I would like to get my kids started on the basics of Tae Kwon Do. 20+ years ago I was a blue belt with a stripe or two in a private dojo in California. I remember the punches, the blocks, the stances and I've found the yellow stripe kata (first kata I believe) in a book I had from years ago.

What I am looking for is the 'starter moves' you would teach to beginner students.

  1. Learn this punch/kick/block/stance
  2. Now Learn this punch/kick/block/stance

Is there a simple break down of, say, the first 5 classes a white belt student would learn?

p.s. my problem isn't in teaching them the various moves but rather what moves get taught in what order. Having practiced martial arts for 10+ years in my past I am more than capable of passing on enough of a good grasp of the basics to suit their (and my) needs. However, I remember that certain moves were taught first so as to provide a foundation for learning. That is what I am looking for.

  • 6
    Why not enroll them in a TKD class? Are you planning on teaching them yourself throughout their training? If so, being a blue belt 20 years ago isn't enough. If not, then why not get them started in the style they're going to be training long-term? May I suggest that if you do not know what to teach them, you probably don't remember how either. You might be planting mistakes that some poor TKD instructor is going to have to weed out later. Please take this as constructive criticism. Jul 3, 2014 at 18:32
  • I get the constructive criticism. Understood. But the problem is stackexchange isn't the place for discussions and back-and-forths about personal topics. I was trying to keep a clean and simple post asking a simple and straightforward question that would be easy to answer. Jul 3, 2014 at 18:45
  • I'm trying to avoid getting this topic shut down as it deserves a place, especially in this topic. But to answer your question, I can't afford to enroll them and would like a good reason to start practicing myself. I made it to blue, served in the marines and continued martial training, but got a desk/IT job and now 20 years later am out of shape. I sincerely doubt I could introduce enough problems from bad training on "how to hold the hand" or "stand this way for this stance" so my concerns are not in this range. I just would like a list of what the basics are rather than covering everything. Jul 3, 2014 at 18:47
  • Stackexchange shuts down and closes topics that are off-topic and as it stands now my topic is dead on, straightforward, easily answered and should be fine as it stands. So to all future commenters, if you don't want to answer the question please feel free to move on to another question! Have a great day. Jul 3, 2014 at 18:48
  • I wouldn't worry about it for back-and-forth in the comments. That's what comments are for. This is a legit question and therefore should not be voted to close. Jul 3, 2014 at 18:50

3 Answers 3


(from an ex taekwondo instructor... now practicing karate only)

Taekwondo was spread very fast and wide with little "quality control", so what gets taught in different dojos can be very varied. I'm sure the first thing some WTF dojos would do is get them turning/roundhouse kicks on those little flappy pad things, but I'll just offer what we used to teach at my old school, which was more in keeping with the karate origins of taekwondo....

We started teaching students a "walking" stance - getting comfortable stepping forwards, turning. Then we'd add a simple punch as they step, a low block with outer forearm, an inward block with outer forearm, a rising block (coming up to protect the head from a downward hammerfist or similar), an outer-forearm outward block, and an inner forearm outward block (which will feel pretty weird to new students). By adding a front kick, they can start simple three step sparring - one moving forward repeating either the punch or the kick three times while the other retreats and blocks, then reverse. You can introduce the concept of closing the opponent by blocking their attacking limb across their body, making it harder for the attack to be continued with a reverse punch. The next thing to introduce would be a back aka L stance - still running through the same set of techniques.

We normally wouldn't explicitly introduce the concepts of hip rotation and power generation for the first six months to a year - they'll pick some of that up by watching seniors and their instructor, but it will confuse (and possibly discourage) the ones who aren't comfortable with the basic gross movements.

Another technique they'll probably enjoy is the good old chop - outward knifehand strike. Inward palm block is another technique introduced early - can be good to keep things civilised if the forearms are being used to inflict pain ;-~.

IMHO - too early for side kick, back kick, turning/roundhouse kick. Crescent/slapping kicks can be introduced if they're doing well - for a beginner, just lifting a straight leg up and across the body from outside to in or vice versa respectively - they're good for learning balance, improving flexibility and a little variety more than practical fighting, but get students visualising openings from the sides and hopefully thinking about exploiting them. (Later on with good technique and knee flex they become viable offensive weapons too).

If you throw in the first kata - that should be enough for a couple months, mixed in with some stretching, strengthening and general fitness exercises.


