Is Taekwondo Aggressive?

taekwondo girl aggressively kicking in a white background

With Taekwondo being a martial art as well as a combat sport, many fears that it might increase aggression in students and practitioners. But is taekwondo aggressive?

Taekwondo is not an aggressive martial art or sport. It teaches self-discipline, self-control, character building, respect, and peaceful conflict resolution. It also provides a mix of self-defense, spiritual refinement, and morality.

Many people fear that taekwondo being a martial art can be a catalyst for aggressive behavior in both adults and kids.

Interestingly, the opposite is the case. I’ll explain.

First, taekwondo is founded on certain unshaken principles that promote and encourages peaceful, gentle, and respectful behavior among students.

These principles are contained in the tenets of taekwondo and the student oath.

The five tenets of taekwondo include;

  • Courtesy
  • Integrity
  • Perseverance
  • Self-control
  • Indomitable spirit

Following the recitation of the tenets, students are made to recite the student oath, as follows: 

  • I shall observe the Tenets of Taekwondo.
  • I shall respect instructors and seniors.
  • I shall never misuse Taekwondo.
  • I will be a champion of freedom and justice.
  • I will build a more peaceful world.

And since taekwondo is a practical art, most of these philosophies are generally recognized, respected, and practiced by students religiously.

Students are trained to develop the discipline to follow these rules not only in taekwondo classes but in their everyday lives.

This is not all, as several studies have also shown the role played by taekwondo in the reduction of aggression.

A study has proven martial arts to be a worthwhile intervention in the reduction of aggressive behavior as it has the potential to reduce externalizing behaviors in youth.

The study followed more than 500 children between the ages of 6 – 18, stating that while less aggression was noted, the mechanisms by which aggression was lessened with martial arts training require further research. 

So, while there are no guarantees that martial arts will be the answer to a child’s aggressive behaviors, it remains an effective therapeutic addition to current treatment strategies.

Despite the above, it should be known that any practitioner can ignore the spiritual and philosophical aspects of the art, focusing strictly on the self-defense aspect.

This could happen when the taekwondo class (dojo) they attended deliberately disregards, or fails to emphasize it enough.

This could make a taekwondo practitioner aggressive, so it’s important to choose a taekwondo school that clearly emphasizes these principles and philosophies.

You shouldn’t have any trouble finding them.

Is Taekwondo Violent?

Taekwondo is not a violent art because it promotes self-control, self-discipline, respect, and peaceful resolution of conflicts.

Founding president of the Panthers Taekwondo Club, Vusumuzi Ncube, explains that Taekwondo is not a violent sport, and it is a misconception to think so since it has rules that instill discipline in students if observed correctly.

Taekwondo can help to address the increasing number of bullying and other violent and aggressive behavior by improving students’ abilities to peacefully resolve conflict.

It’s important to remember however that taekwondo was originally designed for combat against oppressors, especially during wartime.

So, Taekwondo can kill when practiced as a traditional martial art form. This means it can be violent and aggressive if the situation demands it.

However, its transition from a killing art into a soft vehicle of diplomacy for peace means that its aggressive and violent tendencies have been relaxed, especially now that it has become more of a sports practice and a self-defense mechanism.

For example, when participating in taekwondo competitions, rules are in place to ensure practitioners do not violently throw their strikes.

So, when taught appropriately, Taekwondo is not about promoting violence, but about building the best version of you.

Taekwondo promotes integrity, courtesy, perseverance, self-control, and an indomitable spirit.

Is Taekwondo Good for Aggressive Kids?

Taekwondo is good for aggressive kids as it helps them develop their self-control, self-discipline, and ability to resolve conflicts peacefully.

Even parents with non-aggressive children are worried about martial arts encouraging violent or aggressive behaviors in their kids.

They fear that the striking skills learned by kids might encourage them to adapt hitting violently to their everyday lives.

Well, that is not the case.

A study was conducted to examine the effect of taekwondo training on the aggression level of children between the ages of 6 and 11 yr.

Using a behavior checklist designed to measure children’s aggression, 68 students (boys and girls) were tested.

Analysis showed a significant indication of an inverse relationship between the children’s taekwondo rank and their aggression.

This means that as kids progress through the ranks, their level of aggression reduces as well.

So, Taekwondo is an effective tool for aggression control especially for kids, further emphasizing the fact that taekwondo is a good activity for kids.

Good Taekwondo programs do not promote violence but instead focus on self-control and de-escalation.

However, students do learn effective self-defense and combat techniques, which sometimes make parents concerned, depending on the personality and make-up of their child.

But it is your responsibility to figure out what is best for your child and what activities will promote the values and behavior important to them.


When you mention taekwondo to anyone, they think of aggressive and violent fighting. This is wrong.

What taekwondo teaches are self-defense, confidence, fitness, and general well-being.

Some even join taekwondo for weight loss while others join for fun purposes.

So, if you are looking for the right activity to help control aggressive behaviors, taekwondo would be the right choice.

DISCLAIMER: If you or anyone is suffering from chronic aggressive behavior, it’s recommended you consult a medical specialist for consultation and approval before signing up for a martial art class. Taekwondo is not a substitute for medical treatment.

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