Taekwondo Self Defense; What is it all about?

Taekwondo self defense is an art that uses the body as a weapon to defend oneself. So what is it all about? Where does it originate and is it effective self-defense? Read on..


Taekwondo was originally developed for combat purposes due to its lethal nature. However, with the passage of time, it has become an increasingly popular sport and martial art form. Though self-defense is not the primary focus of Taekwondo training, it is nonetheless an important aspect of the discipline. Today, Taekwondo is one of the most popular martial arts in the world, with millions of practitioners across all continents.

In this blog post, we will discuss the basics of Taekwondo; its origin, various forms, and provide you with some reasons why it is not an effective self-defense technique in a real-life situation. So, keep reading to learn more!

What is Taekwondo Self Defense?

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art, characterized by its emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping and spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques. Taekwondo is now practiced in more than 193 countries around the world. It has become one of the most popular Olympic sports. Taekwondo was also practiced as a form of self-defense when it was first adopted using the principle of leverage to overcome an attacker’s force, however, now it is only an Olympic sport.

“Taekwondo, is a Korean martial art, characterised by its emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques with kicks and striking being above waist height only.”


Taekwondo self-defense theory is based on the human mental and spiritual body strengths to develop a well-rounded self-defense system. Although it is usually not a very effective self-defence in street fights, still the main goal of Taekwondo is to enable the practitioner to defend themselves as much as possible in a dangerous situation.

Is Taekwondo good self-defense?

At its core, self-defense is about being able to defend yourself against an attacker and getting away safely. If you use Taekwondo at its full power, it can definitely help you do that. The kicks and punches you learn can be devastating, and if used correctly, can help you take down an attacker.

taekwondo self defense
Taekwondo is now practiced in more than 193 countries around the world. It has become one of the most popular Olympic sports.

But there are some drawbacks to Taekwondo as a self-defense system which make it a poor option for self defense, and they include:

Relies Mostly on Kicks

Taekwondo is not a good self-defense choice because it relies heavily on kicks. While kicks may be an effective way to take down an opponent in a sport setting, it is not practical for self-defense. If you’re up against an attacker who knows how to grapple, they can take you down quickly. You might be able to get in a few good kicks, but eventually, they’ll take you down.

Needs A lot of Space

Taekwondo requires a lot of space to be effective, which is why it’s not a good self-defense choice. This makes it not the best choice for self-defense in close quarters situations.

When you’re in a self-defense situation, you’re often close to your attacker and don’t have the luxury of lots of space to move around. Taekwondo practitioners need room to kick, and if you’re up close, your attacker can easily block or counter your kicks.

Too Many Linear Techniques

Linear techniques are not the best for self-defense because they require you to be in a straight line with your attacker. This can leave you vulnerable to attacks from the side or behind. Additionally, if your attacker is stronger than you, they may be able to push you off balance and take advantage of your position.

Furthermore, linear techniques are often too slow to be effective in a self-defense situation. You need to be able to move quickly and unpredictably to take your opponent by surprise. Otherwise, they will be able to anticipate your movements and counter them.

Strictest Ruleset

While the discipline and control that comes with Taekwondo is admirable, in a self-defense situation, you want to be able to use whatever means necessary to protect yourself. Taekwondo’s strict ruleset doesn’t allow for that kind of improvisation and flexibility.

The ruleset is designed to minimize injury, and as a result, many of the techniques are not practical for street fighting. For example, striking an opponent’s face with the hand is prohibited, as is kicking an opponent who is already on the ground. In a self-defense situation, you may need to do both of those things in order to incapacitate your attacker.

Requires Long Dedicated Training to Master

There are many things to consider when choosing a self-defense system, and one of the most important is how long it will take to master. Taekwondo is often touted as a great self-defense system, but the truth is that it takes years to master.

In order to become a black belt in Taekwondo, you need a minimum of 3-5 years of dedicated training. Most people don’t have the time or patience to dedicate years of their life to learning a self-defense system.

Needs You to be in Good Shape

In order to execute the techniques properly, you need to be in good shape and have good coordination. Taekwondo is a sport that requires split-second timing and precise movements.

If you’re not in good shape, you will not be able to execute the techniques properly and you will get tired quickly. Also, if you don’t have good coordination, you will not be able to execute the techniques properly.

