September 4, 2022

How Good is Taekwondo for Self Defense?

Anyone who has taken any form of martial arts training doesn’t get involved in a street fight in any circumstances. Martial arts preach self-discipline and non-violence. But sometimes there come unavoidable situations. 

No matter how sober you’re, there will be people who provoke you to fight. Martial arts can be a lifesaver in such situations. Every form of martial arts has some self-defense techniques. 

But the question of this article is, how good is Taekwondo for self-defense? To answer the question, Taekwondo is great and could be good for self-defense training.  But there is a big ‘but’ here, it depends on your trainer and the training institute.

To understand if Taekwondo is a good self-defense martial art, you’ve to understand the concept of ‘Self defense’. What is self-defense? Self – defense is the art of defending or protecting oneself. You don’t need a self-defense technique to defend yourself. 

Self – defense is not about how good you are at grappling or locking. As long as you don’t let your opponent hurt you, it’s self-defense. As long as you keep your opponent away from you, it’s self-defense. 

Taekwondo emphasizes kicks. Kicks are the most used fighting technique. kicks can be one of the most useful self-defense techniques. If you make your legs strong and train to move as fast as your hands. Your kicks can be your best self-defense tool

Yes, Taekwondo is also a good form of self-defense martial arts. 

No martial arts school can give you the exact definition of self-defense. Because there is no such technique that can fit all the situations. You might learn some tournament-style sparring and grapple but for real-life situations, the tournament-style training might not work. Your kicks, punches, throws will dominate all the rules of martial arts. 

girl doing high kick in Taekwondo

Is Taekwondo the best self-defense martial art?

You may ask, why is Taekwondo not the best self-defense martial art? Why did it exist if it does not teach self-defense? Is martial arts not meant for self-defense and combat training?

Your questions are valid. Every martial art came in the form of self-defense training. Taekwondo, which is a Korean martial art, also has self-defense training, but it depends on the school you are enrolling in. 

You should understand that not all self-defense techniques are practical in real life. Though it might be practical for sports. There are rules in sports that every fighter must follow. In real-life situations, you might have to face a group of people and there is no rule in the fight. 

If you have watched TKD sports on TV, you’ll see there is sparring in the game. TKD sports sparring doesn’t work for real-life self-defense. But training like knees strikes, elbows strikes, low kicks and grabs would be more practical in real life.

If you learn quarters strike, non-sport sparring, and other self-defense training. Taekwondo can be one of the most effective self-defense training. 

One good quality of taekwondo is the kick techniques. Kicks play a major role in self-defense. There is a kick known as the middle front kick. This kick is deadly, dangerous and the easiest kicks you can learn in taekwondo. The kicks target the groin. One hard kick in the groin can neutralize your opponent. 

How is Taekwondo One of the Best Martial Arts

If you think from a different perspective, you’ll understand that taekwondo is also one of the best self-defense martial arts. Every martial arts institute focuses on making its students strong enough students physically, mentally and technically. Taekwondo art also follows the same vision.

When it comes to preparing students. Taekwondo gives lots of stress to physical, mental and techniques. For obvious reasons, every martial arts school will give the best sports training. But for real-life situations, taekwondo is one of the best martial arts to use for a fight.

Taekwondo Prepares you Physically

The real-life fight is not a three minute round in the ring. You will need good flexibility and fast moves to defend yourself. And there is no guarantee that your martial arts skills will make you win the fight. 

Taekwondo involves lots of painful and stretching physical training. A person can perform speed kicks and punches only if they’re flexible enough. With Taekwondo you will not only be flexible but you’ll also be able to strike your opponents faster and it improves as you go up the ranks.

If you are in a street fight your only motives will be to win the fight. The intensity of the fight might not give you the time to think about all the techniques you learn. Your quick moves, punches, and kicks will be the only technique that you’ll use. 

Taekwondo might not have the best self-defense techniques but it will prepare you physically for any real-life fight.

