What Does Taekwondo Focus On?

2 taekwondo fighters throwing kicks

There are about 180 martial arts styles in the world today with each focusing heavily on some aspect of martial art than the others.

For example, tai chi is heavily concerned with formalized sequences of movements and meditation. So, what does Taekwondo focus on?

Taekwondo is a martial art that focuses on the use of the hands and feet for striking and kicking while also emphasizing the development of speed, power, balance, and flexibility. Additionally, Taekwondo includes elements of self-defense, sport, and physical fitness. It is also focused on the development of the mind and spirit.

Now, let’s go further as I try to explain the main focus of taekwondo and how this art is different from other martial arts out there.

Let’s begin!

Table of Contents

What Is Taekwondo Focus?

I’m sure the initial response from most people on this question would be that ‘Taekwondo focuses on kicks’ due to its emphasis on the use of legs.

However, that really is a bit misleading as Taekwondo is not all about kicks because students also learn how to strike with their hands.

But the founders believed that legs are longer and more powerful weapons than hands so taekwondo training puts a lot of emphasis on leg kicks.

This is the main reason why people trained in Taekwondo use far more leg strikes, and why so many people have the wrong perception that this Korean art is all about the kicks.

Taekwondo is first, and foremost a Martial Art – an educational training system on the subject of life.

Therefore, like any similar Asian Martial Art system, the focus of Taekwondo is on seeking the ideal balance between mind, body, and spirit through introspective analysis, self-improvement, and an overall appreciation and value of life.

More on the ‘Trinity of Taekwondo’ (mind, body, and spirit) later in this article.

Students are guided by instructors on a path of incremental progress that involves graded levels with interim goals toward a more long-term objective, but it is truly never-ending.

Every day is a new experience as you take in each breath of life, and the focus of the art is to learn to value those moments, protect and preserve that precious life, and make the best choices for ideal results.

One part of that experience is the physical aspect of exercising for health and fitness and attaining the knowledge, skill, and ability to protect yourself and others from harm (self-defense) effectively.

As important as kicking is, and as much time as we dedicate to it in class, it isn’t the main and only focus of taekwondo.

Even still, the very methods and techniques that we learn and employ to defend ourselves are merely tools and tactics to ultimately protect what is most important – the enjoyment of an honorable life of peace and harmony whenever possible and prudent.

What Are the Three Areas of Focus in Taekwondo?

The three areas of focus in Taekwondo are body, mind, and spirit. These three major aspects of Taekwondo are known as the Trinity of Taekwondo. For an individual to develop into a complete and well-rounded person, he must cultivate each aspect of Taekwondo.

The Body of Taekwondo

The body is the first pillar of Taking Kwon Do.

When a student begins training, he or she must learn to stretch their muscles and condition their body to perform this marital art of complicated movements.

Kicks, blocks, stances, hand strikes, correct breathing, balance, and rhythm are all rigorously practiced.

Doing this and more teaches the student to properly perform the techniques.

This is going to improve the student’s physicality and develop a strong body.

By coming to class regularly and practicing at home the student will grow stronger and more confident.

However, this is just the first step in an individual’s development.

The Mind of Taekwondo

Two Taekwondo practitioners meditating

Taekwondo’s second pillar is that of the mind.

Through the practice of physical techniques, the student is engrossed in a deeply educational process.

The student becomes comfortable with anatomy, the functioning of the body, and how to hone it to generate more power.

The weak points of the body are also studied so the student becomes aware of how to protect themselves from harm, and also learn how to strike an attacker’s weak points in defense.

While learning martial arts the student improves his or her ability to concentrate and achieve goals, which may have seemed previously impossible.

Teaching and helping others are also emphasized as the student exchanges knowledge with other dojang (academy) members.

The student becomes confident that he or she is capable of defending not only themselves but their loved ones as well should the need ever emerge.

Students do not simply learn how to fight, they learn how to avoid confrontations.

Engaging in reckless physical confrontations is always a no-win situation.

Taekwondo teaches that helping others is the true gift of these timeless martial arts.

The Spirit of Taekwondo

Taekwondo’s final aspect is that of the spirit.

Evolving spiritually is a direct result of rigorous mental and physical training, which acts as the catalyst which allows such development to unfold.

One may possess a very strong body and an excellent mind but a complete individual is one that is filled with spiritual vision.

A belief in one’s self, one’s community, and God is emphasized. Devotion to others above one’s self is strongly encouraged.

This enlightenment is reached once an individual becomes at peace with themselves.

Cultivating the strength of one’s convictions and the strength to stand by one’s morals is encouraged.

Developing this intensely spiritual aspect of martial arts develops faith in both one’s self and in others.

The student has become unified with the sacred teachings of Taekwondo. He or she has integrated the art into every aspect of their life.

They apply the moral teaching of Taekwondo to their public and private lives and even to their enemies.

Integrity, kindness, perseverance, self-discipline, and an unwavering spirit are all present.

Upon reaching this ultimate goal the student has become a true adherent to the sacred art of Taekwondo.

This type of development isn’t reached overnight. It requires many years of devotion and study of the martial arts.

The Taekwondo trinity is expressed through the forming of the hyoung position of the hands during the Kwang-Gae pattern.

This is required to achieve the 1st-degree black belt. This sacred hand gesture is representative of the mind, body, and spirit.

This principle is also evident in the forming of the belt knot when it has been tied properly.

How Is Taekwondo Different From Other Martial Arts

The different martial arts all originated in extra countries thousands of years ago, as forms of self-defense.

Other martial arts such as Karate and Kung Fu come from Japan and China respectively.

Taekwondo is native to Korea.

In terms of techniques, Taekwondo is known as the kicking art and emphasizes kicks more than other martial arts.

It is ideal for improving balance, flexibility, coordination, and endurance.

Besides the physical benefits, many people practice Taekwondo to improve self-confidence and gain valuable discipline.

In addition, Taekwondo is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world and is the only of these martial arts that is a sport in the Olympic Games.

Currently, more people study the art of Taekwondo than most other forms of martial arts combined.


As you can see, there is more to Taekwondo than

 kicking and self-defense.

Taekwondo is all-encompassing as it focuses on the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of our lives.

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