In forms of Taekwondo, for example the 1st form, when the left foot is stepping forward, i.e. Wen-Ab-Sugi, and the left hand is punching, i.e. Mumtung-Jirugi, the movement is named:


Bande means reverse, right? For example in Bunde-Dollyo-Chagi, or Hook kick, it means reverse-Dollyo-Chagi.

Now my confusion is this: when the left foot is stepping forward and left hand is punching, why is it named Wen-Ab-Sugi-Mumtung-Bande(reverse)-Jirugi? Why reverse? I'm using my left foot and left hand!

My confusion is also true for this movement:


When right foot is stepping forward and right hand is punching. I'm using both my right foot and hand, so why reverse?

2 Answers 2


One of the great mysteries of language translation. I looked up Taeguek 1 in the Kukkiwon textbook (2006 edition), and you are indeed correct - and although you may not be aware of it, the problem is more pervasive than you think.

Other than type-os, "bandae" means "opposite", where we refer to it as "reverse".

All punches issued with the same hand and same foot forward are indeed labelled "bandae" - or opposite. There are some exceptions, which I think might be type-o errors. Movement 6 is a left foot forward / right hand punch, and is labelled as "bandaejireugi". The English is just a right punch, so here I think a type-o. All other same-foot-same-hand punches are labelled "bandae".

The rule is this: all "normal" punches are issued with the other foot forward (left-hand-right-foot, and vice-versa) and is called barojireugi. When this is reversed, it is "bandaejireugi". In English, nearly any style, we always refer to "reverse punch" as that issued with the other foot.

What is curious still, is I looked up a more recent posting on Kukkiwon's website, and they make no mention at all of either punch; indeed, if you look at generic "jireugi", they discuss geumgang-jireugi (geumgang punch), naeryeo-jireugi (downward punch), digeutja-jireugi (C punch), danggyeo-jireugi (pulling and punching), dollyeo-jireugi (turning punch), dwi-jireugi (punch to the rear), sewo-jiruegi (vertical punch), yeop-jireugi (side punch), jeocheo-jireugi (turn-over punch), chetdar-jireugi (fork punch), chi-jireugi (lift punch), and pyojeok-jireugi (target punch).

But nowhere do they discuss bandae- or baro-jireugi.

(And some of those punches aren't even used in any of their forms - like the C punch! Argh!)

Last, I watched later official videos, and, in them, they do not mention baro- or bandae-jireugi. See here and go to frame at 1:46.

So it seems Kukkiwon may be trying to reverse the reverse, and normalize with the rest of the world. Time will tell. I recommend, do as they do, not as they say.


You really want your head to spin? I just checked Gen Choi's encyclopedia to see what the ITF folks call it. Volume 3, page 31 says "Gunnun So Baro Jireugi" is "Walking stance obverse punch is delivered from the same side of the leg that is bent fully".

So here, they call a "barojireugi" what the rest of the world expects a regular front punch to be - left hand punch / left foot forward, and they call it "obverse". On page 29, they say "All punches throughout the book are considered front punches unless special directive is given".

And yet, when a punch with other foot forward is called for, no mention about name of the technique is give. See Vol 8, p234. I guess this falls under the "unless special directive is given" mentioned earlier?


Official Kukkiwon Website

To navigate properly is confusing: From main page, choose InformationSection -> TaekwondoTechniques -> Basics -> Jireugi, then scroll through all the jireugi punch variations. They no longer post details of poomsae on their website.

  • 1
    Thanks, it is kind of relieving to realize everybody else is confused too :)
    – Megidd
    Commented Oct 6, 2018 at 11:28

From when we have asked about this at Kukkiwon on one of the master courses the answer given was that punches like this are labelled that way because of the way we walk. Generally when walking the hands swing in the opposite direction to the foot going forward (so left foot forward and at the same time right hand swings forward). So Koreans felt that this was natural (and modern Taekwondo is all about being natural) so labelled a "natural" (opposite hand-foot) punch as barojireugi and the opposite to that natural one (same hand-foot) as bandaejireugi.

However, for all other movements it's as we would expect!

(and don't even get me started on how the Korean equivalent for yes/no can mean the opposite to what we'd expect in one particular situation; hint: negative questions)

Hope that helps.

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