You need to be able to defend yourself against an attacker who is stronger, faster, and more coordinated than you. If you can’t do that, then Taekwondo is not a good self-defense choice for you.

Taekwondo Kick Pad Target, SYNTECSO 3 Pack Kicking Pads with...
  • Hands-free Kick Pad Target -- Equipped with a wall mounted...
  • Adults & Teen Taekwondo Kick Pad -- The wall mounted kicking pads...
  • Perfect for Training Techniques -- The height and angle of each...

How many Taekwondo forms are there?

Although Taekwondo has a total of 24 forms, in order to get a color-belt, students are only required to master 8-forms also known as Taegeuk Poomsae. Each of these forms are illustrated in the World Taekwondo Federation by trigrams which are symbols from ancient Korean philosophy as presented originally by I-Ching. These trigrams represent different principles and each form is meant to teach the student different aspects of Taekwondo.

taekwondo self defense
In order to get a color-belt, students are only required to master 8-forms, also known as Taegeuk Poomsae

The following are the eight forms of Taekwondo:

●      Taegeuk Il Jang (태극 1장)

●      Taegeuk Ee Jang (태극 2장)

●      Taegeuk Sam Jang (태극 3장)

●      Taegeuk Sa Jang (태극 4장)

●      Taegeuk Oh Jang (태극 5장)

●      Taegeuk Yook Jang (태극 6장)

●      Taegeuk Chil Jang (태극 7장)

●      Taegeuk Pal Jang (태극 8장)

Taegeuk Il Jang

The Taegeuk Il Jang form is the first of eight Taekwondo forms. The symbol for Taegeuk Il Jang is Heaven and the Sky (天 & 건). Since, the sky is often related to beginnings or creations, similarly, Taegeuk Il Jang often means the innovation of a new Taekwondo student, or the student’s new start.

The Taegeuk Il Jang form teaches basic techniques such as the Walking stance, Inside block, High block, Front kick, Front stance, Middle punch, Low block.

Taegeuk Ee Jang

The Taegeuk Ee Jang is the second of the eight taekwondo forms. It is usually symbolised as “Lake” or “Marsh” (澤 or 태). In this taekwondo form, the student is taught about the walking stance, Low block, High block, Inside middle block, Long front stance, Front snap kick, and the Middle punch.

Taegeuk Sam Jang

Taegeuk Sam Jang is the third form in the series of eight Taekwondo forms. This form is symbolised as fire (火) because the practitioner should be energetic like a fire.

Its associated trigram diagram is represented by one solid line and two broken lines (☲). The martial arts training included in Taegeuk Sam Jang form teaches knifehand middle block, Back stance, and Knifehand neck strike.

Taegeuk Sa Jang

Taegeuk Sa Jang is the fourth form out of the total eight taekwondo forms. It is symbolised as “Thunder” (雷) because this poomsae must be performed with robust majesty just like thunderstorm. The Taegeuk Sa Jang teaches the martial art practitioner about the side kicks, High knifehand block, Back fist strike, Palm block, Double knifehand block, and the Spearhand strike.

Taegeuk Oh Jang

The Taegeuk Oh Jang poomsae is the fifth of the total eight taekwondo forms. The symbol for Taegeuk Oh Jang is “風” which means wind. It is due to the fact that the movements required in this poomsae need to be firm but gentle at the same time just like wind.

Taegeuk Oh Jang training teaches Elbow strike, Outside block, Cross stance, L-Shape Stance, and the Hammer fist.

Taegeuk Yook Jang

The Taegeuk Yook Jang is the sixth form in Taekwondo that is symbolised by “water” (水). This taekwondo form requires the practitioner to use fluid movements just as if he is flowing around the opponent to take him down just like water.

The training of Taegeuk Yook Jang include mastering Roundhouse kicks, Double wedge blocks, ad the Outer forearm block.

Taegeuk Chil Jang

The Taegeuk Chil Jang is the seventh poomsae of taekwondo training. It is symbolised by “Mountain” (山) because the practitioner needs to use immovable, firm, and strong movements just like a mountain.

