Taekwondo is famed for its employment of kicking techniques, which distinguishes it from martial arts such as karate or certain southern styles of kung fu. The rationale is that the leg is the longest and strongest weapon a martial artist has, and kicks thus have the greatest potential to strike without retaliation.

Taekwondo as a sport and exercise is popular with people of both sexes and of many ages. Physically, taekwondo develops strength, speed, balance, flexibility, and stamina. An example of the union of mental and physical discipline is the breaking of boards, which requires both physical mastery of the technique and the concentration to focus one's strength.

Stretching to increase flexibility is an important aspect of Taekwondo training.

Although each taekwondo club or school will be different, a taekwondo student can typically expect to take part in most or all of the following:

  • Learning the techniques and curriculum of taekwondo
  • Both anaerobic and aerobic workout, including stretching
  • Self-defense techniques
  • Poomse, or patterns (also called forms) -- either tul, hyung, palgwe, or taeguk
  • Kyorugi (Sparring), including step-sparring and/or free-style, arranged, hoshinsul and more
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Breaking (using techniques to break boards for testing, training & martial arts demonstrations)
  • Exams to progress to the next rank
  • A focus on mental & ethical discipline, justice, etiquette, respect, and self confidence.

Some of the best-known taekwondo techniques include:

  • Front Kick (ap chagi): This is a very linear kick. The practitioner raises their knee to their waist, pulls their toes back and quickly extends their foot at an opponent. It is also known as the snap kick. The front kick is one of the first kicks learned in TKD, if mastered it can become one of the most powerful.
  • Side Kick (yop chagi): A very powerful kick, first the practitioner raises his knee, rotates their body 90 degrees, extend their leg striking with the side or heel of their foot.
  • Turning Kick (dollyo chagi): Also known as roundhouse kick. The practitioner raises their knee, turns, pulls their toes back and extends the kick horizontally across his target usually at a 45 degree angle.
  • Hook Kick (ap hurya chagi): A less popular kick traditionally, it has found increasing favor in modern competitions. The practitioner raises the knee in a fashion similar to the side kick, then extends the foot in a dorsal arc (would be clock-wise for the right foot) with the heel as the intended striking weapon. This is also known as the front hook kick.
  • Axe Kick (naeryo chagi): Another kick that has increased in popularity due to sparring competitons. The knee is raised in front of the body, the leg then extended and pulled down with the heel pointed downward. It is typically targeted toward the head or shoulders and requires significant flexibility to employ effectively. There are many styles of axe kicks. They are also known as downward kicks.
  • Crescent Kick (chiki chagi): There are two variations of this kick; outer crescent and the inner crescent. In outer, the practitioner raises the extended leg as high as they can, and slightly across the body, (a bit to the side of the intended target), they then sweep to the side in a circular (crescent) movement. For the inner, the motions are the same, but the direction of the kick changes, this time originating from the outside of the body, heading towards the inside of the body.
  • Spin Kick (dwet chagi): There are a number of spinning kicks that involve the rotation of the entire body before the kick is released. Spinning kicks include the spinning side kick (dwet chagi), spinning hook kick (dwet hurya chagi), spinning axe kick, returning kick, 360 turning kick, and a number of other kicks of varying popularity.
  • Jump Kick (twimyo chagi): There are also a number of kicks that involve jumping before their execution. These include jumping front kick (twimyo ap chagi), jumping side kick (twimyo yop chagi), flying side kick, jumping roundhouse (twimyo dollyo chagi) (sometimes referred to as butterfly kick, although this term is at times used for a distinct kick separate from the jumping roundhouse), jumping spinning hook kick, shuffle jump kick, and jump spinning side kick.

Some taekwondo instructors also incorporate the use of pressure points, known as ji ap sul as well as grabbing self-defense techniques borrowed from other martial arts, such as Hapkido and Judo.


Olympian International Taekwondo Academy
#20, Risaldar Street, Seshadripuram

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