Different Types of Tae Kwon Do Kicks : Combining Self-Defense and Fitness

Different Types of Tae Kwon Do Kicks : Combining Self-Defense and Fitness
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Front Kick

This one is quite self-explanatory. The kick is executed by bringing the knee up and extending the leg. The concentration of the strike is on the ball of the foot so the toes are not broken. There is also a jump front kick, which can be done by springing up and kicking or using the stepping on the box technique. This is when you pretend there is a small box in front of you that you step on with the foot you’re not kicking with. You then jump and do the front kick off the other leg.

Back Kick

The back kick is useful in self-defense when the attacker is behind you. It’s a simple but effective strike. Imagine a horse kicking behind him. Bring your knee up and kick back with your toes pointed toward the floor. You are striking with your heel.

Side Kick

A side kick must be done by turning the hips to the side, which makes your side face the opponent. Bring your knee up and kick out with your instep facing the floor. You must strike with your heel. There is also a flying side kick, which is the favorite kick of many martial artists. To do this you run, jump, and execute the side kick in the air.

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Turning Kick

tae kwon do kicks

Also known as a roundhouse, this Tae Kwon Do kick is the longest reaching one in your arsenal, which makes it a favorite for sparring when the opponent is at a distance. To do this one you need to turn your hips (similar to the side kick start), and then kick out striking with the top of your foot. There is also a spin, jump, and jump-spin turning kick.

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Hook Kick

tae kwon do kicks

This one is difficult, but can trick your opponent in a match. Lift your knee and point it to the left (if striking with your right), kick out like a side kick, and then bring your foot back to your butt. In the last process your heel must hit the opponent. There is a spin, jump, and spin-jump hook kick.

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Crescent Kick

This one is named so for a reason. Imagine your foot as a pen. When the kick is executed properly you create a half moon, but not quite a crescent. Begin the same way you did with the hook kick, and then strike with your foot’s blade. There is a spin, jump, and jump-spin crescent kick.

Reverse Crescent Kick

The reverse crescent kick is the same as the one above, just, well, reversed. You need to strike with your instep. There is also a spin, jump, and spin-jump reverse crescent kick.

Axe Kick

The axe kick is another Tae Kwon Do kick that is great for self-defense. When mastered you can break a nose or a collarbone with it. Kick as high as you can and force your leg down as fast and powerful as you can. Strike with your heel.


While I do explain how to do these kicks, I am a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, training for my second degree. This is only meant as a reference or guide. If you want to learn a martial art choose a local school and go!


Matt Randall’s Black Belt Academy in Dover, NH.