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The TaeKwonDo Roundhouse


The TaeKwonDo Roundhouse
Original Poster: Kyorgi
Forum: Korean Martial Arts
Posted On: 25-12-2006, 03:38

Orginal Post: Kyorgi: I’m posting this right now to go in depth of what is unquestionably the most used kick in olympic style TaeKwonDo sparring: The Roundhouse

The TaeKwonDo roundhouse (right foot strking) starts by the practitioner piviting his/her left foot backwards while lifting his/her right leg into the air with his/her right heel about 8 inches (depending on the practitioner) from his/her buttock. This is the chambered part of the kick. Unlike a Muay Thai roundkick which is sometimes executed by using the a hip rotation to gain power and use the shin the area of the leg that is striking. In the TaeKwonDo roundhouse the arm of rotation is the knee and the area striking is the instep. When in the chambered position the next step is to release your foot by flinging the part of your leg from the knee down forward. The strike however is only half of the technique. After you strike you must recoil your kick by pulling back into the chambered position and set your leg down from there.

(note: these pictures have appeared on the forum before)
The TaeKwonDo Roundhouse:

The Main points of a TaeKwonDo roundhouse are:
a) distance
Distance is aquired by leaning your body backwards
Snapping your kick with the knee is the key to aquiring speed

In conclusion the TaeKwonDo roundhouse may not be the most powerful kick (apposed to Muay Thai roundkick or Kyokushin roundhouse). It may not be the most controlled kick (Shotokan roundhouse) but it does have the most range and speed. Relaxed, flexible movements will allow the kick to gain more hight . The full contact karate (kyokushin) and the TaeKwonDo kick both strike with the instep apposed to the shotokan kick that strikes with the ball of the foot and the Muay Thai kick which hits with the shin (although it can be taught to strike with the instep as well.) The roundhouse is used about 90% of the time in competition (espcially by flamingo sparrers) but always beware of the simple back-kick counter attack.

Post: monkeypalm:

thanks for the info kyorgi, the website was very interesting too!>

Post: 8LimbsScientist:


I’m a little confused. You mentioned pivoting your foot. Do you chamber your kick and then pivot on the planted foot while you snap your leg out? Or do you just snap your leg out.>

Post: Kyorgi:

When you start to pivit your left foot you also begin to chamber your right leg, by the time your left foot is facing backwards you will want to snap your leg out. I hope that helps.>

Post: kemaro:

i think you have to do it almost simultaneously.. i mean you should focus on shifting the weight when delivering a roundhouse then before the snap you pivot your foot… i think it’s all about shifting weight to make your roundhouse effective.. :idea:>

Post: The Axe Murderer:

Yeah, At the smae time hip motion is inolved by twisting your hips when your foot is pivoted.>

Post: kemaro:

yup, you got that right ,axe… :mrgreen:>

Post: Greg_G47:

I’m not a fan of this kick. Not because it’s bad by its self, but its incredibly overused. Off the front foot into someone’s ribs when they’re punching you in the head it can be a godsend (their elbows are out of your way, you’re too close to line up a good sidekick) and into the back/side of someone’s head when they’re roughly side-facing and have their hands down (kidney if in self defense) it can be free points. Used as a staple (like anything) its asking for trouble.

counters besides back kick: a misplaced elbow, take the kick and punch them in the face (esp. if its one of thsoe people who throw 20 of these things off alternating feet with their hands fown), take the kick and hit them with a side piercing kick off the front foot (if in the right stance), reverse hooking kick, front foot outside axe or crescent to the face (opposite stance from side piercing), front foot hooking kick to the face or side of head, the list goes on.>

Post: Fenix:

In ITF TKD you are taught to use the ball of the foot during linework. In tournaments with those foot-pads is a different story.>


The TKD round house is similar to the the KF roundhouse. It’s meant more for repeated, fast strikes and accuracy. You are correct Padawan, where it’s not meant to be a detrimental kick, but a kick to “buy your self time” question tho…when you throw your roundhouse in TKD, do you step a to the side of your opponent, or do you throw it from right in front, like most MT practitioners do.>

Post: 8LimbsScientist:


I’ve never been taught in TKD to step off to the side before throwing the round kick. However, in MT when throwing a leg kick I’ve been taught to step to the side diagonally to open up your hips and develop more power.

