Are kicking & punches similar if not the same for TKD as they are for Krav Maga?

  • 2
    Someone once said: 'A kick is just a kick and a punch is just a punch' what is different between all of those styles is their usage for the purpose ex competition or self defense. I doubt that in Tkd you are practicing kicks to the groin... those kicks and punches are where the difference is. The technique of the punch or kick might bring up even religious discussions ... which one is the right way to execute. My 2 cents
    – mitro
    Aug 14, 2016 at 8:20

1 Answer 1


There's huge variety in what passes for TKD - it's evolved (degraded?) from (predominantly Shotokan) karate to myriad current forms including the WTF Olympic sport, and ITF and its dubious sine wave, in just 70 years, while being spread to hundreds of countries by instructors of all ability levels with all manner of influences. There are many significant sized organisations - some with quite consistent, distinctive technique and others where seemingly anything goes.

Some styles barely punch at all, while others give it as much or more focus than kicking. That said, few TKD styles that don't explicitly claim a boxing influence emphasise hooks or upper-cut punches, nor is punching with a vertical fist common. Upset (punches into the stomach) are taught in some schools, but not utilised much in combat. These all seem common in the (relatively little) Krav Maga I've seen.

As for kicks, my impression is that many Krav Maga instructors prefer to focus on low kicks and knees, quite unlike the majority of TKD schools where kicking is predominantly above the belt. The Krag Maga instructors I've seen kick higher aren't doing anything outside the range of techniques that'd pass for some manner of TKD, but they wouldn't be mistaken for a high-level WTF or ITF practitioner, for which the stylistic elements are pretty obvious.

  • In competitive TKD kicks are above the belt for safety reasons (in most cases). In classes (and indeed many of the patterns/forms) kicks to the lower section are taught. That highlights the difference between a self defence system and a complete art with competitive elements. In a school that focuses heavily on the competitions you see very little practical self defence (low kicking/close range punching).
    – Collett89
    Aug 11, 2016 at 9:06
  • @Collett89: "safety reasons"? Systems such as kyokushin, kickboxing, muay thai all allow full-force low kicks with few serious injuries and are competition focused, so I think "safety reasons" is just a rationalisation of the status quo. I only know ITF TKD patterns - they have very, very few low kicks: a few low side kicks amongst the black belt patterns, but off the top of my head I can't think of a single low turning/roundhouse kick, which is the most common low kick in most systems that actually use full-contact low kicks competitively. Which patterns were you thinking of?
    – Tony D
    Aug 11, 2016 at 11:44
  • Side - Kwang~Gae/Po~Eun, Waving - Yoo-Sin, Sweeping - Sam Il Again for pattern competition most of what used to be middle section now tend to be high section as well. My point was more that more rounded or self defence orientated classes will rightly be teaching low section kicks. On the safety reasons - In some senses you are right. The rule set has been tweaked to encourage high section/jumping/spinning kicks more than actually preventing leg injuries from low kicks - Though I have been out of training for months because of an accidental low kick in competition.
    – Collett89
    Aug 11, 2016 at 14:16
  • @Collett89 waving's defensive anyway, and sweeps are a different kettle of fish. There are a couple low twisting kicks too (e.g. Eui-am). Anyway, you can't really learn to use low kicks well, to set them up, learn timing and defences people might employ, avoid leaving yourself vulnerable when kicking low, follow up techniques, nor defend against them, without using them during sparring. Still, every martial art either neglects many things or ends up producing people who're mediocre at everything. Most all TKD schools accept weakness in this area and focus elsewhere. Hope you recover soon.
    – Tony D
    Aug 14, 2016 at 5:46

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