Master the Axe Kick in Taekwondo

The Axe Kick in Taekwondo

The Axe Kick

This is a kick you will find in other martial art styles under a different name. It’s a very powerful kick you can use at sparring but with control because if you use it with excessive force you can be disqualified.

It requires flexibility because you have to kick very high to land on the target. It can be executed with the front leg if the attacker comes in, you can also execute it with the back leg if you are trying to reach the attacker instead. Kicking with the back leg will create more power but can be telegraphed.

What is an Axe kick used for?

This kick is used in sparring and it can create a lot of damage. A good Axe kick can KO an opponent. This is also one of those kicks we have seen at board-breaking competitions.

This is an actual Axe, the Axe kick gets its name from this tool because when the leg goes down on the opponent it can really do a lot of damage. This is a great kick to use to break boards but if it is used in sparring could hurt someone unless you can control it very well just to touch the target instead of destroying it.

The Axe Kick
An Axe, the inspiration for this kick.

The targets of the Axe Kick

The main targets are the head and the face, but you can aim at the shoulder or the side of the face in sparring.

If it is used in self-defense then you can kick the nose, the neck, the head but you have to be careful because if your attacker catches the kick you will go down on the ground.

Requirements to execute this kick

You should know how to do a front kick and a knee strike. But it is very important to be able to lift the leg high enough to go over your target and then let it go down to kick it.

You are required to have good flexibility or you will fall if you try to reach too high. Here are great exercises to develop flexibility in Martial Arts. (Videos and pictures step by step)

The Axe Kick Step by Step

  1. Get ready on your fighting stance with your hands up.
  2. Bring your knee to your chest keeping your hands up.
  3. Stretch up your leg keeping your eyes on the target.
  4. Now pull down your leg to reach the target with your foot making contact with the heel.
  5. Gently touch the ground.
  6. Step back to your fighting stance always keeping your hands up.

You can make contact with the ball of your foot for light contact or gently let your foot touch the target. You can also use the talon but you might hurt your opponent if you use it in a tournament and be disqualified for excessive force.


  • Always stretch your entire body before executing any kick.
  • Kick through your guard moving your arms away to allow your leg to go through.
  • Always aim your target with your knee.
  • Keep your back straight and don’t lean forward when kicking.
  • Do not overstretch when kicking.
  • Do not hit the floor after you reach the target, just land softly on the floor with the ball of your foot.
The Axe Kick in Taekwondo Demo
Woman Demonstrating an Axe Kick

Frequently Asked Questions

How effective is the Axe Kick in sparring?

  • It’s a very effective kick, but you need practice to master it. If you use more power than you should you can be disqualified.

How can I block the Axe Kick in sparring?

  • There are a few options to block the kick, one would be to move off the line of attack, another one would be to get closer to the attacker, he will lose his balance, and won’t be able to finish the kick due to lack of balance.

Is the AXE kick effective in Street Self Defense?

  • The Axe kick in Taekwondo is a very effective defensive technique. Its purpose is to attack the opponent’s head, clavicle, or chest with a powerful downward force. But it’s important to master this kick before using it in a defensive situation on the street.

Why does my hamstring hurt when I kick?

  • This happens because of poor warm-up and poor stretching. You are required to warm up for 10 minutes at least 15 minutes to stretch your body and legs. Here is an article with 18 effective exercises to do the splits.

Can I use the Axe Kick in Self Defense?

  • It can be used but keep in mind all your weight is on one leg and you can be taken down. You could use it only if you have mastered it and the environment is in your favor. Please understand the arm is shorter and faster than the leg and will give you better results. You can use this kick to keep the attacker away from you.

Taekwondo Techniques

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