Does Taekwondo Use Punches? | Explained

In this page we will cover if Taekwondo uses punches, if they punch in the Taekwondo Olympics, and whether a punch is faster than a kick.

Table of Contents

Does Taekwondo Use Punches?

Taekwondo does use punches however it's mostly used as a secondary weapon. Taekwondo is primarily a kicking based martial art, using an assortment of kicks including direct kicks, as well as spinning kicks. This martial art prioritizes fighting from a middle to long distance range.

Does TKD Use Punches


In Taekwondo tournaments, you'll often see both fighters fighting from a long distance, and when they finally find an opening they'll quickly attack with a kick (or combination of kicks) before retreating back to a distance.

It isn't until they get into close distance that punches are used. The reason for this is that there's not enough time (or space) to throw a kick when you are inches from your opponent.

In this particular case, they'll throw punches and then disengage to fight from a longer range where they are more comfortable from.

Why Don't They Punch in Taekwondo Olympics?

Normally that's due to the World Taekwondo rules. A long time ago, the leaders of the WT organization decided that they did not want their fighters using punches as it could be confused with kickboxing. They wanted to maintain their own unique look, where viewers could easily identify their sport.

taekwondo olympics


Is a Punch Faster Than a Kick?

Punches are not faster than kicks. However kicks can be a faster strike while still taking longer to develop due to the longer limbs of the body. Depending on which type of kick that you throw, it can vary in speed.

A direct kick such as a side kick can be quicker to throw due to the lack of spinning needed to throw.

front kick

A spinning heel kick can take longer to develop but create more power and speed during the actual kick.

Similarly when punching, a jab and a cross will get to the target faster due to the directness of the strike.

Taekwondo in a Street Fight

Taekwondo can be very successful in a street fight as long as you understand distance control. Taekwondo is mostly a leg-based martial art, and in order to throw kicks, you will need to maintain a distance between your opponent.

If you give up to much distance, and are within inches of your opponent, it will be tough to throw any type of leg kicks, and you risk being taken down as well.

However, Taekwondo teaches fantastic range management, as practitioners routinely have to close and create distance during sparring.

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