I’m pretty sure you could step diagonally forward with your planted leg for just about any kick in order to give your hips more room to build momentum, I just have never been taught to do it except for leg kicks.>

Post: Kyorgi:

I think it would be different in a real life confrontation, but in regular tkd sparring I don’t like to roundhouse with my back leg because it takes more time. I usually do what is sometimes referred to as a “fast kick” where I just use my front leg to round house. It lacks a little bit of power but In my opinion tkd sparring is more a game of speed than of power.>

Post: 8LimbsScientist:

I agree Kyorgi,

For the longest time I struggled in TKD because I was so used to MT sparring. The minute I gave up on the idea of hitting my opponent with power shots my TKD sparring improved, lol.

That being said I still have gotten the wind knocked out of me by a few sidekicks to the ribs I’ve accepted, and I’ve seen knockouts in competition due to kicks to the head.

I’ve also noticed the emphasis on speed and evasion in TKD has helped me in my MT. Instead of standing and trading I’m moving more and dashing back out of reach of kicks instead of always blocking. From here my recent favorite move is to rush back in and plant a nice leg kick to the back of the kicking leg when it flies past me.

I figure I’m a little guy so I need to be more like a bee or a hornet then a bull.>

Post: Kyorgi:

Ha! Same here, I’m always the smaller the guy so I have to constantly rely on speed.>

Post: shurite44:

Nice post Kyorgi, I love the round house kick. Very informative.>


though the round house kick is very good for speed and acuracy it can be a VERY powerfull kick without sacrificing speed or acuracy if the practitioner knows how to correctly move his or her body and the precise time to release the kick from the chambered position.>

Post: shurite44:

Thought I might try to revive this good thread.

In point sparring tournaments I love using the round kick to the blind side of the head. The back or side of the head towards the front leg if you will.

Not legal in all tourny’s but it is in most. And in the ones where you get two points for a head kick this can be a valuable asset.

Here is one way to use a round kick in this manner.

If you and your opponent have your upper bodies facing the same wall. I call this a closed stance. Anyway, regardless of terminology this is the position of the fighter reference each other.

Slide or push in sidekick with the front leg to the midsection, then immediately slide the leg up (same leg) and round kick to the head. Bang, two points. Mix this up with other similar combinations and it is hard to block. Use this with the same setup but substitute a hook kick or even a side kick for the round kick to remain unpredictable.>

Post: Bloodybirds:

In Kung fu, we are taught the back roundhouse a little differently in two aspects: first, when we throw the kick we come through the hip and then turn the hip over instead of swinging the leg out a little bit…the theory is that from that position a front leg kick, back round house, or back side kick can be thrown and be a little less predictable….secondly, as previously mentioned, we will usually step to the side and use the roundhouse as a side technique to the body or face rather than meeting a rushing opponent right on. As a smaller person, I prefer this methodology….LOL!! However, I have also seen TKD people out of S. Korea in Hong Kong and their roundhouse kicks are thrown a little differently in a non sport context than here. Theirs are a little more similar to a kung fu roundhouse, but they are very fast with either back leg or front leg!! For them, the roundhouse is like a jab or uppercut, followed by a powerful side kick, turning heel kick, etc. Now that I am older after years of training, I find my kicks are much more to the torso or the legs than to the face, although I am still flexible enough to do the face contact.

From a situational viewpoint, I view the roundhouse kick like the kung fu crescent kick, as either a set up or finishing application to other techniques already executed. What does the forum think? I will say though I love the TKD side kick and turning heel kick, but very rarely will I see the turning heel kick thrown correctly…most times, the sports practitioner here throws it too wide so the opponent, if well trained, can follow the motion and move inside to execute close in technique.

Overall, a good kick!! Hope noone minds comments from a long time kung fu guy but all the arts are fascinating for me.>

Post: Bloodybirds:

One correction…after re-reading Shurite’s previous post, I meant to say a turning hook kick rather than a turning heel kick, in my mind at least two separte applications….sorry for the confusion!!>

Post: Bloodybirds:

Jeez, and my spelling sucks today too…lol…separate!>

Post: shurite44:

I also like to throw round kicks towards the head and occasionally lift the knee high like another head shot and turn the hip over hard and throw belt high. Sometimes catches opponent off guard for a point. Lots of ways to score with round kicks.

A good place to go for good round kick training is a Bill Wallace seminar at a NASKA tournament. He is at most of the big tournaments. He has a million ways to score with a round kick.>

Post: shurite44:

Another tip to maximize scoring with the round kick. Don’t aim for the bread basket. Either kick low, just above the belt or head high. More likely to score if you hit just below where your opponents elbows would naturally hang.

This is a general rule of course. Which means it is not always the best thing to do. If the guy has an opening in the middle take it also. Use your round kick like a jab. As long as you are hitting him he will be defending and not hitting you.>

Post: graham1:>


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