Is Taekwondo Effective in MMA?

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Taekwondo is one of the most popular sports and martial arts in the world. But since it has a lot of rules and looks mostly like kicks, is Taekwondo effective in MMA?

Here’s what I found out:

Taekwondo can be effective in MMA when combined with boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In fact, some top fighters have it as one of their foundational martial arts. But it would not be very effective as the primary martial art in an MMA fight.

But it’s not a walk in the park to execute kicks flawlessly.

They consume a lot of energy and make the fighter vulnerable. They could miss and slip, making it easy for their opponent to have an edge. And it can be easy to get off balance in the heat of a UFC fight.

But there’s a lot more to know.

In this article, we’ll explore if any MMA fighter uses Taekwondo and whether Anderson Silva knows Taekwondo. But we’ll also consider if a TKD fighter can beat a boxer.

Let the fun begin.

Do any MMA fighters use Taekwondo?

Several MMA fighters use Taekwondo, such as Rose Namajunas, Valentina Shevchenko, Yair Rodriguez, Anthony Pettis, as well as Anderson Silva and Bas Ruten.

Taekwondo is a great weapon in any MMA fighter’s arsenal.

The kicks can be devastating, but they’re also delicate. So, it requires a masterful grasp to use it in MMA as an adept opponent can seize a leg that’s been thrust at them and use it as a basis for an awesome takedown.

Let’s find out a bit about the top MMA fighters who employ it.

Anthony Pettis

Before he became a top fighter in UFC, he was already a champ at WEC. His background includes a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo which he attained at the age of 18. It’s one of the skills that made him a formidable fighter.

Rose Namajunas

One of the most well-rounded MMA fighters, she also has a background in TKD. She started learning at the age of 5 and had earned a black belt by the age of 9. Of course, she’s learned other martial arts. But she still uses her TKD knowledge. In fact, her KO of Weili Zhang was executed with a lead roundhouse kick.

Yair Rodriguez

Yair, like Rose, has been employing Taekwondo since the age of 5! Spinning back kicks, tornado kicks, and cartwheel kicks come naturally to him, and he uses them to his advantage.

In addition to Taekwondo, a lot of MMA fighters also employ Jiu-Jitsu. Say you’ve got to choose between either of the two, which one is better?

This is the theme of a recent article where I explained whether Jiu-Jitsu is the same as BJJ and which one is better for self-defense.

But I also revealed what’s likely to be the result if a TKD fighter (a black belt) were to step into the arena with a BJJ black belt?

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Does Anderson Silva know Taekwondo?

Anderson Silva is a black belt in Taekwondo in addition to black belts in BJJ and Judo. Silva started training in BJJ and then moved to Taekwondo. Later, he would explore other martial arts such as Muay Thai and Capoeira. 

In several of his fights, we can see several occasions where he unleashes some lethal kicks to the disadvantage of his opponents.

Although sadly, at this point, he’s most well-known for that gruesome leg break in 2013 against Chris Weidman, who quite effectively shielded Silva’s kick.

But he’s an all-around MMA fighter who brings his multiple skills to the octagon.

So even though his kicks are impressive, his grappling and ground fighting is a thing of beauty to behold.

Now, martial arts can be hard or soft. Which category does TKD fall into?

Is it full contact? That’s what I shared in a recent article. In it, I explained semi-contact martial arts and whether you’re allowed to punch in Taekwondo. But I also revealed what’s not allowed in Taekwondo.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can a Taekwondo fighter beat a boxer?

A Taekwondo fighter would likely lose against a skilled boxer. This is because their kicks are the main tool they use in a fight. But effective kicks are not easy to execute in the heat of a fight, and even the best miss at times, whereas a skilled boxer could easily get a knockout with the right punch.

If the TKD fighter gets the chance to execute a lethal kick, that will give them an edge.

But a trained boxer probably needs just one or two solid punches, and the fight could be over. A TKD fighter knows a bit of boxing, but that’s nothing besides the skills of a trained boxer.

One solid punch could be all that’s needed to trounce the TKD fighter.

A good boxer could make sure that they do not allow the TKD fighter the space to even be able to execute effective kicks, thus crippling them. Of course, the boxer too could mix some punches, but the probability is lower. Kicks are more difficult to get right.

