The word ‘Taekwondo’ originates from the Korean language. ‘Tae’ means ‘to kick’ or ‘smash with the feet’. As the name suggests, you need to master your kicks to be adept at Taekwondo. Taekwondo training offers a lot of benefits, especially for kids. It can help them stay physically and mentally fit. Research confirms the mental health benefits of Taekwondo.
Taekwondo kicks are also called ‘chagi’ and can be conducted in a variety of ways. The choice of the kick depends on the target are. However, every kick in Taekwondo needs fluidity in motion and precision that is obtained only through persistent attention to the body and practice. The kicks involve different heights, spin kicks, jump kicks, and the combination of all these. Notably, the different kinds of kicks are intended for different situations. Some are more suitable for competitions while some are practical in self-defense situations.
Here are the basic Taekwondo kicks you should know about:
The Front Kick or Ap Chagi
Also known as ‘snap kick’, it is the most fundamental form of Taekwondo. This move involves the exertion of tremendous speed and is one of the first kicks taught. It is executed by elevating the knee of the leg to the waist and then channelizing the force by exerting the knee forward, directly towards the target. This move is meant to push the adversary back along with injuring them. The elevation of the knee is the key to this move. It is dropped slightly after raising it high while the foot charges forward to render the movement of foot straight.
In this kick, you need to ensure that you make contact with the ball of the foot with your hips remaining parallel. If the hip on your kicking leg twists forwards, the power will fall to the side. Combine the fast and slow-motion kicking to establish muscle memory. While practicing, kick the air for balance and ensure you are doing the technique right. Once you have mastered the technique, kick the pads.
Turning Kick or Dollyo Chagi
Also known as ‘roundhouse’, this Taekwondo move is one of the most versatile kicks. The key to learning this kick (and the others too) is to practice a lot and have patience. It is quite powerful once picked up. Most of the action movies and shows display this kick. It is done by conducting a pivot on the non-kicking leg by twisting your hips. While executing the pivot, the target is hit by extending the leg with the ball of the foot or with the foot’s instep.
Back Kick or Dwit Chagi
This Taekwondo kick is more advanced, as it involves performing the kick by planning it away from the adversary. If not executed properly, a person can lose the balance and miss the target or even fall over.
Side Kick or Yeop Chagi
This kick is intrinsically slow than the roundhouse. It is usually a lower kick and intends to target the torso area mainly. Moreover, this kick is of ‘shorter-range’ than the roundhouse one. It requires a person to compress for a second, bring the knee across the body, and then extend the kick. It moves in a straight line from the perpetrator to the adversary. In this move, the heel is used to hit the adversary that enhances the striking force because of the solid bone.
Reverse Side Kick or Bandae Yeop Chagi
This kick is an exaggerated form of the back kick. The only difference is that it derives more power from the extra momentum gained from the extra turn in the back kick. This kick also needs immense practice to maintain full balance in the maneuver.
Inner/Outer Crescent Kick or An/Bakkat Chagi
The main crescent kick is in two forms, the inner and the outer kicks. They are also known as the inside and the outside crescent kicks. Both involve elevating the kicking leg against the body as high as possible. Then the leg is extended and placed slightly across the body’s centerline. If it is an outer kick, the leg is swept outwards from the centerline and rendered in contact with the target. In case of the inside kick, it is swept towards the centerline’s inside and connected with the adversary.
Axe Kick or Naeryeo Chagi
This kick is a relatively modern part of competitive Taekwondo. As the name suggests, it is similar to swinging an ax to cut the log. In this move, the leg is raised high towards the adversary, extending from outside the centerline. Once the upward kick is performed as high as possible, a downward is exerted with the kicking leg with the heel pointing downwards.