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How forceful and how fast are kicks and punches in Taekwondo?

Does Taekwondo benefit mental fitness

Taekwondo is famous for its powerful kicks and hard-hitting punches. The power in the techniques come from a combination of various factors and among them body weight and speed are important factors. Body weight is applied by movement of the hip or utilising the knee in a spring action; while speed is applied by the appropriate contraction and expansion of specific muscles. Application of both speed and body weight are entirely dependent on the correct training and the duration of training of the taekwondo athlete.

In order to find out the power and speed of some common taekwondo techniques, martial arts scholars nowadays regularly undertake research and even Gen. Choi Hong Hi, the “founder of Taekwondo” had also conducted an experiment.

Gen. Choi conducted an experiment in April of 1973, using multi-flash Strobo photography and the experiment was contributed by Jae Hun Kim, 3rd degree black belt holder. The experiment concluded as follows:

– A Side Piercing Kick takes 1/10 (0.1) of a second to execute. [Gen. Choi Hong Hi (Vol.2, p.42, Photo)]

– A Hooking Kick takes 0.117 seconds or just a little more than 1/10 of a second to execute. [Gen. Choi Hong Hi (Vol.2, p.43, Photo)]

– A Flying Front Kick takes 1/10 (0.1) of a second to execute. [Gen. Choi Hong Hi (Vol.2, p.44, Photo)]

– A Front Punch takes 3/100 (0.03) of a second to execute. [Gen. Choi Hong Hi (Vol.2, p.46, Photo)]

Pieter & Pieter (1995) conducted a study where members of the 1988 United States Olympic taekwondo teams comprising of both male and female taekwondo athletes, were tested. The techniques selected for study were the Reverse Punch (pandae chirugi), Roundhouse Kick (ap tollyo ch’agi), Side Kick (yop ch’agi), and Spinning Back Kick (twit ch’agi). All techniques were executed from the fighting stance (bom sogi) and at the mid-section level. The study concluded in absolute values as follows:

-For men, the Reverse Punch speed was 11.38 m/s (right side) and 10.05 m/s (left side)

-For women, the Reverse Punch speed was 8.97 m/s (right side) and 8.41 m/s (left side)

-For men, the Roundhouse Kick speed was 15.51 m/s (right side) and 16.26 m/s (left side)

-For women, the Roundhouse Kick speed was 13.79 m/s (right side) and 12.84 m/s (left side)

-For men, the Side Kick speed was 6.87 m/s (right side) and 6.32 m/s (left side)

-For women, the Side Kick speed was 6.00 m/s (right side) and 5.20 m/s (left side)

-For men, the Spinning Back Kick speed was 9.14 m/s (right side) and 8.73 m/s (left side)

-For women, the Spinning Back Kick speed was 7.47 m/s (right side) and 6.71 m/s (left side)

Chiu, Wang & Chen (2007) conducted a study on three subjects performing the Roundhouse Kick and the Back Kick. The study found as follows:

Subject A:

– For Roundhouse Kick the speed was 80.2 km/hr and force was 78.9 kgf.

– For Back Kick, the speed was 78.9 km/hr and force was 72.1 kgf.

Subject B:

– For Roundhouse Kick the speed was 82.3 km/hr and force was 80.9 kgf.

– For Back Kick, the speed was 88.9 km/hr and force was 87.5 kgf.

Subject C:

– For Roundhouse Kick the speed was 90.9 km/hr and force was 92.5 kgf.

– For Back Kick, the speed was 85.7 km/hr and force was 85.7 kgf.


From the above data, general conclusions may be derived as follows:

– the right side of taekwondo practitioners is more dominant than the left side.

– the Roundhouse Kick is more preferred by taekwondo athletes in competitions.

– application of higher body weight and higher speed result in a higher force.

– variations in force result from variations in method of training and duration of training.

Pacific International Taekwondo has been imparting training in the traditional art of taekwondo since 1976 in the Brisbane area of Australia at several locations. Due to the high quality of instruction given by Grandmaster Trevor Dicks (9th Dan), Master Instructor Margaret Dicks (6th Dan) and other highly qualified black belt instructors, all the students including kids, teens, women and men are continuously improving their techniques. Along with constant learning of how to correctly apply body weight, speed and power in taekwondo techniques, students also learn to develop good habits, manage stress, believe in themselves, and become standouts in their chosen careers.


Choi, H. H. (1985). Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do (Vols. 1–15). Vienna: International Taekwon-Do Federation.

Pieter, F., & Pieter, W. (1995). Speed and force in selected taekwondo techniques. Biology of sport, 12, 257-266. Available at: https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=cRp91zZJHLIC&oi=fnd&pg=PA257#v=onepage&q&f=false [Accessed on 25 Nov 2021]

Chiu, P. H., Wang, H. H., & Chen, Y. C. (2007). Designing a measurement system for Taekwondo training. Journal of Biomechanics, 40(2), S619. Available at: https://media.isbweb.org/images/conf/2007/ISB/0835.pdf [Accessed on 25 Nov 2021]


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