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Attention Stance

Cha ryuht sohgi is a stance in which the arms are slightly bent at one's sides and hands are in fists (with only thumbs touching the legs). Legs must be straight and feet must be together.

Closed Stance

Moa Sohgi means feet together.

Ready Stance

Choon bi means ready and is usually used before any practice, including patterns, begins or when the teacher requires your attention. It is often used to stop a practice when required. "Junbi" is possibly the most frequently used word in Taekwondo

Feet should be about shoulder width apart, arms bent in front of body, and hands about a fist width apart around belt height.

Short Stance

Ahp Sohgi is used to approach or retreat in poomsae. Feet should be maintained shoulder width apart.
Long Stance

Ahp Koobi is a stance with the front leg bent and back leg locked straight. The weight distribution is of 60% on the front and 40% on the back. Body should be facing forewards. Long Stance is a confident, attacking stance often used to launch striking techniques.

Back Stance

Dwi Koobi is a stance in which the body is turned to the side and the legs are split one and a half shoulder widths apart. The front foot points directly forwards while the back leg is turned 90 degrees. The feet are lined up along the heels. To make sure you have the L-stance properly aligned, stand with your feet together, turn out the toes and move the back foot directly backwards into the stance. 70% of the weight should be on the back leg which means the front leg can be engaged in quick kicking and it will not unbalance the practitioner if swept.

Tiger Stance

Bum Sohgi is like the Tiger Stance but much tighter, and the feet are slightly over a heads width apart. Again, most of the weight is placed on the back foot(90/10), leaving the front leg ready to kick.

Sitting/Riding Stance

Joo-Choom Sohgi is a low stance used in Taekwondo which also enables an individual to practice punching. It is known as the 'horse-stance'.

Feet are placed wide, around two shoulder widths apart and the knees are deeply bent until the hamstrings lie parallel with the floor. The back is kept straight. Arms are bent with closed, upturned fists held at the hips. As each punch is directed forward, the fist swivels 180 degrees down to a natural position before impact, turning back up again as it is retracted to the sides.

This is a very difficult position for the legs and lower back. While punches are being trained, other parts of the body are receiving a workout. As a student progresses, his hips will begin to open up and he will be able to achieve an even lower stance.

Fighting Stance

Kyorugi Choon Bi is a simple stance which is similar to Back Stance, but with the practitioners weight centered to allow for kicking with either front or back foot.

Hand Attacks

Taekwondo hand strikes are performed as a close distance alternative to kicks. They are executed in a number of ways - from standing, jumping, spinning and rushing forward. Hand strikes can be made into fast combinations of strikes which can leave an opponent stunned and unable to defend himself.

Various surfaces of the hand may be engaged as the striking surface depending on which area of the opponents body which is being targeted. This leads to a large array of hand positions.

Forefist - A closed fist may be jabbed out directly to strike with the forefist knuckles. This is a suitable position for general punches to soft areas of the body. Without protection, it is inadvisable to strike the bony face as fingers are likely to get broken on the hard temple and jaw bones.

Hammer fist - A closed fist may be brought down in a hammering motion to strike with the underneath. Such a strike can obliterate an opponent's nose, making it near impossible for him to retaliate.

Backfist (Doong Chumok)- A clenched hand is swung backwards into the face of an opponent. The back of the hand makes contact and the momentum garnered in the swing makes this a powerful strike.

Knife Hand - Son Nal Chigi is the Taekwondo name for a 'Karate Chop'; where an open hand is hammered down to make impact with the underside.

Fingertips - Joomuk can be used to strike vulnerable areas of the body and is used in self-defence. Four finger strikes engaging the tips of the outstretched hand can be made to vital points in the neck and torso.

Thumb - Umji is a fist with the thumb protruding over the top. This is a formidable weapon in pressure point striking. Vulnerable areas can be targeted all over the body such as the sternum, the spaces in between the ribs and other nerve clusters.

Palm Heel - Is a classic self-defence strike where the hand is pulled back to engage the base of the palm in an upwards thrusting strike. This is particularly dangerous if applied to the base of the nose or chin.

