In Taekwondo the Front Kick, ap chagi, has a variant Push Front Kick, mireo ap chagi, to push opponent away, rather than hitting him.

For the Side Kick, yeop chagi, I haven't seen any mention to pushing variant. Looking on the internet also. For example, the Black Belt Wiki site mentions Front, Side, Push (Front) Taekwondo kicks, but no Push Side Kick.

On the other hand, I see the Push Side Kick being taught as a defence tactic for WTF Olympic sparring: keeping the knee high to protect your body, and possibly counter an opponent attack with a side kick push near their hip.

Is the Push Side Kick part of Taekwondo kicking techniques?

  • Yes, there is. There are at least FOUR types of side kick in ITF TKD. There's the, Side PIERCING kick, done with the footsword, that is the lower, heel, edge of the blade of the foot. There's the side THRUSTING kick , that;s done with the ball of the foot. There's a side PUSHING kick , done with the sole of the foo, but that has NONE of the twisting action/rotation, that's done in the side piercing kick. Finally there's the side RISING kick which is bith a stretching technique and a blocking technique to an enemy that's positioned off center, offline, at an angle, to you. Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 17:53

6 Answers 6


In the official Kukkiwon (WT/WTF) Taekwondo Terminology guide published in 2012 the listing is:

Mireo-chagi(밀어차기): Pushing Kick

A technique of pushing the opponent with the foot

This is a pushing technique to make the opponent fall or to maintain some distance with him or her by using the ball or sole of the foot.


► Mireo-ap-chagi / 밀어 앞차기 / Pushing Front Kick

► Mireo-yeop-chagi / 밀어 옆차기 / Pushing Side Kick

However, in most dojangs around the world "Push kick" is just that, it's not "Push front kick" (in either the Korean or English terminology), and we don't practice a push side kick. The kick you see in WT competitions is a "cut" kick or "check" kick and not thought of as a push (because pushing motions don't score on electronic PSS protectors, only impact motions).


ITF Pattern Moon Moo - moves 31 and 40

yes, ITF has Side Pushing Kick - its even in a pattern - it just happens to be at fourth degree.

We spend a lot of time trying to get practitioners to kick with the foot sword with side kick, letting them at an early belt use the ball of the foot will tend to stop them developing the power that side kick can deliver.


Hi do you mean yeop chagi ?

i'm not learn Taekwondo but i learn Hapkido (Hapkido have almost all of Taekwondo kick) which i learn this kick and i believe Taekwondo have this too

  • The well known yeop chagi aims to strike and hurt with your foot; the mireo chagi aims to push away the opponent. Does hapkido have these two side kick variants? Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 8:24
  • yes, Hapkido have both of them, my sabeum also have Taekwondo black belt and he said that almost all of Taekwondo kick is also learned on Hapkido (with some addition from Taekkyon, i believe)
    – Sandy
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 9:02

The short answer is "yes", ITF and Kukkiwon both have them; but the long answer is more pedantic (and still "yes").

Short answer:

  • ITF has "Yopcha Milgi"
  • Kukkiwon has "Mireo Chagi"

I can't answer for ATA or any other TKD style

Long answer:

From a purely physics POV, there is no difference between a push, thrust, or pierce (or even a block and parry...) All involve a movement along a vector, and the thing moving is met with an object along that vector. The name of the technique usually boils down to intent.

We may qualify the action moving along the vector as a kick when the thing kicking is moving at a fast rate of speed; and similarly we may qualify the action as a push that thing doing the action is slow. (With regards to hands or body motion, we might even discern the difference between a push and throw having more to do with velocity than speed, but that is outside the scope of your question).

We can also take a look at some technique definitions. In Choi's encyclopedia, Vol II, beginning page 76, nowhere is speed of the kick mentioned. It only mentions optimal attacking areas, and parts of the foot. But speed is not mentioned at all. In fact, on page 76, it specifically states "Proper and timely employment of this tool [the foot parts] cannot be overemphasized". Key word here is "timely", which is not the same as speed or velocity.

