Taekwondo Back Kick is Risky but Lucrative

I hesitate talking about flashy techniques because it's too easy to identify Taekwondo with flash ... and getting older, phrases with flash in them like 'flash in the pan' just doesn't do it for me. Know what I mean?

Just lifting up the leg and firing a back kick is not too difficult. Keeping both knees together and not rotating your hips so your legs separate means you might get a decent back kick which looks a little less than a side kick than a mule kick. If I wanted a side kick done backwards I would have asked for a sidekick backwards. But I want a back kick.

Tactically it is a great kick and can be used outside the context of kicking backwards - a kick coming up at an opponent from 'underneath' presents a huge problem for coverage and blocking. Think Marilyn Monroe - she'd find it way easier holding that skirt down if the wind was blowing from the front rather than from that vent under her feet. Don't listen to that advice if you have rules to prevent you kicking an opponent in the nuts. I mean groin.

Most intermediate belts have a problem doing a stepping forward taekwondo back kick. Call it what you will ... doing a back kick against a target held in front of you is difficult. Most practitioners would spin too much, do a side kick and tend to lose balance and stumble backwards. The key to doing the back kick is to turn only just enough - meaning turn 1/4 way, and then move your backside toward the target in a straight line. Think too much of the rotation and you'll lose control of your leg and will end up looking really dumb.

Again I think it's way easier to learn the kick with little power at first so you can coordinate all those limbs. Don't forget to cover your face with your back hand, and you might cover the front of your body and the side of your head with the other. And like all other kicks, breathe out for goodness sake.

The stepping forward or spinning back kick is a risky but lucrative technique if you get it right. The risk is if you are faced with a knockout artist - and if you miss. I'd choose to do this technique only on the slowest knockout artists. On other practitioners and for fun ... go ahead. Try not to lose too many friends ... it is a very powerful kick and hard to pull back once fired.


-- Colin Wee Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia. Connect with Colin on FaceBook and Traditional Taekwondo Group on FB.


I agree and understand your hesitation on writing about this kicking technique. About every beginning student comes in and that is the first kick they ask about. But, it sure is a cool kick and feels awesome when you can pull it off in a match! Good post
Colin Wee said…
Good hearing from you. Cheers on the feedback. Colin
Will said…
Hi Colin

I love back kicks because they are very powerful.

However, when you watch mixed martial arts matches, you never see a back kick. Is it because they fear someone could leap on the back (easier to get a submission in wrestling/jiujitsu). Or because they haven't been trained in the traditional arts?

Hey there,

It's nice to see a real blog about "Traditional" taekwondo. I hope to learn a lot here. But anyways, I've seen some taekwondo and karate tournaments like last year. It seemed that the technique of choice was actually the back kick and I criticized it with close friends. Both competitors of many matches would bounce around in their stances and both blast out a back kick. Whoever hits first wins! I'm a believer in using a full arsenal of techniques.


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