How Do You Stay Safe in Taekwondo?

2 taekwondo students shaking hands preparing to spar

Your safety is the most important element when you begin your training in taekwondo. So how do you stay safe in taekwondo?

To stay safe in taekwondo, warm up and stretch your muscles at the beginning of every class, wear protective guards during training, and train at your own level by avoiding techniques that are advanced which could cause you injury.

If you are unnecessarily injured, your training will be sidelined and you will not be able to continue your exploration of this exciting system of self-defense.

As taekwondo is a very physical sport, many injuries can happen while training.

Although there is no way to ensure that you will not be injured, there are a couple of simple things that you can do to protect yourself.

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How Do You Prevent Injuries in Taekwondo?

To prevent injuries in taekwondo, you should conduct a physical examination before participating in training, warm up and stretch before the start of class, wear proper protective gear during training, and train under the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Because taekwondo is largely physically demanding and incorporates just about every muscle group within the body, you may run the risk of a possible injury.

However, you should not let the fear of getting hurt stop you from advancing your life with the art of taekwondo.

Here are a few precautionary measures that can be taken to stay safe and avoid injuries.

Physical Examination

Before participating in any physical activity, you should undergo a physical examination.

During a physical exam, a doctor or specialist will examine your organs and vitals to ensure that you are physically well enough to engage in any sports or activities.

If the physician feels that you are at an increased risk for injury or other complications due to any medical conditions or prior injuries, you will be alerted and given tips to assure your safety, and medical prescriptions, or you may even receive advice against doing certain activities.

Warm Up

You always want to warm the body up before engaging in any physical activity, especially strenuous ones like taekwondo.

A warm-up is a gentle preparation designed to ease the body into a more intense workout.

During this phase, your heart rate will slightly increase and your muscles will warm up so that they will be able to stretch out better.


At the beginning of every taekwondo class, the students are led through stretching exercises.

Often, new students who arrive at class early will immediately begin to throw high kicks, instead of stretching.

This is one of the quickest ways to tear your muscles. A torn muscle can keep you on the sidelines for days or even weeks, so you must always stretch before you perform even the most basic technique.

Train at Your Own Level

The next safety policy you must follow is to train at your own level.

Do not attempt black-belt techniques when you have just earned your yellow belt.

Do not attempt to perform advanced flying kicks until you have mastered the basic kicking techniques.

Do not throw your front kick as high in the air as possible as this can cause you to lose your balance and end up on the ground—possibly breaking your wrist as you attempt to catch your fall.

Of course, you want to excel in the art, and grow as a taekwondo practitioner—but do so in a controlled manner.

This will keep you healthy so that you can master the basic techniques and then move on to the more advanced exercises while remaining free from injury.

Wear Protective Gear During Training

Taekwondo protective gear

Whether you are competing or practicing taekwondo, always be sure to be dressed in protective clothing.

To guard your body and prevent possible fractures or bruising, you should equip yourself with a trunk protector, headgear, a mouthpiece, gloves, shin and forearm guards, foot pads, and a groin area protector.

However, you will not normally witness most of these protective items being worn in a taekwondo class because they are too restrictive for everyday training.

This is especially true for younger martial artists — just because their bones are more flexible and less likely to break doesn’t mean that they aren’t susceptible to serious injuries.

In fact, the flexibility that protects them from some injuries can cause serious harm in other ways.

The skull in particular is softer and more sensitive in children than it is in adults.

Watch Out for Broken Bones and Torn Ligaments

It is very easy to break your bones or tear your ligaments while training in taekwondo.

This can occur from any number of factors. You can kick one of your opponent’s protruding joints, while sparring, and break your foot.

 You can land incorrectly from a jumping kick and break your ankle or rip the ligaments of your knee.

You can incorrectly block the oncoming kick of a training partner and break your arm, wrist, hand, or finger.

During sparring, your fellow student may kick you in a joint, causing it to break or tear.

