Is Taekwondo Effective as Self Defense In a Street Fight?

Is Taekwondo Effective for a Self Defense in a Street Fight?

Taekwondo is one of the most popular martial arts in the world, but many may wonder, is it effective as self-defense in a street fight? And we have an answer ready for you.

Taekwondo can be effective for self-defense in a street fight, but only if you forget all the rules you are learning in most Taekwondo classes and on tournaments.

There is no place for rules in a street fight, and we will explain what we mean about it below.

What is Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that originated in the 1940s by combining different skills that were practiced over time.

Its name comes from the word Tae (태, hanja 跆), which means “to stomp, trample”, Kwon (권, hanja 拳), which means to strike with the hand, and Do (도, hanja 道), which means “way, discipline”.

Taekwondo is a striking skill that attracts attractive foot techniques and speed. Today, taekwondo has become one of the most popular martial arts and sports, and the number of skills in the world has been declared at more than 100 million.

How Effective Is Taekwondo as Self Defense In a Street Fight

Taekwondo in the old days was not so much limited by rules, and it was used for military purposes. But, during years it changed a lot, and now it is mostly a sport, in fact, the Olympic one.

There are so many rules for Taekwondo, that like that, it can’t be effective as self-defense in a street fight, but, if you discard those rules, and go all-in for your life on the street, then Taekwondo can be a very good basis for self-defense.

In the Olympic Taekwondo competition, strikes with hand to the face are prohibited. Punches to the body and kicks with full force to the head, that is above the waist, are allowed.

There are many more rules that limit Taekwondo as a sport to be good in street fighting, and some of them are that it is not allowed to push, grab and hold, and hit or attack with the knee, as well as attacks above the belt and the like.

Because of these various rules, Taekwondo has become disrespected among martial arts fans, who are increasingly challenging how effective it is.

But, if you are in a street fight, and you are afraid for your life, or to be injured or that something will happen to someone close to you, and if you commit to that fight, then you have to get rid of all these rules.

If you can do it, then Taekwondo can become great martial art for self-defense. While training it, you are getting speed, coordination, flexibility, explosiveness, and agility of the body, among other things that we will address below.

Pross of Taekwondo training for a street fight

One of the most important aspects of training is sparring or “taekyon”, which means the sports part of taekwondo, and which, after mastering the basic techniques, is given the most attention.

A serious taekwondo student will not neglect a discipline called “kyupka” or breaking objects made of different materials to check the strength of the blow, as trying a blow on an opponent could result in serious injury and even death. In such cases, the impact force is usually measured on tiles, bricks, and planks of different thicknesses. Such impact tests are common on exams for senior students and master titles.

For a taekwondo master, it is not a problem to break a board 2 or more inches thick with a punch or the edge of a palm, and with a jump kick, they can break a tile or board at a height of more than 80 inches! It is not difficult to imagine what effect such blows would have in real combat in a street fight.

Moreover, even if you`ve reached a mastery level in breaking objects, together with a jump kick, being able to break a tile, taking proper care of your equipment, including wearing the best taekwondo shoes, can be a determining factor in executing such feats safely and effectively.

In addition to developing a harmonious, strong, and healthy body, taekwondo also indirectly affects the psyche of the exerciser. Practicing taekwondo for a long time, gains self-confidence, strengthens the will and strengthens the ability to concentrate, which is of great benefit in everyday life, especially when it comes to self-defense.

The performance of techniques requires speed, coordination, flexibility, explosiveness and agility of the body, while competitive fights with physical predispositions require concentration and imagination in combining techniques but also precision and strength to perform the technique as best as possible to win points.

Taekwondo is one of the few sports that can be practiced from preschool to late age because it is very suitable, for sports training, as well as for the recreational form of exercise where more emphasis is placed on technical performance and training forms (fighting an imaginary opponent) and self-defense.

How effective is Taekwondo for self-defense

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Well, this is pretty similar as what we wrote above. If you get rid of the rules, you will have good foundation for self-defense.

But, it has to be clear to everyone, when you are in a situation where you are afraid for your life, you shouldn’t be thinking about making a perfect Taekwondo move. You should only be thinking about how to quickly disable or defeat your opponent so you can get out of those unwanted and sometimes disastrous situations.

Taekwondo is effective for self-defense in a way that it builds your mind and body, in all sorts of different ways, so you can be ready for a real-life and death situation, but you shouldn’t rely only on its techniques, but do whatever you can to defend yourself.

Also, Taekwondo emphasizes kicking, much more than any other martial art, and if you master it correctly, to be strong and fast as your arms are, it can be excellent martial art for self-defense.

If you want to find out which are the best martial arts for self-defense, visit our article in which we have ranked them.

Releated questions:

Is Taekwondo hard to learn?

Taekwondo is in fact very hard to learn, or better to say to master. Memorizing its forms is easy while knowing and performing them is very hard.

Sometimes in Taekwondo, students learn for a whole year only one or two forms, and even then they are not able to perform them the right way.

What are the 5 rules of Taekwondo?

The 5 rules of Taekwondo are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit.

Is Taekwondo deadly?

As a combat sport, which is taught today in most classes, Taekwondo is not a deadly martial art.

It is an Olympic sport, and as such it is learned for tournaments and scores, not to be deadly.

But, throughout history, Taekwondo was a deadly martial art. Nowadays, it is mostly not practiced in that way anymore.

Can you block kicks with hands in Taekwondo?

People may be wondering can you block kicks with your hands in Taekwondo sparring or tournaments.

The answer is, yes. You can block kicks with your hands, but you should do it as a last resort.

Blocking is important especially if you do “gibon kyorugi” (free sparring), whether you are in a taekwondo tournament or you are just doing sparring in classes.

You can use the “ahre makgi” (upper block) to block a “neria chagi” (axe kick) to the face.

Then you can use the outside-inside mid block with either hand to block against an “ahp chagi” (front snap kick). You can also use “gawi makgi” (scissors blocks, used multiple times) to block continuous front snap kicks aiming towards your chest.

You can also use the inside-outside upper block – particularly a crescent block to block your face against the common spin kick (“dollyo chagi”) or back spinning kick (“dwit dollyo chagi”) which usually targets your face.

Finally, you can use the forward thrust block mid-line to stop a “moorup chagi” (knee kick) to the sternum.

But as we said in our answer to this question, we would advise you against using blocks if you can. It is much better to work on evasion techniques and interceptions.

For example, a forty-five-degree wide step evasion to your right to avoid a linear kick such as a push or sidekick thrown directly at you. That will put you out of danger to their left so when you do something like a counter-attack with a lead roundhouse to the head, it comes from their blind spot and is usually an easy score.

Another example of interception is a lead leg cut preferably sliding cut kick or jumping back to avoid a direct roundhouse.

You have to keep in mind, a powerful kick can easily injure any part of your hands which is the reason we stated that blocking kicks with hands should be used as a last resort.

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has been training in the art of kickboxing for over seven years, holds a Taekwondo black belt, and has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. He's a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster.
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Vladimir Vladisavljevic

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He has been training in kickboxing for over seven years and holds a Taekwondo black belt. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. Vladimir is a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster. He was known as The Bulgarian Cowboy in the Western world. In addition, he has a YouTube channel where he talks about his love of esports, one of the fastest-growing fields in the world. Our testing and reviewing method.
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