The Korean Martial Art of Taekwondo Expressed in Simple English.

When was the last time you attended a Taekwondo class? It could have seemed to some students as though the lecturer was speaking a foreign language at times.

As taekwondo originates in Korea, the majority of taekwondo schools teach their students using terminology and phrases from the Korean language. This also ensures that things are standardised, making it possible for students from a variety of nations to train together.

You will need to be familiar with the meanings of these words if you hope to keep up with the conversation. Have a look at this useful collection of taekwondo vocabulary, which is provided in both English and Korean versions.

Counting in the Korean language

I bet you didn’t know that in order to participate in Taekwondo class, you’d have to relearn how to count from the beginning. Learning the numbers in Korean is an absolute must if you want to keep track of the amount of repetitions you are performing.

You won’t need to memorise all the numbers, but knowing how to count from one to ten is a good place to begin. They are shown here.

  • One – Hana
  • The second, Dul
  • Three – Get Ready
  • Four – Net
  • Dasot, number five
  • Six – Yasot
  • Seven – Elgub
  • Eight – Yodel
  • Nine – Ahob
  • Ten – Yol


The pronunciation of the Korean term for kick is similar to that of chagi (chah-gee). As a result, you will see that this is reflected in each of the kick names

  • Kick – chagi
  • Front – ap chagi
  • Yeop chagi is the side kick.
  • Dollyo Chagi, also known as a roundhouse kick
  • Back kick – dwi chagi
  • Bandal chagi, also known as the crescent kick
  • Axe kick – naeryeo chagi
  • Scissor kick – kawi chagi
  • Meereo Chagi, often known as the push kick

A knee strike known as a moreup chigi (yep, that’s meant to be chigi because it’s not a kick in the traditional sense).


In Taekwondo, the kicks are quite important, but you shouldn’t overlook the importance of blocks. It is essential to have the ability to defend oneself against assaults that come from the outside. Learn some helpful TKD vocabulary for the many kinds of blocks by reading this.

  • The ahre maggi has a low block.
  • Middle block – momtong maggi
  • Wee maggi on the rise – the rising block
  • Son nal maggi, also known as a knife-hand block
  • Du son nal kuh dul a maggi, which translates to “double knife-hand block”
  • X block – yeot pero maggi
  • Outside block – backat maggi
  • Palm block – ba tang son maggi
  • Du son kuh dul a maggi, which translates to “double hand block”


If you do not have the correct stances and footwork, you will fall to the ground very soon. Because of this, the vocabulary for various stances is included in the fundamental taekwondo terminology, which you are required to learn at the beginning of your training.

  • Front stance – ahp gubi sohgi
  • Back posture – dwi gibi sohgi
  • ahp sohgi is the walking stance that we use.
  • The fighting posture, also known as mot sohgi
  • The posture for sparring is called kyeo ry gee chum be.
  • Juchoom sohgi, often known as the horse stance
  • Tiger posture – pyong hi soghi

Are you fascinated by the wide variety of kicks that may be performed in Taekwondo? Take a look at this new post!


Hand Strikes

You’ll also hear additional Taekwondo orders spoken in Korean a lot when you’re in the dojang, such as “hand strikes.” If you have trouble understanding the command when you hear it, you won’t get the chance to take the shot, thus it is important that you remember these phrases very well.

  • Hook – guligi chi gi
  • Dung joomock chi gi, often known as the back fist
  • Doo son nal mok chi gi, also known as the double knife-hand strike
  • Hammer fist – me joomok chi gi
  • Palm strike – ba tang son tuck chi gi
  • Son nal dung chi gi, also known as the spear hand strike
  • Pyon joomock chi gi, also known as the knuckle fist punch
  • Strike with the palm of the knife (sob nal chi gi)


When compared to some of the other tkd terms that we have gone through, the frequency with which you will hear anatomical words in Korean is lower. However, it is essential to educate yourself on these terms so that you are aware of their meaning whenever you come across them.

  • Head – mo li
  • Neck – mok
  • Face – eolgul
  • Elbow – buddy gub
  • Hand – son
  • Fist – joomock
  • The palmock of the forearm
  • Knee – moreup
  • Leg – dari
  • Foot – baal
  • The jock do or the ball of the foot
  • Heel – bal dwee ggum chee


Learning Taekwondo involves a significant commitment to self-discipline and respect, as is the case with the majority of martial arts. In line with this concept, all students of taekwondo should become familiar with the numerous polite words that are exclusive to Korean taekwondo.

  • Hello – a nyung ha sae yo
  • Thank you – kam sa ham me da
  • Goodbye – a nyung he gae sae yo
  • Bow – kyung nae
  • Kuk gee eh dae han kyung na, which translates to “bow to the flags.”
  • Bow to the master – kuan jang nim kkae kyung nae

The Terms Used in Schools

When you go into the dojo, no one will expect you to already know the proper taekwondo terminology. However, after taking sessions for a few of weeks, there are a few terms that ought to be starting to sound more familiar to you.

  • Practice space – do jang
  • Student – hak saeng (or jeja)
  • Senior Student – sonbaenim
  • Master Instructor – kwan jang nim
  • Instructor – sabomnim
  • Prepared to go – joon be
  • A word to the wise: chah ryut
  • Forms – poomsae
  • Sparring – kyunggo
  • Black belt – dan
  • Self-defense – hosinsool
  • Korean flag – tae guk gi
  • American flag – my gook gee
  • Yell – kihap

What is the proper name for a Taekwondo dojo?


As a result of the widespread dissemination of karate in the West, the term “dojo” is likely to be more well-known to most people living in western countries. Dojang is the correct spelling of the Korean term nevertheless.

What does one name someone who studies Taekwondo?

“Taekwondo-in” is the word used in general for Taekwondo pupils. Depending on the particular Taekwondo style, they may also be referred to as “hak saeng” or “jeja.” Both of these names refer to the same thing.

When speaking to a student in their senior year, you should address them as “sonbaenim.”

What does one name someone who teaches Taekwondo?

Sabom (pronounced “sah-bum”) is the correct phrase to use while speaking Korean. Sensei is a Japanese word but is commonly used in the West. Karate is a martial art that originated in Japan.

Add the polite suffix -nim to the end of your question if you want to address it to your teacher. Therefore, you should call your teacher as sabomnim.

What exactly should I say as I bow and salute to a taekwondo instructor?

Taekwon. In point of fact, you can say this to anyone you bow to, including your instructors as well as your other students.

When speaking to a professor, it is best not to use their first name. When applicable, you should address someone as “sir,” “ma’am,” or “master.” This applies to when you are replying to inquiries as well (yes sir, instead of simply yes)

In the context of Taekwondo orders, what is the distinction between baro and keuman?

The word baro translates to “return,” while the word keuman means “halt.” On the other hand, pupils frequently mix up these taekwondo terms since they hear them employed in the same context.

Consider the following illustration located at the bottom of a form. If the teacher wants you to return to the beginning position, which is normally a ready stance, they may tell you to “baro” (pronounced “baro”) as a signal.

On the other hand, a teacher can tell you to “keuman” because you have reached the conclusion of the lesson and they want you to stop. After that, the learner will go back to a ready posture because it is the customary thing to do after a form is complete.

It is easy to understand how things may become complicated.

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