The Taekwondo Punch
Taekwondo is a martial art of South Korean origin, whose name can be translated as “The Way of the Feet and Fists”.
Punching techniques are, therefore, part of the training of this martial art in the Dojangs.
All punches share a common hand technique. The hand is balled into a fist with the thumb on the outside. The objective is to strike with the fist's first two knuckles. The fist should move straight toward its target, and the wrist should be straight at the moment of impact. The fist rotates during the movement so that the palm of the fist is facing downwards at the impact.
Fist techniques are taught in taekwondo classes and must be mastered for rank promotion. These fist techniques are very effective.
However, World Taekwondo competitions make limited use of them. The rules restrict their use to distinguish this sport from boxing or karate and promote the use of foot techniques that are much more spectacular.
Consequently, Taekwondo matches are practiced with strict rules on the techniques that can be used, especially punches. Like soccer players who kick the ball instead of using their hands to put it in the goal, they do so because they do not play basketball. Soccer is a game with a specific challenge, and the athlete must be good at it to win. The same is true of Taekwondo and its restrictions.
The rules for using fists prohibit hitting the opponent in the face with the fist during a taekwondo match. It is possible to score points with the fist only on the chest protector. However, the chest protector will not record a successful impact electronically See the blog on Protecting and scoring in Taekwondo | SportsEdTV).
Only the judges can record this point, and they will validate it when the punch is of sufficient force to induce a trembling shock or a sudden movement of the body. A punch will only register one point if successful, which is considerably less than a kick to the head or a spin kick.
However, in critical moments of a match, the use of the punch can become decisive. It is used to distract, timing, and set up for a powerful kick. This is what Myriam Bavarel explains in the video The Punch Analyzed by Myriam Baverel | SportsEdTV. Myriam Bavarel is an Olympic silver medalist in taekwondo in Athens 2004 and was voted best female coach in the world three times in 2009, 2013 and 2014.