Learning how to do a roundhouse kick properly in Taekwondo can be a difficult task if you don’t know the basics on how to throw this type of kick. I decided to do some research on the best way to explain how to do a roundhouse kick. But not to worry, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think. This is a complete guide with everything you’ll need to know about this powerful and effective kick.
When it comes to throwing the roundhouse kick correctly, you will need to pay attention to each step along the way as their are small details at each stage that can greatly affect how well the roundhouse kick is done.
If you continue reading you will have everything you need to know plus I’ll give you tips on how to make your roundhouse better, as well as counters for those who try to use it against you
What is the Roundhouse Kick?
The Korean term for a Roundhouse kick is dollyeo chagi which literally means turning kick. It is one of the most widely used kicks in all striking martial arts. This is especially true in the martial art of TaeKwondo, where a variety of roundhouse kicks are thrown.
This kick has many ways in which it can be performed depending on your stance, how you position your leg and which part your foot you strike with. For example, either your instep or with your toes back).
It also depends how the where you are going to strike. An example of this would be, whether you want to kick to the head or chest.
How to Do a Roundhouse Kick
There is more to throwing a roundhouse kick than just bringing your leg up and swinging it around. When throwing a roundhouse kick, there are many important steps you have to go through.
Below are a list of important steps you need to go through to throw a good roundhouse kick. Some steps included that TaeKwondo practitioners sometimes tend to forget.
After having a good stance this is the next step in throwing a good roundhouse kick in TaeKwondo. It is the first step and it is very important to do this kick right.
For a back roundhouse kick, your pivot foot is your front foot. Before you throw the kick, your pivot foot turns outward at a slight angle.This pivot sets up the next steps in doing the roundhouse kick. Most importantly it guides the direction of the kick.
Without that pivot, you can’t turn your hip or foot. There will be speed, power, or snap on your kick. Always remember to turn that pivot foot before you throw your kick.
Bring Your Knee Up
Bringing your knee up is the next step in throwing a TaeKwondo roundhouse kick. The height that you bring up your knee dictates how high your kick is going to go.If you don’t bring it up your knee, you’ll just end up kicking the opponent’s legs.
This is okay in kickboxing, but not legal in TaeKwondo. After the pivot bring the knee of your kicking leg up to your waist or chest depending on your target. Bringing your knee to your waist means your kick will hit their midsection. If you bring your knee up to your chest, you can hit the opponent in the head with your roundhouse.
Turn Your Hips
In an earlier step to throwing a roundhouse kick, you had to turn your foot. You also need to turn your hips as well.Turning your hips over gives your roundhouse the ability to get that arch on it. Not turning over your hips makes your kick lose velocity and power.
You’ll also be kicking them with the side of your leg, which is incorrect.Remember to turn your hips in order to get that snap and arch on your roundhouse kick.
Part Of The Leg You Hit With
The next important step in throwing a proper roundhouse kick is the part of your leg you hit with. Hitting with the correct part of your leg can be the difference between good technique and injury.
If you hit them with the top of your foot, you are very liable to break the small sensitive bones in your foot. Especially if you hit the opponent’s knee or elbow if they block.
The place on your leg that you want to hit them with is the bottom of your shin bone above your foot. This part of your shin is hard and will damage an opponent when thrown correctly.
Breathing out during your strikes is also an important step that a lot of TaeKwondo practitioners tend to forget.By breathing out this keeps your breathing in a rhythm when you are sparring.
It also makes you remember to breathe and your cardio won’t last if you’re not breathing.Forgetting to breathe out is a bad habit to break, so remember to breathe out now or it’ll affect your technique and cardio.
Some TaeKwondo students tend to forget to keep their hands up when throwing their kicks and this definitely includes the roundhouse. This is more of a self defense step than a step in doing the roundhouse, but it is still very important.
If you get into the bad habit of leaving your hands down during your kick, the opponent will catch on and make you pay with a counter. So remember to always have your hands up.
The last step that we’ll mention that is less talked about is swinging through on your roundhouse kick. This is a step that really needs to be taught more.
When most throw a roundhouse they just aim for the target.
This is wrong, because that means the least amount of power is going to hit the opponent. You need to remember to swing through on your roundhouse kicks. Try to visualize your kick ending just past the head of your opponent. By doing this, you’ll swing through and hit the opponent with the full force of your roundhouse kick.