At the outset, you must understand that all of this bone-breaking and ligament tearing can occur while you are training in taekwondo.

No doubt, your instructor will do everything he can to prevent you from being injured, but, there is virtually no one who has traveled down the road of taekwondo without breaking a bone during training or being injured in some way.

There is no foolproof method to keep yourself free from injury while training in taekwondo, but you can limit your chances of injury considerably by remaining as mindful of your individual movements as possible.

Therefore, perform every defensive or offensive action with as much awareness as possible.

From this style of training, not only will you become a more proficient taekwondo practitioner, but you may also avoid unnecessary injury.

Get Proper Supervision

It is a wise decision to only train under the supervision of an experienced teacher.

Unless you feel that you have reached expert status in taekwondo, you should always take direction from a knowledgeable instructor so that you will be alerted if you are exercising any unsafe practices.

Additionally, you should always keep a first aid kit handy just in case are ever wounded.

Remember that most injuries can be prevented, and if you prepare properly, taekwondo can prove to be beneficial in all aspects of your life.

Just remember that included with all of this, proper diet and eliminating bad habits are essential as well.

Forgetting to take proper care of yourself in other areas of your life can also make you more susceptible to injuries and other problems in taekwondo.

Safety Rules in Taekwondo

When at the dojang, there are some general additional rules that you should follow in order to promote your safety during training.

Some of these rules are as follows:

1- Don’t wear jewelry or watches during training.

2- Tie your hair if you have long hair; use a hair band if you have medium-length hair during training.

3- Keep your finger and toenails short for sparring.

4- Don’t chew gum while training. It is not only disrespectful to your Master and your classmates but it is also a choking hazard.

5- Make sure to wear all your sparring gear including your mouth guard and groin guard in sparring classes (especially in Competitive Sparring Classes).

6- Use goggles or a protective cover over your prescription glasses in sparring classes (especially in Competitive Sparring Classes).

7- Don’t use excessive force when sparring with younger students or lower belts.

8- If you have any injury, tell your instructor before class begins. If you are injured during class, report it to your Master or Instructor right away.

9- Don’t stand on the benches in the viewing area and change rooms or on the bar chairs at the Snack Shack.

10- If you see anything unsafe or you feel unsafe, report it to your Master or Instructor right away.

Is There Any Danger in Learning Taekwondo?

Just like any sport, there is a possibility that someone practicing taekwondo can be hurt.

However, you’ll find that taekwondo is one of the safest options when it comes to physical activity.

Not only does sparring take place with a good amount of protection and safety but there are also schools of taekwondo designed to teach a form of fighting that does not focus on knockouts or knockdowns.

Compare this to something like football, with its extremely high rates of concussion and other injuries despite its general acceptance as a normal part of school activity.

As for taekwondo, the chances of concussions or other injuries like broken or knocked out teeth are fairly slim, especially when part of training is learning to receive blows.

It is still important to learn how to deal with a damaged tooth is still a good idea, even in safer sports according to Murfreesboro Dentistry.

Safe sparring is always key in a taekwondo class. That’s why all students wear the required safety equipment while training.

Mouthguards, shin guards, instep guards, gloves, cups, and even full body armor are standard for students looking to face off, including in competitions.

Most sparring takes place on padded or soft surfaces to reduce the impact of falling, further protecting fighters from injury.

Any reputable martial arts school will have instructors worth the cost of admission.

These people know what they’re doing and can do it in a way that minimizes risk to their students.

The instructors at a taekwondo school are no different, possessing the training and conviction to competently manage their students and solve any problems that arise.

One of their major jobs is teaching safety, and helping the students themselves reduce any risks of injury during training.

Taekwondo is a safe and fun way to get in shape, learn some discipline and understand how to protect yourself.


Ultimately, it is you who must make the choices that will keep you safe in this very physical style of self-defense.

By remaining prudent and conscious during all of your actions in the taekwondo class, hopefully, you will keep your injuries to a minimum and continue to enjoy training in the art.

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