Say you’re thinking of Judo vs. Taekwondo, and you’re torn.

Not to worry, in a recent article, I shared the similarities between both martial arts and whether TKD is effective in a street fight. But I also revealed who’s likely to win if a Judoka and a TKD fighter were to have a go at it.

Who would you be rooting for?

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Taekwondo vs MMA: which is better?

MMA is better than Taekwondo because it’s a combination of several martial arts. MMA offers a fighter more options based not only on the moment but also on the specific skill set of their opponent. They can do more damage than someone who knows only one martial art.

In addition to the skills, MMA requires that fighters are highly conditioned. This requirement can give them an edge.

In a sense, MMA offers fighters the best platform to develop into their best selves. It’s a reflection of Bruce Lee’s philosophy about the ideal fighting system.

It’s one that’s not restricted to one style, with its rigid patterns, but rather a system/style that borrows freely from whatever style works. It’s about the best fighting techniques, not fidelity to any style.

MMA’s superiority is a no-brainer. Why?

A good MMA fighter is almost likely an expert in Taekwondo and several other martial arts. If a person who’s hip to only Taekwondo were to fight someone who knows Taekwondo and other arts, in all likelihood, the latter would win. They can see the TKD coming and know what to do to counter their moves.

And they also have skills such as grappling and ground-fighting that can easily disorient the TKD person.

In fact, these skills can easily give them an edge because the TKD fighter has no way of defending themselves against them.

Is Taekwondo effective in a real fight?

Taekwondo is effective in a real fight. One learns how to kick, punch, strike, block, and other fighting techniques. And the conditioning that results from training regularly makes one fitter than the average would-be attacker. 

And let’s face it, in a real fight, knowing any martial art is better than none.

So Taekwondo can be an effective martial art, depending on how skilled the practitioner is. It consists mainly of kicking, and when properly executed, it could incapacitate one’s opponent, as there are no rules in a real fight.

A strong kick to a vulnerable part of an opponent’s body can be deadly.

And TKD practitioners are usually fast. This could give them an edge in a real fight where every second counts. In fact, TKD equips practitioners with highly useful skills that include punching and striking.

In a hypothetical fight, a TKD fighter may not find it easy if their assailant is a trained fighter because both parties can render the other’s attacks largely ineffective by employing great defensive moves.

But if the assailant is not trained (the more likely possibility considering the fact that most people are not trained fighters), they are likely to be trounced.

They won’t be prepared for the strikes, punches, and kicks that an adept TKD fighter can unleash. They’d also be stunned by the speed at which all these are coming at them!

Most untrained people naturally employ boxing when they’re about to fight.

A Taekwondoin, as an example, could lure them into thinking that boxing is what’s going to transpire. They could exchange a few punches and then suddenly unleash one or two deadly kicks.

TKD is useful in a real fight, but I’d argue that other martial arts that are more focused on self-defense, and not Olympic tournaments, and similar contests, are a lot better.

Best Taekwondo Knockouts KO in UFC - MMA Fighter


In the article, we explored if any MMA fighter uses Taekwondo.

But we also looked at whether Anderson Silva knows Taekwondo. And we also considered if a TKD fighter can beat a boxer.

Then, we looked at Taekwondo vs. MMA and which one’s better. Lastly, we wrapped things up by looking at whether Taekwondo is effective in a real fight.

Image by Claudio_Scott from Pixabay

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”994cCQ84″ upload-date=”2022-09-24T20:06:31.000Z” name=”How Many Taekwondo Belts Are There? Belt Ranking Explained.mp4″ description=”Like several other martial arts forms, Taekwondo uses a belt ranking system to track Taekwondo students’ progress. But how many Taekwondo belts are there? As a general rule, Taekwondo has eleven colored belts. But there are subtle differences between the primary 3 governing bodies, the ITF, WTF, and ATA. The belts that are the same across all 3 are white, yellow, green, blue, red, and black.” player-type=”collapse” override-embed=”true”]

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell was Academy Director for a large martial arts school for over 7 years, and has trained extensively in a variety of martial arts including Brazilian Jiujitsu, different styles of Karate, the Russian Martial Art of Systema, Aikido, and much more.

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