Taekwondo is one of the most popular martial arts in the world. Taught here in the US, it originated in Korea and borrowed on several other Asian martial arts as its foundation. It was used in training for the Korean military and became popularized in movies like Bloodsport by movie stars like Jean Claude Van Damme. It is now officially recognized an Olympic sport.
With the modern competition being dominated by mixed martial arts competitions, a lot of potential fighters are wondering about taekwondo as a possible discipline to pick up. There are a number of MMA fighters that did just that, and they still find many of the techniques useful in competition.
“For those that are interested in MMA,” says one martial arts instructor that specializes in taekwondo, “training in Taekwondo can be an effective step to take. It’s important to realize however that taekwondo specializes primarily in kicks. In the process of using the feet as the primary weapon for striking, it teaches balance and agility. The idea behind that is that the leg is the most powerful limb of the body. Taekwondo is all about the knockout blow. So insofar it’s a striking discipline it is quite useful to the MMA. On the other hand, a lot of the more spectacular moves that taekwondo has become associated with, the spinning aerial kicks, might be considered wildly impractical in terms of a mixed martial arts fight. The reason for that is because once your body is in the air, or you’re no longer on your feet, you’ve lost some of the control over it. It would be easy to get look at this now taken to the matt where many of these fights are won. So high percentage kicks that allow you to keep your balance are going to be more effective in that kind of competition.”
While MMA and MMA training has become a thing unto itself, it has adapted techniques from a number of martial arts, and among them taekwondo figures prominently. On top of that, taekwondo teaches agility and balance and can make a fighter better at both. While it’s unlikely that an individual trained only in taekwondo is going to fare well in MMA competition, the same can be said of any single discipline.
It’s view it now also true however that taekwondo is not likely to be taught to those that are looking to train for MMA. MMA fighting is generally centered around Muay Thai and boxing as a striking discipline. The reason for that is that Muay Thai trains individuals for efficient strikes at close range, while taekwondo is more about delivering knockout blows at a distance. In order to deliver a knockout blow at a distance, you run the risk of making yourself vulnerable. That isn’t to say taekwondo can’t be adapted to MMA, however.