In Vol IV, pages 25, 36, and 38 describe techniques "Yopcha Jirugi" (side piercing kick), "Yopcha Tulgi" (side thrusting kick), and "Yopcha Milgi" (side pushing kick), respectively. The relevant differences are described here:

YJ: No mention of speed is made at all. Strike only with the footsword.

YT: variant of YJ, strike only with ball of foot.

YM: variant of YJ, uses only weight without acceleration and power, losing piercing force and naturally rapid withdrawl of foot becomes less important. No mention about whether to use the ball of toes, the heel, or the foot blade. It DOES say "be sure to cross the other foot rapidly past where the kicking foot had been placed while KICKING AND PUSH the target momentarily". Also, "without acceleration" is interesting, as it suggests the others should be using acceleration, whereas here there is no acceleration. Gen Choi did not seem to have a good grasp of physics when considering all other discussions of power, and so, one might question whether he really meant "slow speed" when he said "no acceleration", because, a constant velocity has an acceleration of 0, even if you have an extremely fast kick.

So as far as ITF is concerned, the implication is that velocity of the kick is important as far as push vs thrust/pierce is concerned, but, seems not well defined. This suggests that in ITF, all kicks are both pushing and piercing/thrusting. (Note that a thrust and a pierce are exactly the same, except the thrust uses the ball of toes, while the pierce uses the blade. The push has "no acceleration".)

In the Kukkiwon style of Taekwondo, the definitions according to www.kukkiwon.or.kr (and similarly described in its textbook) are much more vague:

Mireo-chagi is a "push kick" which applies to the front and side kicks, and is described as "A technique of pushing the opponent with the foot. This is a pushing technique to make the opponent fall or to maintain some distance with him or her by using the ball or sole of the foot." Note here the technical difference: ITF doesn't say ball/toe/blade/sole, while KKW says ball/sole can be used.

Yeop-chagi (side kick) is a "thrusting kick", which is described as "A technique of delivering a kick by turning one’s body to the side. This is a skill of striking the opponent’s face or chest with the outside edge of the foot or the bottom of the foot. The side kick is usually performed by turning one’s body to the side and at the same time bending the leg and extending it to kick the target. In some circumstances, one may push the opponent with the foot to maintain the distance from the opponent."

As I said, it's pedantic. But it means all kicks can be "piercing", "thrusting", and "pushing". It depends on your application, which should be part of your poomsae / hyung. And one's definition of "push".

EDIT: with apologies, I referenced the wrong volume, should be IV (4), not IX (9), pages 25-38.

  • 1
    "From a purely physics POV, there is no difference between a push, thrust, or pierce (or even a block and parry...) All involve a movement along a vector, and the thing moving is met with an object along that vector. The name of the technique usually boils down to intent." - not so in the TKD circles I've mixed in - for example, the difference between piercing and thrusting kicks is explained here - because of the different hip mechanics, the piercing kick is inherently far less useful for pushing an opponent.
    – Tony D
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 12:39
  • The video is fine, but it compares 2 different kicks, each from a different direction, so it isn't fair to compare them. In Choi's book, both (actually, all 3) are shown with the back foot to kick forward. In this manner, all three kicks are identical, even hips, except that the pierce = blade, the thrust = ball of toe, and the push = blade (because the pierce does). TBH, I don't use any of these methods, always preferring to use the heel, even if pushing. Thrust, pierce, push = same. All my instructors do the same. Thanks for sharing the video
    – Andrew Jay
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 21:16
  • 1
    Thanks for your thorough explanation, and for introducing the ITF point of view. As a side note, AFAIK the pushing and hitting kicks have different technique, not just different intention. Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 9:23
  • @Wigwam: that's my point - they're the piercing and thrusting side kick mechanics, they are different - it's not the same technique with different intent. Choi's books don't make this very clear, but senior ITF masters I've spoken to have confirmed this nomenclature corresponds to the direction of hip rotation as explained in the video. I'm not sure what you mean by "shown with the back foot to kick forward . identical / even hips". I have a copy of the encyclopaedia handy - which pages make you believe the mechanics are identical? The part of the foot used is overwhelmingly cosmetic.
    – Tony D
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 13:48
  • @TonyD, ok, I'll try my best without either references in front of me now. In Choi, he describes all 3 kicks starting with back stance, left foot forward, and kicking with front (left) leg. So, his book describes basic stance and basic kick: front-leg side kick. He then describes the 3 kicks according to pierce, thrust, push, but says nothing about hip alignment. The video, on the other hand, describes one kick similarly as Choi, except as a back-leg kick, and the other kick is a reverse / turning kick.
    – Andrew Jay
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 17:37