• Elbow Strike (Palkup Chigi)- Forearm is folded inwards towards the body and the strike is delivered with the outside of the forearm or elbow.

Four Knuckle Strike - This is a fist shape particular to the Asian martial arts. Instead of closing the fist completely, the fingers are held out and only the knuckles are bent thereby presenting the upper set of knuckles as the striking surface. This fist is used for breaking boards as the smaller surface area concentrates the punches power.

Kicks (Chagi)

All kicks can be executed as jump kicks, spin kicks, jump spin kicks or multi-rotational spin kicks. Also, all can be performed by the front or rear leg in a given stance.

Some of the best-known Taekwondo kicks include:

Front Snap Kick (앞 차기 Ahp Chagi): This is a very linear kick. The practitioner raises the knee to the waist, pulls the toes back and quickly extends the foot at the target. The front kick is one of the first kicks learned in TKD; if mastered it can become one of the most powerful. This technique is mostly meant to push the attacker away, but can injure.

Side Kick (옆 차기 Yup Chagi): A very powerful kick, first the practitioner simultaneously raises the knee and rotates the body 90 degrees, and then quickly extends the leg, striking with the heel or the side of the foot.

Roundhouse Kick or Turning Kick (돌려 차기 Dolrya Chagi): The practitioner raises the knee, turns the hips, pivots on the non-kicking foot, and snaps the kick horizontally into the target at a 80 to 90-degree angle with the instep.
Back Kick (뒤 차기 Dwi Chagi): Here the practitioner turns the body away from the target and pushes the back leg straight toward the target, hitting it with the heel while watching over the shoulder. The turning motion helps to give this kick a lot of power. Without proper care, you can "spin out" and lose your balance from using this attack.

Hook Kick (후려 차기 Huryeo Chagi): A less popular kick traditionally, it has found increasing favor in modern competitions. The practitioner raises the knee in a fashion similar to the roundhouse kick, then extends the foot outward then snaps it around in a dorsal arc, with the heel as the intended striking weapon.

Axe Kick (내려 차기 Ahp Olligi): Another kick that has increased in popularity due to sparring competitions. The leg is raised in front of the body. The leg remains straight or close to straight as it rises, then the leg is pulled down with the heel pointed downward. It is typically targeted toward the head or shoulders and requires significant flexibility to employ effectively.

Half-Moon Kick (반달 차기 Bandal Chagi): There are two variations of this kick: the outer crescent and the inner crescent. In the outer, the practitioner raises the extended leg as high as possible, and slightly up across the body, (a bit across the center line of the body), then sweeping outward to the side, in a circular movement. In the inner, the motions are the same but the direction of the kick changes, this time originating from the outside of the body, heading towards the inside, or center line of the body. These kicks are also called "Inside Kick" and "Outside Kick" at some taekwondo schools, and "Inside-Outside" and "Outside-Inside" at others.

Tornado Kick/360 kick: The practitioner spins in the direction of their back leg while raising their knee and jumping to perform a spinning Inside Half Moon-Kick in midair.

Jumping Kick (뛰어 차기 Twi Dolrya Chagi): There are also many kicks that involve jumping before their execution. These include jumping front kick, jumping side kick, flying side kick, jumping axe kick, jumping roundhouse, jumping spinning hook kick, jumping spinning roundhouse kick, jumping back kick, and jump spinning side kick. Normally, jumping kicks involve pulling up the back leg to help gain height during the jump and then performing the kick itself with the front leg.

Blocks (Makgi)

Taekwondo blocks known as Makgi are used to stop and deflect an incoming attack. They engage various parts of the arm with the hand and are held in different positions such as knife-hand, closed fist etc. Each block is suitable for a particular kind of attack and may be combined with another punch or kick to make a counter-attack.

Low Block - Ahrae Makgi is used to defend against low attacks to the torso or legs. This is one of the most basic Taekwondo blocks and one of the first things a beginner will learn. The lead forearm is bent and raised to shoulder height, snapping the arm down straight with the palm facing the ground, which blocks any incoming low kicks.

