If kicks are more powerful and have a longer reach than punches…why would you ever throw a punch?
That’s a question that I am often asked, and it makes sense. Kicks are more powerful than punches, and you can use them at longer distances.
Tae Kwon-Do is actually one of the very few martial arts that has three true distances of fighting: long range, mid range, and close range. Also known as first perimeter, second perimeter, and third perimeter, respectively. The distance between you and your opponent determines what technique to use.
Kicking is, for the most part, a long range or first perimeter technique. And the side-kick is the king of the long-range techniques. There are mid range kicks as well, though. Examples of those would be front kicks and axe kicks, although those can also be used at long range as well.
Once your opponent breaches first perimeter and is into second perimeter, it is time to start incorporating your hands. This is where you start throwing punches, backfists, knife hands, reverse knife hands… all of your various hand techniques.
If your opponent breaches second perimeter and enters close range, that’s when you start using elbows, eye gouges, palm strikes, knees, sweeps, takedowns, etc.
Optimally, we always prefer to keep all of our fights in long range. And, if you’re a good kicker, that can be accomplished. But as they say… stuff happens.
Perhaps you get caught off-guard and all of a sudden you’re starting the fight in mid or close range. Or maybe you’re in a tournament with a highly-skilled fighter who is able to break through that first perimeter on you. If you don’t drop them with the first couple of kicks, that is. Hopefully you’re hitting the heavy bag enough and you can do that.
When you find yourself in mid range, what you want to do is start employing all of those various hand techniques, with the goal of backing your opponent off and getting them back into long range. Then, you can start using your long range kicks again, which will put you in the best position to protect yourself and take your opponent out.
If your opponent somehow breaches first and second perimeter, the best thing to do is start using elbows and knees to back them off, or just start using takedowns.
Over my career, I have trained my hands to the point where I am able to drop my opponents with punches as effectively as kicks. I have also practiced enough long-distance punching to where I can actually punch at a longer distance than most guys can kick.
That has been extremely useful because now I have two equally effective weapons at long distance, and my opponent has no idea which one I am going to use first. Which usually also means it’s the one I’m going to use last.
Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, register online or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!