Taekwondo In MMA

MMA highlights the effectiveness of each traditional material art IN REAL FIGHTING and Traditional Korean martial arts. Taekwondo is one of the best material arts when it comes to KICKS…

Isn’t it exciting to learn about the offensive art of Taekwondo in MMA?

Yair Rodriguez is an elite MMA fighter who comes from a taekwondo background.

Taekwondo FOCUSES HEAVILY on kicks and footwork. (particularly WTF Taekwondo more than ITF Taekwondo)

Both kicks and footwork have a tremendous impact on MMA. Among all material arts, Taekwondo has the WIDEST VARIETY of kicks.

Compared to other sports like Judo or boxing, Taekwondo is fought at a slightly LONGER-RANGE distance because your legs are longer than your hands. And kicking has a more extended range.

If you have done Taekwondo, you have a slight advantage over other MMA players who have not trained in Taekwondo.

Taekwondo In MMA

Taekwondo players are used to sparing and fighting at slightly long-range distances, and you will have a variety of kicks in your tool kit. 

Yair Rodriguez is an elite MMA fighter who comes from a taekwondo background.

Is Taekwondo Effective In MMA

Taekwondo does not involve grappling, fighting in-ground, elbow in the face, or submissions.

But let’s not kid ourselves: Taekwondo is not just about beautiful-looking kicks and looking fancy. Taekwondo kicks are powerful in knocking us out unconscious, and Taekwondo is a dangerous sport.

Ignore the music. Enjoy the video 🙂

Now image, from a taekwondo fighter perspective, she is used to fighting an opponent in competition with full headgear and body gear.

Not having full taekwondo fighting gear may make them feel a little vulnerable, but they also know that their kicks will cause a lot of damage to their opponent. 

BACK KICK and SPINNING HOOK KICK are two of the deadliest powerful kicks taekwondo players have in their arsenal.

Particularly, Defensive Taekwondo fighters rely mainly on these two kicks during Taekwondo competitions.

Practicing these kicks over and over in training can come naturally to taekwondo players to throw them in MMA fights without a thought.

Let’s roll the tape.

Potential Negatives About Taekwondo In MMA

Taekwondo players have their hands down while fighting in taekwondo competition because

  1. Taekwondo players focus more on scoring through kicks (you will rarely see many scoring through hands in taekwondo competitions; a punch to the chest only counts for 1 point rather than 3 points in the head).
  2. Easy to kick with your hands down. Try doing a spinning hook kick by having both your hands guarding your chin. It feels pretty awkward, right?

You don’t want to have your hands down when you are fighting in MMA unless you know what you are doing.

In Taekwondo, you are not allowed to do hand strikes in the face, take an opponent down to the ground, fight in the ground, or elbows, among other things.

Therefore, if you only practice in Taekwondo and spar with MMA guys who is red belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Who has got years of training in grappling ground fighting, knows how to box, among other things, or even worse, get in the ring with these guys?

You may be looking for trouble because Taekwondo classes will not teach you how to fight on the ground which is a crucial skill to learn in MMA.

You must train in other material arts to win MMA fights successfully and consistently. There is no other way around it.

Is Taekwondo Good For MMA

Kicks, Kicks, and MORE KICKS.

One of the limitations of Taekwondo discussed turns into a positive for taekwondo players in MMA.

As discussed, taekwondo players ARE NOT TAUGHT TO fight on the ground; elbow strike submissions are among many popular MMA fighting techniques.

This means that their whole FOCUS is on GETTING GREAT AT KICKING.

Among many material arts, it is hard to refute that taekwondo players generally have the SHARPEST and QUICKEST kicks out there.

The kick’s speed also comes with power, like the famous taekwondo axe kick (cut down kick), back kick, and spinning hook kick (reverse kick).

How can Taekwondo players not be good at kicking after all?

They spent hours and hours kicking taekwondo kick pads, preparing for competitions and in their training. 

Hipiwe Taekwondo Kick Pad Target Durable TKD Kicking Targets Training Paddles Double Face Tae Kwon Pads (Style 2, Blue,1 Pair)

The advantage of MMA fighters who have done Taekwondo is they all have sneaky taekwondo kicks in their arsenal that they can execute effectively during the fighting.

