Does Taekwondo Use Weapons?

taekwondo stance

It’s easy to assume that every martial art out there adopts the use of one form of weapon or the other. But does Taekwondo use weapons?

Generally, Taekwondo does not use weapons as formal weapon training is not a part of most taekwondo federations and associations’ curricula. However, some schools such as ATA Taekwondo (now ATA Martial Arts) incorporate weapon training in their syllabus.

The use of weapons is quite unusual in the field of Taekwondo.

Remember what the literal meaning of Taekwondo is?

Tae kwon do translates to “kicking”, “punching”, and “the art or way of”

Didn’t see anything like “use of a weapon” did you?

However, despite the focus of taekwondo on the use of the human body as a weapon, some school still incorporates the use of weapons in combination with traditional unarmed taekwondo practice.

Do You Use Weapons in Taekwondo?

Generally, formal weapon training is not part of most taekwondo federations and associations’ curricula. Some schools such as ATA Taekwondo (now ATA Martial Arts) however incorporate the use of weapons in their syllabus.

Taekwondo, Tae Kwon Do, or Taekwon-Do is a Korean martial art form characterized by kicking and punching techniques with an emphasis on body kicks, spinning jump kicks, head-height kicks, and fast kicking techniques.

It is a martial art style that primarily uses the hands, legs, and the body in general, to block, attack, and defend.

Most taekwondo organizations like the WT and ITF, do not entertain the use of any weapons.

From the start, taekwondo was primarily designed to focus on the use of hands and legs, and there are a couple of reasons why it doesn’t rely on the usage of weapons for combat.

Not everybody had access to weapons, and the weapons can’t easily be carried around when going somewhere.

So, it was impractical and unnecessary to build and develop a martial art that is based on weapons.

However, some “freestyle” Taekwondo practitioners have started incorporating the use of weapons into their art form.

I refer to them as “freestyle” because taekwondo is traditionally an art form without weapons.

For example, ATA Taekwondo schools often incorporate weapons training.

Some approved songahm taekwondo weapons for training in the American Taekwondo Association includes:

  • Stick
  • Staff
  • Swords
  • Canes
  • Nunchucks, etc

This, therefore, means that the implementation of weapon practice in their taekwondo training isn’t fully taekwondo but a hybrid art connecting different traditional styles.

There is nothing necessarily wrong with this though, after all, since taekwondo is so kicking-based, practitioners have poor hand-fighting skills.

So, training with weapons can increase their power, toughness, and hand dexterity while also increasing hand-eye coordination.

What Weapons Do You Learn in Taekwondo?

Although taekwondo is a martial art primarily based on the use of hands and feet, there exist some weapons used in taekwondo.

These weapons are not unique to Taekwondo as they are common to many styles of martial arts.

Many of these weapons are even seen more commonly in martial arts not indigenous to Korea.

However, they have been adapted for use by a few taekwondo schools and practitioners.

Below is a small subset of martial arts weapons that are commonly seen in taekwondo.

  • Jahng Bong aka Bo Staff
  • Bahng Mahng Ee aka Eskrima Sticks
  • Dan Bong aka Short Stick
  • Sam Dan Bong aka 3-Section Staff
  • Jee Pahng Ee aka Combat Cane
  • Sang Jeol Gon aka Nunchaku
  • Sai
  • Jitte
  • Sahang Naht aka Kama
  • Spear
  • Gumdo Swords
  • Dan Gum aka Dagger

For more information on these weapons, visit this Wikipedia article.

Does Taekwondo Use Nunchucks?

Generally, most forms of Taekwondo do not use nunchaku or any weapon in their fighting style. However, it is sometimes implemented into the art and used for demonstration and technique.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Nunchucks also known as nunchaku is a weapon popularized by Bruce Lee in his various movies.

It consists of two wooden sticks connected with a chain, and it requires a great deal of practice because it is equally as dangerous to an unskilled user as it is to an opponent!

And since Taekwondo is generally seen as a weaponless, empty-handed art, it can seem weird for many to even mention nunchaku and Taekwondo in the same sentence.

However, it is sometimes used for demonstration purposes.

And while it takes skill to perform all the acrobatic and fancy TKD moves, more skill is required to spin nunchaku in your hand while performing different strikes and blocks with them at the same time.

Which Martial Arts Teach Weapons?

Here is a list of martial arts that teach weapons and the type of weapons used.

Martial ArtsWeapons Used
Arnisstick, knife, and other bladed weapons.
Canne de combatcanne
FencingFoil, épée, and sabre
GungsulKorean horn bow
Geom sulKorean sword
Iaidō and iaijutsusword
Kendo (and jūkendō)shinai, bayonet
Kobudōblades, firearms
Krabi-krabongsword, staff, club, stick
Mau rākaustaffs, canes, blades, clubs
Silambamstaffs, blades, swords, sickles, canes, knives, etc
Siljun Dobupsword
Taiho jutsusword, staff
Zulu stick-fightingstick
Table of the martial arts that teach weapons and the type of weapons used.

Note that the above list is not final as it contains all the sports and arts that use weapons, but not all other forms of weapon-based combat as they do not satisfy the criteria to be called combat sports or martial arts.

A good example is the Irish bataireacht which is a stick-fighting discipline and the old English discipline of quarterstaff fighting.

For more information on the various weapon-based martial art, visit this article from Ways of Martial Arts.


Taekwondo is traditionally not a weapon-based martial art.

Even today, emphasis is greatly placed on the use of hands and legs for combat by most taekwondo federations and associations.

So, if you are looking to participate in Taekwondo, do not expect to use weapons. Your body is your weapon.

NOTE: If you are looking for a weapon-based martial art to participate in, Taekwondo may not be the right choice for you”

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