will kick.
  • Always keep the weight on the balls of your feet.
  • Always recover back to a fighting position after finishing your kick.
  • Kicking, like everything in the martial arts, has a preparation, execution and recovery position. Kicking is more technical than most people think, so take it stage by stage.
  • To ensure you have a balanced kick never take your eyes off the target, before, during and after the technique. When performing spinning kicks only take your eyes off the target for the shortest time possible.
  • Each kick uses a different weapon and part of the foot. Practise forming your foot in the various positions. A weak formation means that your technique would not work in a realistic situation.

FRONT SNAP KICK (AP CHAGI)

Weapon: BALL OF THE FOOT

Formation: Point your ankle forward and pull your toes back and kick with the ball of the foot.

How to perform a technically correct Front Kick:

  • Plant your front foot directly forward in your fighting stance and do not alter the direction of this foot during the kick. Moving the front foot to a different position, alters the shape of your hips and changes the direction of your power. To perform a powerful kick your hips need to be square so all of your power is propelled forward towards the target.  
  • Lift your knee and point it towards the target whilst having your foot as close to your body as possible. At the same time form your foot.
  • After executing the technique recover back to this original position. NEVER drop your knee after performing the kick. Try and keep it up so that if you need to kick again you can do so easily.
  • When learning front kick drop your fists whilst kicking. Raising your arms causes a lack of balance and also can cause a lot of upper body tension.
  • Always keep your back straight and head up.

 

Variations of Front Kick: Scissor Kick, Flying Front Kick, Jumping Front Kick.

 

TURNING KICK (DOLLYO CHAGI)

 Weapon: BALL OF THE FOOT or TOP OF THE FOOT

This choice depends on your training. The ball of the foot should be used when breaking or when you want to cause maximum damage. The top of the foot is generally used in training as it gives you extra reach against your opponent and also causes less damage in case of contact.

 

How to perform a technically correct Turning Kick:

  • The standing foot should be turned a full 180 degrees on the floor. This alters the direction of your kick and therefore your hips.  
  • Your kick and power should be 90 degrees and horizontal with the floor.
  • Easier said than done but try and keep your knee behind the target. This gives you maximum distance between the target and the weapon therefore maximum power.
  • Keep your kicking arm behind your back keeps your shoulder and spine straight.
  • Technically your foot, knee, hip and shoulder should be in a straight line on contact to ensure the power of your kick travels in the right direction.

 

Variations of Turning Kick: Slip Turning Kick, Jump Turning Kick, Reverse Turning Kick, Hook Kick, Reverse Hook Kick, Jump Reverse Turning Kick, Slip Reverse Turning Kick, Step Over Reverse Turning Kick.

 

SIDE KICK (YEOP CHAGI)

Weapon: BLADE OF THE FOOT

Formation: Rock onto the side of your foot and pull your toes back. This is side kick formation. On execution the sole of your foot needs to be parallel with the floor.

How to perform a technically correct Side Kick:

  • Students find the formation of side kick probably the most difficult form to master. The easiest way is to constantly practice, whether you are at home, work or watching TV. The more you practice the easier it will come.
  • The standing foot should be turned a full 180 degrees on the floor and your power should be directed very similar to that of a punch and should go forwards towards the target. The side kick is a cutting and not a pushing technique. This can only be achieved if you strike with the correct blade part of the foot and not the sole (flat of the foot).
  • Technically your foot, knee, hip and shoulder should be in a straight line on contact to ensure the power of your kick travels in the right direction.
  • When performing a side kick punch down your leg with your kicking arm it helps you focus on the direction of the power.
  • Both legs must be locked straight at the moment of impact to achieve maximum power.

 Variations of Side Kick: Slip Side Kick, Spin Side Kick, Flying Side Kick, Step Over Side Kick, Flying Spinning Side Kick.

 

BACK KICK (DWIT CHAGI)

Weapon: HEEL

Formation: Ensure the toes are pointing towards the floor and are pulled back towards shin. Hit the target with the heel.