(Taekwondo practitioner for nearly 30 years, running a Taekwondo club)

I would go with the others general advice on getting them started in a club under a qualified instructor. However, I understand there are places where either people are too far from a club or it's financially not feasible, so teaching them the very basics gives them something to work on in the meantime.

So, we normally start like this:

1) Teach them how to clench a fist properly. Then go in to Charyeot (attention stance, fist at the sides, don't flap them/slap them against the legs, feet together, all toes forward), Kyungye (bow, waist to 30 degrees head to 45 degrees, look down NOT at your opponent) and Joonbi (ready, feet one foot length apart, all toes forward, hands come slowly up to solar plexus open and down slowly clenching until they reach the belt not where they stop one fist apart and one fist away from the belt not).

2) We do sitting stance punching - keep the feet two foot lengths apart, all toes facing forward, knees bent but naturally not forced outward. When punching initially focus on getting the hands right, ensuring the twist is in the last 20% of the movement, then add in waist/body twisting.

3) We teach them three basic blocks - low block, rising block and inward block. We do this in steps - prepare, step, block - for each, then move them on to doing all three steps together (so as you're starting to step prepare the hands to the right place, then as you finish and your foot stops, your block stops). All are done in short/walking stance (we don't teach long stace - Apkubi - until after the first belt test).

4) We teach them four basic kicks. The principle is that each kick is attacking an opponent in front from a different attack direction. So a front kick - Ap Chagi (ensuring proper knee bending before AND after kicking) comes in a slightly upward direction, a push kick - Mirroh Chagi (knee to the chest before pushing away with the sole of the foot) comes from a straight forward direction, axe kick - Naeryo Chagi (swings straight up, knee straight at this grade, then point the foot and pull down) comes downward, then turning/roundhouse kick - Dollyo Chagi (knee forward as per front kick, foot and toes pulled back, then turn the standing foot and rotate the leg so the shin is parallel to the floor, kick out then retract the same way) comes from the side.

After that we often go in to footwork, but this is a bit more difficult to describe.

I would advise not making him wear a dobok and certainly don't think about if lessons go on, giving him any belts. If you can purchase a Taekwondo paddle, you can use it to have him kick something.


Here is a start:

  1. How to make a proper fist
  2. Front kick
  3. Straight punch
  4. Back stance
  5. Front stance

From there you could build with back fist, hammer strike, round kick. There is a lifetime of learning right there. Keep working on balance, target/aim, power, speed, focus, kihap.

Maybe don't teach side kick, as it is hard enough to learn how to do it right, without having to "unlearn" if you learned it wrong.

  • Hi, and welcome to the site. I edited your post a little so it is easier to read. As it stands, it's not bad but neither is it good. Could you expand it a little? Jul 8, 2014 at 6:30
  • 2
    In our school, those are what a student learns in the first five lessons. We learn those basic techniques and use them in combinations, and with drills on the bag and targets. We also learn how to bow (shiu), attention (charyot), ready stance (joonbi), fighting stance (kyroogi joonbi), the school regulations and some other simple Korean terms (hana "one", dul "two", etc.). To ask me to expand on how to perform the techniques, is to perhaps go against everything I've learned! We are taught to teach by showing, not talking. So maybe find some good videos that show good technique. :-)
    – aleks1217
    Jul 8, 2014 at 14:19
  • I only realized now that randomblink is asking for kata. Kata is a Japanese term, and maybe he is asking for poomse or forms? White belt just teaches simple combinations. Then you work through (depending on your school) the Taeguk, Palgwe, Pyung Ahn (etc., etc.... our school does Chong Bong which is not internationally or competition recognized) forms. Again, another good starting point for searches on the internet.
    – aleks1217
    Jul 9, 2014 at 3:20
  • @aleks1217 that is another GREAT example of what I was looking for. Charyot and joonbi were those pieces I haven't had to use in decades, but I could remember something was missing. Enough that I didn't want to start teaching ANYTHING because I felt I was missing important stuff. Thanks! Jul 11, 2014 at 19:45
  • Good, I'm glad to help! Here is the full set. Charyot (attention), kyung yeh (bow), joonbi (ready stance), kyroogi joongi (fighting stance), then hana/dul (one/two) or seijak (pronounced SHEE-jak) (begin). Boro (back to ready). Shiu (at ease)...this is when the student bows and says komahsanida (thank you).
    – aleks1217
    Jul 12, 2014 at 1:29

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