High Block - Eogul Makgi is another basic Taekwondo block, used to defend against overhead attacks to the head and shoulders. The arm is bent and raised above the head, and the underside of the forearm absorbs the impact of the blow. This block is used to defend against Hammerfists, Axe Kicks and overhead strikes with blunt instruments.

Palm Block - Batang Son Makgi is a standard block used to deflect incoming kicks and punches. The open hand is raised up to shoulder height and thrust directly down to meet the attackers limb. The heel of the hand makes contact with the attacker's forearm in case of a punch, or shin in case of a kick. Although simple, it requires a lot of partner training to get the timing of this Taekwondo block correct.

Single Knife Hand Block - Han Son Nal Makgi is a standard block in which the hand is kept in a knife hand position to block attacks to the torso. The front arm sweeps down in an arc from the inside to the outside of the body. The other hand is kept beside the hip in a fist.
• Knife Hand Block - Son Nal Makgi is a block in which the practitioner turns his body to the side (usually in Riding or Back Stance) with his hands raised behind him in knife hand position. The hands are then quickly moved to their final position. The father hand is kept close to the body with the knife of the body touching the centre of your body. The other hand will be used to block other kicks or punches - the same use as the Single Knife Hand Block.

Patterns or Poomsae 

Taekwondo patterns, also known as Poomsae, constitute an important part of Taekwondo competitions. A pattern is a series of movements linked together in a prescribed sequence. Both basic and advanced Taekwondo techniques can be contained within a single patterns and the higher the level of the competitor, the greater the difficulty of the techniques and the complexity of the pattern. Competitors must perform their highest pattern in front of a panel of judges.

In order to preform a pattern perfectly, you must master the following: 

Accuracy - Taekwondo patterns should begin and end in the same place.

Posture - Practitioners must have their body weight correctly distributed during each different stance and during footwork. Each technique must be correctly aligned.

Realism - Taekwondo patterns are the learning ground for real combat. As such, every technique must display the requisite speed, power and firmness to be realistically used as an attack or defense move.

Spirit - A competitor's 'presence' on the mat must be as credible as his technique. Self belief, confidence in abilities, and intention to perform to a personal best are tangible virtues considered indispensable in Taekwondo practitioners.

Decorum - Proper manners must be displayed when interacting with the judges directly before and after the pattern. Respect must also be extended to rival competitors, clubs and other officials.

Form - General qualities that judges look for in any Taekwondo practitioner include proper breathing technique and body control. The diaphragm must be engaged in deep breathing, shallow breathing concentrated in the upper abdomen results in raised shoulders and stressed muscles. The muscles of the body should be lightly relaxed in order to perform the pattern with fluidity, speed and grace. Muscles should only be tensed at the moment of imaginary impact in order to commute maximum power to any individual Taekwondo technique.


Breaking, the discipline of destroying inanimate materials such as wooden boards, bats, ice or bricks is a feature common to several Asian martial arts.

In Taekwondo breaking competitions, the idea is to demonstrate power, speed and technique. The preferred object is commonly wooden boards of varying thicknesses, advanced students break several boards stacked one on top of the other. In Taekwondo, the hardness of the object to be broken is usually subjugated to the difficulty of the technique to be employed. Thus various body parts are used, such as the ridge of the hand, the knuckles or even the fingertips. Headbutts, knee strikes, elbow strikes and various parts of the foot are also used to break boards. A single board or stack of boards may be broken or, alternatively, a series of boards may be broken in a pre-set sequence utilizing a variety of strikes. Advanced competitors may even break several boards in a single jump with multiple kicks before landing.

Starting with coloured belts Taekwondo students must learn breaking. As they progress through the ranks, the breaks they perform increase in difficulty as do the number of boards. As time goes on, the Taekwondo student's hands and bones become accustomed to breaking boards - repeated practice hardens bones, skin and tendons. Wolff's law states that the human skeleton will adapt to the stress it is put under, therefore the bones actually become stronger as a Taekwondo student advances in his martial arts career.

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