Prepares you Mentally 

The moment you give up is the moment you lose a fight. A mentally prepared person is likely to win any fight than a physically prepared person. There is a reason why combat soldiers get exposed to deadly situations in their training sessions, to overcome the fear

Fear can be deadly, it can paralyze you. Taekwondo is a form of martial arts that will not only prepare you physically but also mentally. 

The reason why most people hesitate to strike is that our brain knows we’ll get the same impact as the one getting the strike. Though we’ll not feel it instantly, we get the same impact. Do you remember the Newton’s law motion:

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction

The brain fears that impact and tries to paralyze you. The reason why drug addicts strike so strongly is that the part of their brain is numb. Their brain doesn’t understand what’s happening, it stays numb. That gives drug abusers the ability to be fearless. 

Taekwondo has lots of sparring sessions. Students engage in friendly fights to develop mental fortitude. Students fight full-contact matches wearing headgear and body armor. The sparring sessions make them strong and mentally prepared for real-life situations. 

This form of training makes them mentally strong and ready for any situation. A mentally prepared person can defend better than those who are not. 

Prepares you Technically 

Taekwondo has great sport fighting and self-defense techniques. Most naysayers think that the self-defense techniques used in sports are useless in real-life situations. 

Yes it’s true, it takes years to learn lightning-fast kicks and years to recover if you injure yourself. If you use the kicks in a street fight and happen to injure yourself. You’ll be laying in your bed for months. This is the reason why most people think taekwondo techniques are not suitable for self-defense. 

But what if you strike your opponent the right way and you win the fight. Now if you are stuck in the middle of ‘what if’ any way you’ll lose the fight, let alone self-defense. Don’t think kicks and punches are the only things taekwondo teaches. Taekwondo is not only a sport, but it’s also a self-defense art. 

Like any other martial arts taekwondo also has lots of different techniques to fight and defend yourself. 

Self Defense Techniques in Taekwondo 

The self-defense techniques in taekwondo can be a little different from the rest of the martial arts. But that’s the beauty of each martial art. The uniqueness and versatility of style. 

Here are some Taekwondo self-defense techniques:

1. Left Right Stepping – You might have seen most of the martial artists are in continuous motion. That’s known as sidestepping. Taekwondo gives you the best sidestepping training. 

Sidestepping can be a great self-defense technique both in sports and street fights. The amateur streetfighter has two basic moves, spear and wrestling moves. Sidestepping can help you avoid attacks with spear, sticks and wrestling moves attacks. 

2. Palm Block – Palm block is a fundamental self-defense technique you’ll learn in any martial arts training. Taekwondo doesn’t only train how to use the palm block technique. It teaches you how to use your legs to strike while using the Palm clock techniques. 

This is the best self-defense technique that you will find only in Taekwondo. 

3. Groin Kick – The combination of palm block and groin kick is one of the deadliest moves. When you are in a fight, only self-defense will now work. You’ll have to strike back as quickly as you block your opponent. 

4. Defensive Side Kick – Defensive kick might look like an offensive kick. But what do you call a kick used for blocking? A defensive kick! If your opponent is throwing kicks at you. You can use sidekicks to target the knees and stop him from coming near to you. 

When you enroll for a taekwondo self-defense class, look for training elements such as self-defense training against many opponents or armed attackers. 


Taekwondo might not be the best self-defense martial arts but they do have self-defense training. It will be a false claim saying taekwondo does not teach self-defense. 

The type of training you get depends on your school and the trainer. With proper self-defense training, you can defend yourself with taekwondo martial arts. Yes, Muay Thai, MMA, and other forms of martial arts give you more self-defense techniques but taekwondo has its unique qualities. 

Eugene Hardy

Eugene is a professional Muay Thai fighter, with several years of experience. Also, a black belt holder. He actively participates in tournaments and provides training to his students. Eugene started this blog to share his experiences with Martial Arts.

View all posts by Eugene Hardy →

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