Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that was developed over thousands of years. Today, the martial art is known for spectacular high kicks that often target an opponent’s head. Sparring in taekwondo is as much a chess match as anything, using your training and knowledge to counter an opponent’s attack while trying to create an opening for an attack of your own.
Punches can be used both defensively and offensively. A front-hand jab can be used to keep your opponent off-balance, stopping her forward motion in its tracks. A backhand, or reverse, punch can be used offensively and as a counterattack. Punches such as hooks and uppercuts are also used, depending on the rules of the sparring match. Punches can be used in combination, or as a way to close distance to allow you to kick your opponent.
Taekwondo is known for its effective kicks, and these techniques can be used defensively. Two of the best kicks to use defensively involve using your front leg because it is closer to your opponent. A front-leg front kick can be used to stop an opponent’s forward momentum, giving you valuable time to plan a counterattack. The front-leg side kick can lift your opponent off her feet if used properly. When using defensive kicks, be sure you have proper balance. Used improperly, they can result in your being off balance while your opponent is attacking.
While nothing is set in stone, many offensive kicks involve using your back leg. These techniques take more time to reach your opponent, so they are often used in combination with punches to help close distance and set up your attack. Offensive kicks can also be delivered as a counterattack, such as using a back-leg hook kick to counter a round kick thrown by your opponent. You can also use offensive kicks to close distance, but be aware that this often opens you up to a counterattack.
Blocking is critical when sparring, simply because it prevents you from being hit. Blocks can involve using your arms to prevent contact or using body position to negate and attack. Blocks can also be used to position yourself for an attack by moving close to your opponent while preventing her attack. Blocks are often a good opportunity to transition from a defensive posture to an attack, such as in a block, punch, kick combination.
Keith Strange spent more than a decade as a staff writer for newspapers in the southeastern United States, winning numerous awards for his work. He has a B.S. in wellness/sports medicine from Averett University and completed graduate work in exercise physiology. Strange is a former competitive martial artist and holds a third-degree black belt in tae kwon do.