The Basics Keep You Safe
You face your attacker and sink into a fighting stance. You’re feeling confident. You pivot, jump, spin, and — BLAM.
The attacker flinches. Your leg gets caught on his arm and you’re suddenly laid out, dazed. A second later he’s on your chest, smashing your head into the pavement.
“Advanced” moves look and feel cool. But they put you in a lot of danger in a real fight, and that’s because they have a much higher rate of failure. There’s a reason why combat styles are always super basic. Your basic moves are not just building blocks: they are a clue for what moves work the best for self defense.
In other words: the basics are built for real fights. Advanced techniques are not.
(For this post, I’m reaching outside the “14 Basics” and also picking moves from the full spectrum of Taekwondo fundamentals.)
Basic Taekwondo Moves for Self Defense
- Straight Punch. Obviously. If it works for boxers, it’ll work for Taekwondo people, too. Most people throw haymakers and are not prepared to deal with straight punches, because they are faster and harder to detect, block, and /or evade. If you have a good straight punch, you can basically fight better than most the population.
- Front Kick/Push Kick. Front snap kicks can be painful, but the real value of the front kick is push people away. Use this technique to help cover your entry into close quarters moves. Or, use it to make space or prevent someone from getting too close to you.
- Round Kick. Round kicks are super versatile. Bruise the ribs, hurt their arms, or attack the legs — nothing is off limits in a street fight. The round kick can be used from long range or short range, making it excellent for both getting you to close quarters AND supplementing your close range punching combos.
- Target Elbow Strike. Yep, Taekwondo has elbows. But make sure you grab the person’s head when you smash your elbow into it. It adds control, makes your elbow more devastating, and helps set you up to do whatever you want to follow up.
- Palm Heel Strike. Knuckles hurt? Afraid to break your hand? Use palm strikes. They hurt almost as much and do virtually no damage to you. The mechanics of a good palm strike are the same as a straight punch, not a slap. (But you can throw a good slap in there while you’re at it!)
- Knee Strike. Yep, we have those too. But like the elbow, we don’t just throw knees into space. Grab the shoulders and pull your attacker straight into your rising knee. Yeah it sucks.
- Defensive Side Kick. The applications of this powerful technique are endless. First, it acts as a sort of offensive push kick. But much more powerful. It keeps your opponent from getting close to you AND it hurts them. But you can also use this front leg side kick to kick in knees or stop incoming kicks.
That’s Not All
These are excellent moves for self-defense, but Taekwondo has so much more. We have grabs and grapples and takedowns and other basic strikes that if practiced correctly can make Taekwondo into a robust self defense system. But the above moves are the starting point, and they will go a long way towards keeping you safe.
Train hard, train well, train often.