How to perform a technically correct Back Kick:

  • Back kick is called back kick because your back is towards your opponent when you kick meaning that you only have to turn your hips 90 degrees before you stop them. Basically compare it to that of a horse kicking backwards.
  • Back kick is one of the most powerful kicks in Taekwondo. The main fault with back kick is that students get carried away with the spin and over rotate their hips so the result is more like a spin side kick. (Please note the two are totally different kicks.) To start break the technique down. The first step is to turn your front heel so that it is pointing towards the target. This automatically gets your hips into the right position for kicking.
  • Once you have performed this 90 degree movement simply by turning your front heel, there is no need to rotate your hips anymore SO KEEP THEM STILL. You always need to look at your target so quickly turn your head onto your opposite shoulder and look at the target.
  • Pick up your kicking leg and bring it to a balanced position close to the body. Travelling in a direct straight line thrust the heel towards the target, ensuring your hips are facing away from your target.

 

Variations of Back Kick: Jump Back Kick, Slip Back Kick, Step Over Back Kick. Flying Slip Back Kick.

 

AXE KICK (NAERYO CHAGI)

Weapon: HEEL or FLAT OF FOOT

This choice depends on your training. The heel should be used when breaking or when you want to cause maximum damage. The flat of the foot is generally used in training as it gives you extra reach against your opponent and also causes less damage in case of contact.

How to perform a technically correct Axe Kick:

  • The power of this kick is directly down into your opponent’s face.
  • When you reach your maximum height straighten your leg and push your toes forward to extend your leg length and pull your leg back down to the floor.
  • Try not to move your front foot as again that alters the direction of your hips and therefore your power will not be in a straight line.

 

Variations of Axe Kick: Slip Axe Kick

Taekwondo Kicks

There are more kicks in Taekwondo than any other martial art making Taekwondo infamous for its kicking techniques, including spinning, jumping and flying kicks as well as multiple breaking skills. All of the superior kicks in Taekwondo, such as flying side kick and jump reverse turning turn (round house kick) are based on the basic techniques that you learn when you start the martial art. That is why it is vital that every technique is learnt correctly when you first start practicing the martial art as the principles never change.  

With Taekwondo being introduced into the Olympics a lot of clubs practice kicking techniques which are totally sport orientated as opposed to original Taekwondo kicking. However, practicing the traditional kicking makes you a better technician which can only help in the ring. The principles of kicking such as breathing, focus, foot forming, recovering after the kick, are the same whether you are studying the traditional martial art or have decided to take the sport taekwondo route. There is no reason why Taekwondo students cannot practice both as one enhances the other.  Things you need to remember when practicing any kicking technique:
  • Relax your upper body and remember to breathe. Tension in the upper body has massive repercussions on your kicking technique. The more relaxed you are the faster you will kick.
  • Always keep the weight on the balls of your feet.
  • Always recover back to a fighting position after finishing your kick.
  • Kicking, like everything in the martial arts, has a preparation, execution and recovery position. Kicking is more technical than most people think, so take it stage by stage.
  • To ensure you have a balanced kick never take your eyes off the target, before, during and after the technique. When performing spinning kicks only take your eyes off the target for the shortest time possible.
  • Each kick uses a different weapon and part of the foot. Practise forming your foot in the various positions. A weak formation means that your technique would not work in a realistic situation.
FRONT SNAP KICK (AP CHAGI) Weapon: BALL OF THE FOOT Formation: Point your ankle forward and pull your toes back and kick with the ball of the foot. How to perform a technically correct Front Kick:
  • Plant your front foot directly forward in your fighting stance and do not alter the direction of this foot during the kick. Moving the front foot to a different position, alters the shape of your hips and changes the direction of your power. To perform a powerful kick your hips need to be square so all of your power is propelled forward towards the target.  
  • Lift your knee and point it towards the target whilst having your foot as close to your body as possible. At the same time form your foot.
  • After executing the technique recover back to this original position. NEVER drop your knee after performing the kick. Try and keep it up so that if you need to kick again you can do so easily.
  • When learning front kick drop your fists whilst kicking. Raising your arms causes a lack of balance and also can cause a lot of upper body tension.
  • Always keep your back straight and head up.
 

Variations of Front Kick: Scissor Kick, Flying Front Kick, Jumping Front Kick.