I've been in taekwondo for close to seven years now and we have the front kick (ap chagi) and the side kick (yeop chagi). We also have a kick called a thrusting kick, which is kind of a combination of the push kick and front kick. We don't have a variant of the side kick except step-behind side kick (used of breaking boards, mainly).

Both clubs I have went to don't have the push side kick.


There are four types of Side kick in ITF Tkd:-

1 ) Side PIERCING kick: executed whilst rotating the FOOTSWORD, the heel portion of the blade of the foot, on the enemy's body upon impact. The rotation is what makes it a 'piercing' kick.

  1. Side THRUSTING kick: executed using the ball of the foot and NO rotation.

  2. Side PUSHING kick: Executed using the footsword, no acceleration and no rotation.

  3. Side RISING kick: Executed using the footsword. It is both a dynamic stretch and a blocking technique to an enemy that is offline, at an angle to you.

The difference between the PUSHING side kick and PIERCING side kick IS mentioned by Gen Choi.

He said the PUSHING kick, "uses only weight WITHOUT acceleration and power, losing piercing force and naturally rapid withdrawal of foot becomes less important". He also said, "be sure to cross the other foot rapidly past where the kicking foot had been placed while KICKING AND PUSH the target momentarily "

Now those words ARE kind of cryptic. What do they mean? Here's my two cents.

Gen Choi meant that the kicking foot, in a side PUSHING kick, would NOT apply impulse in the same way as it does in a side PIERCING kick.

This means, that large amounts of force would NOT be applied to the enemy in a short period of time.

That's what he meant by NO acceleration. Rather, you're pushing your enemy via translation of your own body mass and the use of your contacting bent leg as a vehicle, a conduit, for transfer of YOUR body's momentum.

The kicking leg in the SIDE pushing kick does NOT move. It is placed whilst halfway extended, onto the enemy's body side. It is placed like that in order to facilitate momentum transfer.

To repeat, the kicking leg, itself, is NOT going to be moving, independently, hence Gen Choi's use of the term , "NO acceleration". Also the kicking foot will not turning on the enemy's body hence Gen Choi pointed out that side PUSHING kicks have NO "piercing action"

Piercing action, of course, is that turning motion of the foot that is done ON the opponent's body whilst executing side piercing kick. Analogous to the twisting of the arm ON the enemy's body whilst punching.

NO piercing action means that the kicking foot in a side PUSHING kick will NEVER rotate on the enemy's body. It's function is NOT to destroy the enemy. It simply attempts to push them away.

Basically, to paraphrase Gen Choi, assuming a side pushing kick done with the left leg:-

["You must quickly cross your right leg in FRONT of your left to bring your body in range to your opponent.

Then, very shortly thereafter, apply your halfway extended left leg, via the footsword, to your enemy's side.

Then,push hard with your RIGHT leg and pivot that RIGHT leg against the ground.

Your RIGHT leg, thus, becomes the source of momentum/mass transfer and NOT your LEFT 'KICKING' leg.

Thus, we see that, the LEFT 'kicking' leg is just a vehicle for transfer of the momentum generated by the right leg.

Thus, we can see, that the LEFT PUSHING side kick is actually done with the RIGHT, supporting leg."]

That's what is going on with that kick.

THAT is the reason he said ZERO acceleration. Because the 'KICKING' leg in a side PUSHING kick does NOT accelerate AT ALL. It is just a vehicle for the transfer of momentum from the TKD player to the enemy that he does NOT, at that point, wish to destroy

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