The training of this poomsae includes specialising Crescent kicks, Knee strikes, Lower knifehand block, Tiger stance, Double upset punch, Double block, and Horse stance

Taegeuk Pal Jang

Taegeuk Pal Jang is the last of total eight Taekwondo poomsaes. It is symbolised by “Earth” (地) because it act as the foundation for the students future Taekwondo trainings just like earth. As Taegeuk Pal Jang is the final poomsae of the Taekwondo training, it covers the basics of jumping, front snap kicking and the mountain stance.

Where does Taekwondo originate?

Taekwondo was originally invented during the 1940s-50s in Korea. This martial art comprises a mixture of various other Korean fighting styles, such as gwonbeop, taekkyeon, and subak along with a touch of a few international martial arts techniques such as Chinese martial arts and Karate.

Taekwondo is a Korean word that may be translated as “the way of the foot and fist” or “the way of kicking and punching”. It combines combat techniques, self-defense, sport, exercise, and in some cases meditation and philosophy.

Is Taekwondo effective in a real street fight?

No, Taekwondo is usually not very effective in a real fight because of almost the same reasons that may make it ineffective for real self defence. The techniques require a lot of space to be properly executed, and are often too complicated to be used in a real-life situation when you have to react quickly.

Also, Taekwondo practitioners often train to fight against an imaginary opponent, which is not representative of a real-life situation. In a real fight, there are many different variables that you have to take into account, such as the size and strength of your opponent, whether they are armed or not, etc.

Furthermore, taekwondo practitioners often do not master in how to deal with punches and grappling, which are common in a real fight. In conclusion, while taekwondo can be a good sport and can teach you discipline, it is not generally very effective in a real fight.

taekwondo self defense
Taekwondo may not be effective as real self defense in a street fight

Is Taekwondo harder than karate?

This is a question that gets asked a lot, and there really is no definitive answer. It depends on factors such as athleticism, talent, and the amount of time dedicated to training.

Some people find that Taekwondo is more difficult than karate, while others find the opposite to be true. It really varies from person to person. One thing that is certain, however, is that both martial arts require a great deal of discipline, commitment, and hard work.

So, which is harder? Taekwondo or karate? Ultimately, it comes down to the individual. Both are challenging and rewarding martial arts that can lead to a lifetime of enjoyment.

How many Taekwondo belts are there?

Generally there are eleven coloured belts in Taekwondo. However, the three main taekwondo governing bodies (WTF, ITF, ATA) have different coloured belts systems, still there are some belts like yellow, white, blue, green, black, and red that are accepted by all three organisations.

Different taekwondo training schools adopt different coloured belt systems depending on their affiliation with their respective governing organisation.

Each coloured belt has a different taekwondo meaning and signify different level of training. Following are the meaning of Taekwondo colour belts:

●      White belt is given to those who have just started learning taekwondo.

●      Yellow belt shows that a student has learned the basic techniques and is progressing towards becoming an intermediate student.

●      Green belt signifies that the student is advanced and has developed a good level of taekwondo skills.

●      Blue belt depict that the student has is now able to apply all basic techniques in a sparring situation.

●      Red belt signifies that the student is able to execute all the techniques with speed and power.

●      Black belt is the highest level of taekwondo achievement and signifies that the student has mastered all the taekwondo techniques.

taekwondo self defense
Taekwondo is a great martial art that can teach you discipline, respect, build your self confidence and self-control, as well as improve fitness.

Does Taekwondo teach self-discipline?

Yes, taekwondo does teach self-discipline. In fact, one of the main goals of taekwondo is to instill discipline in its practitioners. Discipline is essential in taekwondo because it helps students focus their energy and maintain control during competitions and sparring matches.

Taekwondo also requires its students to adhere to a strict code of conduct both inside and outside the dojang. By following this code of conduct, taekwondo students learn to be respectful, humble, and disciplined in all aspects of their lives.


Taekwondo is a great martial art that can teach you discipline, respect, build self confidence and self-control. However, it is not generally very effective in a real fight. This is because Taekwondo relies heavily on techniques that require a lot of space to be properly executed, and are often too complicated to be used in a real-life situation. Nevertheless, Taekwondo is a great sport and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities.

What do you think? Is Taekwondo right for you? Let us know in the comments below!

You might also be interested in our articles on:

Prepping 101: An Introduction To Survivalism And Preparation

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply