Taekwondo Pros and Cons (Complete Guide)

Tkd pros and cons lg

Taekwondo has grown in popularity during the last few decades. But what makes Taekwondo so popular? Let’s review the Taekwondo pros and cons:

Taekwondo pros include:

  • Improves one’s strength, stamina, and flexibility 
  • Teaches discipline, confidence, and resilience, awareness, and social skills 
  • Improves situational awareness 
  • Builds social skills

Taekwondo cons include:

  • Techniques are limited to primarily kicks and strikes
  • Being highly rules-based limits real-world self-defense applications
  • Medium level of injuries
  • Some schools promote to black belt too quickly, which can give students a false sense of accomplishment

Taekwondo is a single word in Korean.

“Tae” means “foot”, “to walk on”, or “leg”, “Kwon” means “battle”, or “fist”, and “Do” means “discipline”. When we combine these three elements, we can identify a few of the critical concepts underlying Taekwondo.

Firstly, Taekwondo is the enlightened application of the words “Tae” and “Kwon,” which are made up of your “fists” and “feet,” or all of your body parts that symbolize your fists and feet.

Second, Taekwondo is a method of controlling a fighting scenario so that the end is peace.

This concept is derived from the definition of Tae Kwon, which is “to control fists”. Thus, Taekwondo implies “the proper manner of employing all of your body parts to stop fighting and contribute to the creation of a peaceful world”.

But is it possible to learn Taekwondo by yourself?

In a recent article of mine, I shared how to do just that. While that might seem a good option, it is not the best option.

Learning in a dojo with fellow students is a sure way to measure progress in martial art. But if that’s not an option for you, you can do it at home alone. There’s even a way to earn a black belt that way!

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What are the Disadvantages of Taekwondo?

Here are a few of the biggest disadvantages of Taekwondo:

1. Head trauma

According to CBS News, the average number of injuries in martial arts ranges from 41 to 133 per 1000 exposures. This isn’t limited to only Taekwondo, although it is one of the martial arts included in the statistics.

Taekwondo is a full-body combat sport. In certain classes, moves and strikes/impacts are imitated rather than performed. This isn’t always the case in competitions and tournaments.

A kick to the head can frequently result in a concussion. To avoid head injuries, enroll in classes that prohibit real kicks and hits to the head. Wear protective headgear as well.

2. Bruises

Bruising is prevalent in Taekwondo practice, particularly in the early stages.

Bruising should become less common as you progress. So, where does the bruising originate? Sparring with other club members will result in this.

Kicks and strikes cause these to the body. You might use a cold compress to treat bruises and concentrate on strengthening your approach to prevent blows and collisions.

3. Difficult to apply in a real-life struggle (street fight)

Taekwondo is an excellent means of self-defense against someone who:

  1. Has no fight experience and 
  2. Has been learning Taekwondo and fights according to rules

However, in a street brawl, it is not a particularly effective defense technique. You may be wondering why this is the case.

The reality is that Taekwondo focuses a lot on forceful kicks and not so much on using one’s hands. And even then, punches or hits with the hand to an opponent’s face are not allowed.

This suggests that combat in close quarters would be tough. It is a good idea to add other martial arts to your portfolio alongside Taekwondo or ensure you never get into a street fight.

4. The possibility of insufficient combat training

Although not everyone believes this, it is widely known that Taekwondo does not teach fighting techniques. Taekwondo does not possess any grappling tactics and hand-to-hand combat forms.

You won’t learn any face punches, and the emphasis will be primarily on kicking.

So if you want to dive into UFC fighting or other similar competitions, you will have to learn at least 1 other martial art aside from Taekwondo.

That would not necessarily be true if you were doing Muay Thai, Kickboxing, or BJJ.

What benefits does Taekwondo have?

Here are a few of the biggest benefits of Taekwondo:

1. Increases Fitness

Taekwondo classes often include dynamic kicking and punching drills, stretches, and core-strengthening exercises. Such energetic actions can help you gain strength and stamina.

Practicing the “poomsaes” — detailed defense and assault motion patterns — benefit younger children’s motor abilities and body control.

Taekwondo athletes possess high peak anaerobic power, flexibility (particularly in the legs and hips), high dynamic upper and lower body strength, and good core endurance, according to a 2014 study published in Sports Medicine.

2. Learning to Respect Others

Taekwondo teaches respect and honor.

You value the discipline, the dojo (or studio), and your instructor. You are required to arrive smartly clothed in a dobok and to follow the gym rules.

You bow to your teacher at the beginning and the end of class.

Higher belt athletes have some authority in the studio since they have shown the dedication and physical strength required to earn their position. You come to respect them and their orders.

3. Develops Self-Discipline

Taekwondo teaches athletes to respect themselves as well as authority figures. Belt advancements boost one’s self-esteem.

Learning forms and specialized punching and kicking methods require discipline, which promotes confidence and mental focus. Children’s grades and behavior may improve as a result of Taekwondo’s confidence-building and attention-enhancing effects.

4. Self-Defense

Taekwondo is really about learning to diffuse situations.

Rather than attacking, the practice is defensive. What you learn in Taekwondo training can keep you from becoming a victim in potentially dangerous situations.

And as I discussed under the disadvantages, Taekwondo isn’t ideal for self-defense. But knowing ANY martial art is better than none.

5. Improves Concentration

Taekwondo also entails bringing the mind and body together.

The attention required to learn and practice the forms (poomsaes) provides you better control of your striking and kicking, resulting in bodily harmony.

When your body is balanced, you can apply this to how you live and interact in society.

Is Taekwondo safe for girls?

Training Taekwondo is safe for both girls and women, and there are numerous female black belts and Olympic champions.

In fact, the only Taekwondo black belt I know personally is a woman who earned her black belt as a teenager.

Taekwondo sessions are beneficial to everyone, yet when most people think of martial arts training, they often think of men more than women.

And I can tell you from years of running a dojo with 600 students that it was pretty typical that about 65-70% of the students were boys or men (we catered more to kid’s classes).

But there are plenty of female martial artists.

Taekwondo is enjoyable. It feels fantastic to hit a bag. It’s a lot of fun to learn to kick. It feels good to spar with an opponent in the training hall.

The entire experience is empowering for girls and women, with the feeling of being stronger, more confident, and more aware of potentially dangerous situations and people.

Although Taekwondo’s physical expressions and actions include punching, kicking, striking, and other defensive techniques, the discipline is not about fighting an opponent. It’s about pushing yourself and discovering what it takes to be a winner in life, which applies to both genders.

But how often should you train in Taekwondo to get good?

In a recent article of mine, I wrote about how often you should train in Taekwondo. I cover the bare minimum but also talk about some of the dangers of training too much too soon.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Is Taekwondo violent?

Taekwondo is not violent, nor does it promote or encourage violence from students. In fact, most martial artists learn confidence, emotional regulation, and situational awareness skills to easily avoid most potential altercations.

But like any other contact sport, football, rugby, and even hockey, Taekwondo can cause injury and even occasional aggression.

But it is the mental development aspect of martial arts that distinguishes it from basic sports or simple self-defense systems. The spiritual component of martial arts enables every student to strike a balance between the hard and the soft. It is up to them if they choose to implement this in their daily lives.

Fighting is not the point of martial arts. It is about mastering our mind, body, and soul in order to realize our maximum potential.

Turning the spotlight on Taekwondo in particular…

Taekwondo is a striking skill that is distinguished by amazing foot moves and speed. The sport encourages self-discipline, increases strength, flexibility, and agility, and instills honor, hard effort, and respect.

Taekwondo’s emphasis is on kicking.

Because the leg is the longest and strongest limb, fighters discovered that using it in combat gave them an advantage over other fighting methods emphasizing punching.

Taekwondo kicks have the lethal capacity to knock opponents out in seconds, which is why it is considered a deadly martial art, or in this sense, violent.

But most martial arts were not actually developed for fighting, so it would be wrong to assume that martial arts are violent.

Why is Taekwondo disrespected?

Taekwondo is disliked in certain parts of the martial arts community because of its increased focus on sport and lower focus on being a martial art. But it is also frequently criticized as some schools award black belts in just 2-3 years.

And make no mistake; while that will sound cool to your 7-year-old, it’s setting someone up to failure to see themselves as a “black belt” that quickly.

True mastery takes a long time, and there’s no substitute for years of dedication and training.

And a Taekwondo black belt who earned their belt in 3 years will be no match for a BJJ black belt that got theirs in 10 years. As you saw in this article, Taekwondo was employed in numerous conflict scenarios throughout history and was a serious and dangerous martial art before becoming an Olympic sport in 1988.

However, it is still used as a combat sport in some areas, and it can be just as effective as it was before.

But if self-defense is the primary goal over sporting events, make sure to look for a school that aligns with your vision. And look for one where it takes at least 5 years to get a black belt. And even better is a school that doesn’t make any promises of that and simply awards them to students when they truly deserve it.

The Benefits Of Taekwondo / How Taekwondo Helps with Autism / Homeschool Extra Curriculars


In the preceding paragraphs, we learned about the disadvantages of Taekwondo.

But we also looked at the benefits of Taekwondo and whether Taekwondo is safe for girls. Taekwondo is safe for both genders, and it is a tool that can be used in self-defense and other related situations. It also helps girls build self-confidence and feel empowered.

Wonder how Judo compares to Taekwondo?

I compared both of those in a recent article. Both are Olympic sports, but do the similarities stop there? Are there any techniques that seem similar? Which one is better?

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Image by Andrew Yuan from Pixabay

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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