Taekwondo players are great with their front foot, which gives you a significant advantage in MMA fighting.

Taekwondo VS MMA

Taekwondo focuses primarily on kicking and punching.

Therefore, taekwondo players, in general, have an advantage over a few things when compared to MMA.

  1. Kicking: Taekwondo has various kicks than any other material art that can be used in fighting. As seen at the beginning of the article’s taekwondo video, you judge if Taekwondo has the quickest and sharpest kicks in all material arts. 
  2. Distance: Taekwondo mainly focuses on kicking, so it is fought at a longer range than other material arts. Therefore, taekwondo players have that edge going into a fight because they are used to fighting in a longer range and can judge distance well.
  3. Front Kicks: Taekwondo players are good with their front kicks, and you have to be if you want to win a taekwondo competition. Being good at front kick gives taekwondo players an advantage in the fight over other material arts.
Century BOB XL with Base Unit

MMA utilizes any techniques that give them the advantage over an opponent, such as grappling, fighting ground, and choking, among various techniques.

If you are a red belt BJJ player and fight a taekwondo player in-ground, they have very little hope.

However, elite taekwondo players have a GREAT SENSE OF DISTANCE and may be successful in keeping their opponent at bay with their kicks to stop you from taking them down.

However, taekwondo players are severely disadvantaged in MMA fights trained in multiple material arts disciplines.

Taekwondo players mainly rely on their kicks, which means when they find themselves fighting in-ground, they are bound to get into serious trouble because people with only a Taekwondo background are not trained in ground fighting.

At CLOSER RANGE COMBAT, taekwondo players are vulnerable as other fighters trained in various materials articles will be more efficient in elbow strikes, close-range punching, or takedowns.

Is Taekwondo Allowed in MMA

Yes, Taekwondo is allowed in MMA and can be highly effective in MMA fights.

Taekwondo MMA Fighters

There have been many successful taekwondo MMA fighters over the years. Following are successful taekwondo MMA fighters.

Enjoy the taekwondo kicks in action (please note some of the low kicks or knee to the head/chest are from other material arts such as Muay Thai, Kickboxing and not from Taekwondo) :

Akop Stepanyan – Akop is a Russian National 2002 Taekwondo Champion. Akop holds a black belt in Taekwondo.

Those back kicks Akop throws are a thing of beauty!

Anthony Pettis – Along with boxing, Anthony started doing Taekwondo at the early age of 5. Anthony Pettis holds a 3rd-degree black belt in Taekwondo.

Edson Barboza – Edson has a black belt in Taekwondo and smooth kicks.

Check out the spinning hook kick at the end at 3:00.




What a beautiful spinning hook kick.

Bas Rutten – Bas started doing Taekwondo at the age of 14 and is a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo.

Bas Rutten also utilizes Karate, Kickboxing, and Wrestling techniques exceptionally well in his fights.   

Daron Cruickshank – Daron is a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo.

Daron grew up in an environment where his parents were both 4th-degree taekwondo belt taekwondo instructors and ran their school.

Daron Cruickshank has a beautiful roundhouse kick.

Taekwondo Knockouts In MMA

Knockout with punch is fantastic, but there is something special about KO with kicks!

Taekwondo Knockout in MMA can come in a variety of kicks.

It could be a 360 spin hook kick, Axe Kick, Back Kick, Spinning hook kick, or sometimes a simple roundhouse kick.

Let’s see Knockouts with Taekwondo kicks in, MMA.

Is MMA Better Than Taekwondo

In the street fight, wearing jeans or trousers will make it hard to execute taekwondo kicks to the face, and taekwondo hand techniques are limited.

MMA people can argue they will have an advantage over Taekwondo in self-defense or a street fight.

Suppose you complement Taekwondo with other materials arts in MMA. In that case, you will have a variety of taekwondo kicks in your arsenal.

To be great in MMA, you must be good with your grappling, hand strikes, takedowns, and kicking.

Taekwondo is arguably the best material art when it comes to kicking.

Suppose you train in different material arts and include Taekwondo in your training. You will see a dramatic improvement in your kicks and get even better at judging fighting distance.

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