 

TURNING KICK (DOLLYO CHAGI)  Weapon: BALL OF THE FOOT or TOP OF THE FOOT This choice depends on your training. The ball of the foot should be used when breaking or when you want to cause maximum damage. The top of the foot is generally used in training as it gives you extra reach against your opponent and also causes less damage in case of contact.   How to perform a technically correct Turning Kick:
  • The standing foot should be turned a full 180 degrees on the floor. This alters the direction of your kick and therefore your hips.  
  • Your kick and power should be 90 degrees and horizontal with the floor.
  • Easier said than done but try and keep your knee behind the target. This gives you maximum distance between the target and the weapon therefore maximum power.
  • Keep your kicking arm behind your back keeps your shoulder and spine straight.
  • Technically your foot, knee, hip and shoulder should be in a straight line on contact to ensure the power of your kick travels in the right direction.
 

Variations of Turning Kick: Slip Turning Kick, Jump Turning Kick, Reverse Turning Kick, Hook Kick, Reverse Hook Kick, Jump Reverse Turning Kick, Slip Reverse Turning Kick, Step Over Reverse Turning Kick.

  SIDE KICK (YEOP CHAGI) Weapon: BLADE OF THE FOOT Formation: Rock onto the side of your foot and pull your toes back. This is side kick formation. On execution the sole of your foot needs to be parallel with the floor. How to perform a technically correct Side Kick:
  • Students find the formation of side kick probably the most difficult form to master. The easiest way is to constantly practice, whether you are at home, work or watching TV. The more you practice the easier it will come.
  • The standing foot should be turned a full 180 degrees on the floor and your power should be directed very similar to that of a punch and should go forwards towards the target. The side kick is a cutting and not a pushing technique. This can only be achieved if you strike with the correct blade part of the foot and not the sole (flat of the foot).
  • Technically your foot, knee, hip and shoulder should be in a straight line on contact to ensure the power of your kick travels in the right direction.
  • When performing a side kick punch down your leg with your kicking arm it helps you focus on the direction of the power.
  • Both legs must be locked straight at the moment of impact to achieve maximum power.
 Variations of Side Kick: Slip Side Kick, Spin Side Kick, Flying Side Kick, Step Over Side Kick, Flying Spinning Side Kick.

 

BACK KICK (DWIT CHAGI) Weapon: HEEL Formation: Ensure the toes are pointing towards the floor and are pulled back towards shin. Hit the target with the heel. How to perform a technically correct Back Kick:
  • Back kick is called back kick because your back is towards your opponent when you kick meaning that you only have to turn your hips 90 degrees before you stop them. Basically compare it to that of a horse kicking backwards.
  • Back kick is one of the most powerful kicks in Taekwondo. The main fault with back kick is that students get carried away with the spin and over rotate their hips so the result is more like a spin side kick. (Please note the two are totally different kicks.) To start break the technique down. The first step is to turn your front heel so that it is pointing towards the target. This automatically gets your hips into the right position for kicking.
  • Once you have performed this 90 degree movement simply by turning your front heel, there is no need to rotate your hips anymore SO KEEP THEM STILL. You always need to look at your target so quickly turn your head onto your opposite shoulder and look at the target.
  • Pick up your kicking leg and bring it to a balanced position close to the body. Travelling in a direct straight line thrust the heel towards the target, ensuring your hips are facing away from your target.
  Variations of Back Kick: Jump Back Kick, Slip Back Kick, Step Over Back Kick. Flying Slip Back Kick.   AXE KICK (NAERYO CHAGI) Weapon: HEEL or FLAT OF FOOT This choice depends on your training. The heel should be used when breaking or when you want to cause maximum damage. The flat of the foot is generally used in training as it gives you extra reach against your opponent and also causes less damage in case of contact. How to perform a technically correct Axe Kick:
  • The power of this kick is directly down into your opponent’s face.
  • When you reach your maximum height straighten your leg and push your toes forward to extend your leg length and pull your leg back down to the floor.
  • Try not to move your front foot as again that alters the direction of your hips and therefore your power will not be in a straight line.
  Variations of Axe Kick: Slip Axe Kick
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