Taekwondo not only improves flexibility, stamina and strength but, also helps boost your confidence and self-control. It’s no wonder there are over 20 million practitioners learning this South Korean Martial Art worldwide!
Learn the Basic Taekwondo Kicks
Roundhouse Kick (Dollyo-Chagi)
To progress further at becoming a master of Taekwondo kicks, here are some of the basics. Don’t worry if you don’t get them 100% right first time!
The Roundhouse Kick is one of the most commonly used kicks in Martial Arts. It is crucial to perform this technique correctly if you want to master Taekwondo. Begin by standing in a side stance, with your feet shoulder width apart; and your chosen kicking leg at the back.
Also known as an L-stance, your feet should be parallel with your front foot pointing to the side. From this position, bring your back leg up and bend the knee. At the same time, pivot your front foot 180 degrees; so, your heel on the floor is now facing the target. As you do this, your upper body will naturally turn and lean in the opposite direction.
From there, extend your leg through the hip and knee. Snap your leg forward in a smooth motion towards your target. As you retreat from the kick, bring your leg back in to prevent the target from catching your leg; and return to the start position.
Front Kick (Ahp-Chagi)
The Front Kick is a basic but impactful kick. It is often used in self-defence situations. Begin by standing in the L-stance (as in the Roundhouse Kick), standing with your feet parallel and shoulder width apart; and with one foot facing slightly forward.
Bring your kicking leg forward as if you were going to knee your opponent in the stomach. Make sure you keep your body upright; with at least 75% of your weight transferred to your resting foot. Extend the kicking leg by straightening the knee in the direction of your target; and aim to hit your opponent with the ball of your foot by flexing the toes back towards the body. If you don’t flex your feet as you kick, you will risk breaking or spraining them.
Finish by taking your kicking foot back down to the starting position and regaining your balance so, you’re ready to go again.
Drop/Axe Kick (Neryo-Chagi)
The Axe Kick is a downward kick that can be very effective when executed correctly. Start the kick by standing with your feet shoulder width apart. Raise your leg by bringing your knee up into your chest; taking it as high as you can. Then, pull your leg down as hard as possible against the opponent. This move usually targets the head, nose, neck or shoulder areas of the opponent.
If you want to cause more of an impact, use the heel of the foot. For a faster but less powerful hit, you can also use the ball of the foot.
Back Kick (Dui-Chagi)
The Back Kick is a popular and powerful counter kick and can be adapted to numerous situations. This kick is performed by kicking backwards and striking the target using the bottom of your foot, ideally the heel, as it will make more of an impact.
Start this kick by twisting clockwise so, both of your feet are firmly on the floor. Your back foot will need to point backwards slightly. This leg will carry most of the weight so, make sure it’s slightly bent. Make sure to watch your target from over your front shoulder.
Lift the knee of your kicking leg and bring it into your chest. Next, twist your head around and look at your target. Extend your kicking leg out and drive it forwards using your weight. Make sure you hit with the heel first. As you do this, remember to extend both knees and pull back quickly; to prevent your target grabbing your leg. Remember that the most powerful Back Kick will generally be when it’s performed slightly higher than your hip.
Side Kick (Yop-Chaggi)
The Side Kick is similar to the Back Kick; however, instead of kicking backwards, turn your body sideways and kick with your hips turned at a slight angle. The Side Kick is one of the most powerful kicks. This kick should be mastered before moving on to similar kicks.
To perform a Side Kick, you will need to stand sideways to your opponent; bringing your kicking knee up with your foot in line with your knee. As you bring your leg up, your heel should be pointing at the target. Once in position, extend your knee fully towards the target and strike with the side of your foot. Whilst doing this, you can lean into your back foot to gain balance and aim to hit the body.
Remember to warm up before exercising and always stretch correctly. This will help increase your flexibility; allowing for higher and more powerful kicks. It will also help to reduce the risk of injury.