The Basic TaeKwondo Fighting Stance
Before you even think about throwing a roundhouse kick, you need to have a good stance. A good stance is the beginning and end of a roundhouse kick. Without a good stance your roundhouse will always be flawed.
The first thing you need to be aware of in your fighting stance is your feet placement. In a TaeKwondo fighting stance, your feet need to shoulder width or just a bit further if you’re taller. Feet placement is everything if they’re placed too far or short this will affect the timing of your kick.
You gotta have your knees bent in a good fighting stance. Before you throw a roundhouse, your knees bend and if they aren’t it’ll make our kick .5-1 seconds slower.
Balls Of Your Feet
To throw a good round, you got to be on the balls of your feet. Being on the balls of your feet makes you faster and able to throw your techniques quicker. Anyone that throws their kicks flat footed are noticeably slower.
How to Improve Your Roundhouse Kick
There are a lot of different methods you can do to improve your roundhouse kicks in TaeKwondo. Below is a list of things you can be doing to make your roundhouse the best they can be.
Stretching is an important thing that you should already be doing everyday if you are a student of TaeKwondo. By stretching everyday you will increase your flexibility to kick higher and throw them faster. Here are a few stretches that you should be doing everyday.
Start in a center split for 15-30 seconds, then drop each knee and go to the left and right for the same amount of time. You can also drop each hip to the floor for the same amount of time to stretch your hips out.
As mentioned in the TaeKwondo Kicks article, these are great to get better roundhouses. Start to slow and work up to head height to loosen up your muscles and increase flexibility.
Wall Holds or Partner Stretch
This stretch can be done with a partner, but a wall is fine if you don’t have one. Bring your leg up and place your foot on the wall to mimic a roundhouse. Hold each leg up for 30 seconds to a minute each.
Yoga is a great way to increase flexibility to make your roundhouse kicks better. Especially the standing poses. Try a few flows and see if this works for you.
Workouts For More Power and Speed
Here is a list of workouts you can do to increase the power and speed of your roundhouse kicks.
Traditional Weightlifting Exercises
Doing weighted lunges, squats, and also deadlifts will help build those muscles you use in roundhouse kicks. Consider doing 50% your maximum so not to hurt yourself and work the muscles.
Sprinting is an explosive movement that uses most of the same muscles you use in roundhouse kicks. Doing something like 5-10 30 yard sprints with a minute break in between for example.
Using a balance ball is great to increase strength and stability. Squats are a great and challenging workout on a balance ball. You could also do roundhouse step kicks on a balance ball.
Training Drills for a Better Roundhouse Kick
If you can get to your school early or maybe even stay after class, Try some of these drills at to improve your roundhouse kicks.
As mentioned with the balance ball, we’ll explain step kicks here. A step kick is where you slowly and methodically go through each step of a kick(roundhouse in this case). In 4 steps bring your knee up, kick your roundhouse out, bring it back, and set it down.(Try doing these 10 times on each leg everyday)
Kicks For Reps
The best way to get better and stronger kicks is through old fashion repetition. For a training drill/workout throw 10 roundhouses on one leg and switch. 10 sets will equal 100 kicks on each leg.
Kicks For Power
This is a great drill for fast and powerful roundhouse kicks on a heavy bag. Have your coach or teammate there to help you. When they say go, throw a roundhouse as fast and as powerful as you can. 5:2 minute rounds is a good amount to do with this drill.
Ways To Counter A Roundhouse Kick
Since we went through all the steps you need to throw a good roundhouse kick, we’ll also list the best ways to counter a roundhouse kick. There are specifically 2 great techniques you can use to counter an opponent’ roundhouse.
Sidekick/ Front Kick:
A straight kick will always reach an opponent faster than their roundhouse, especially if they are telegraphing. Generally when someone throws a roundhouse this opens up their body. This leaves the opportunity to counter them with a stiff sidekick or front kick that can knock the wind out of them.
A straight punch can also work to counter an opponent’s roundhouse kick. Since you can’t punch to the face most TaeKwondo competitions change levels and go to the body.
In this article, we have listed every critical step in throwing a roundhouse kick in TaeKwondo. If you remember these steps, when working your roundhouse it will be solid.
Also remember that you need to be stretching and drilling everyday. Having good technique requires work and you need to put in the work everyday to have better roundhouse kicks.