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Teaching Olympic Style

Taekwondo Sparring
Level 1

Presented by: Gordon White


The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Introduction

Welcome to “Teaching Olympic Style Taekwondo Sparring”. I have created this manual as a reference
for the hands on training you receive. It is not intended to be a comprehensive guide, but rather a tool to
help remind you of key points.

As a coach and Taekwondo instructor it is important to mind the details and not go too quickly.
Especially with students that have experience in other styles of sparring, it is tempting to practice more
advanced techniques and drills, but like most sports, strong fundamentals will give the best performance.

I hope you find this document useful, feel free to contact me with questions.

Gordon White
The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
182 Main Street
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 658 - 3359
gwhite@bluewavetkd.com

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Warning – Disclaimer

The author of this manual, The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc., The Blue Wave Taekwondo Association Inc.
and all members of their respective officers, agents, representatives, successors, are not liable or responsible
to any person or entity for any damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information
contained in this manual.

Teaching Olympic Style Taekwondo Sparring

Copyright © The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be
reproduced without written permission from the author.

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Table of Contents
Introduction...................................................................................................................................................... 2
Warm Ups ......................................................................................................................................................... 6
Running in place ..................................................................................................................................................6
Modified Mountain Climbers...................................................................................................................................6
Knee Raise...........................................................................................................................................................7
Fast Knees...........................................................................................................................................................7
Skipping Step.......................................................................................................................................................8
½ Squat Pops ......................................................................................................................................................8
Knee Tucks:.........................................................................................................................................................9
Lunge Pops..........................................................................................................................................................9
Skipping ..............................................................................................................................................................9
Stretch Kicks ...................................................................................................................................................... 10
Stances ........................................................................................................................................................... 11
Offensive Stance ................................................................................................................................................ 11
Defensive Stance................................................................................................................................................ 11
Steps ............................................................................................................................................................... 12
Full Step ............................................................................................................................................................ 12
Skipping Step..................................................................................................................................................... 12
Slipping Step...................................................................................................................................................... 12
Running Step ..................................................................................................................................................... 12
Other Steps ..................................................................................................................................................... 13
Check Motion ..................................................................................................................................................... 13
Switching........................................................................................................................................................... 13
Pada Step .......................................................................................................................................................... 13
Kicks ............................................................................................................................................................... 14
Round House kick............................................................................................................................................... 14
Fast Kick or Skip-in Round House......................................................................................................................... 17
Cut Kick............................................................................................................................................................. 18
Slide Back Round House Kick............................................................................................................................... 18
Draw back (front leg) counter round house kick .................................................................................................... 19
Back Kick ........................................................................................................................................................... 20
Jump Back Kick .................................................................................................................................................. 20
Kicking Practice Styles ................................................................................................................................... 21
½ or Stepping Pace............................................................................................................................................ 21
Air Kicking ......................................................................................................................................................... 21
Single Kick ......................................................................................................................................................... 21
Air, Target, or Partner Kicking ............................................................................................................................. 21
Continuous Kicking ............................................................................................................................................. 21
Combination Kicking ........................................................................................................................................... 21
Air, Target or partner kicking............................................................................................................................... 21
Kicking Combinations ..................................................................................................................................... 22
Steps with Single Kicks........................................................................................................................................ 22
Multiple Kick Combinations .................................................................................................................................. 22
Practice Formats............................................................................................................................................. 23
Air Kicking ......................................................................................................................................................... 23
Target Kicking Drills............................................................................................................................................ 23
Basic Paddle Kicking ........................................................................................................................................ 23
Timing Paddle Kicking Drills.............................................................................................................................. 23
Speed Paddle Kicking Drills .............................................................................................................................. 24
Partner Drills...................................................................................................................................................... 25
Open Stance ................................................................................................................................................... 25
Closed Stance ................................................................................................................................................. 25
Off the Line (OTL):.......................................................................................................................................... 25
Step Attacks ................................................................................................................................................... 25
Attack – Counter Attack ................................................................................................................................... 25
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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Conditioning Drills .......................................................................................................................................... 26


3 Man Drills ....................................................................................................................................................... 26
Running Front Kick Drills ..................................................................................................................................... 26
Free Paddle Kicking ............................................................................................................................................ 26

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Warm Ups

The following list of warm ups and exercises should be integrated into a more in depth warm up routine.
These exercises are used because they repeat the same body mechanics as Olympic Sparring techniques. The
“technique” of these warm ups are important as they will translate directly into sparring Stance, Posture and
Kicking Technique. A proper warm up routine is always recommended before beginning a complete work out.

Running in place: 10 – 20 reps at a time, (for warm up purposes) emphasis should be on:
a. Back remaining straight, chin up
b. Knees coming up at least waist height, toes of foot pointed down
c. Minimal space between legs
d. Upper body movement kept to a minimum
Notes: the process of picking your knee up is repeated often in these warm ups as it is essential to proper
kicking technique. It is important it be done correctly otherwise bad habits repeated in the warm up will carry
over to the kicking technique.

Modified Mountain Climbers – athlete assumes sprinter position, however the front leg foot is not touching
the ground – then rapidly switches leg positions by driving the back knee forward. This is a similar
exercise to running in place in that the desired result is more strength and speed in driving the knee up
above the waist. This particular drill works the explosive movement by pushing directly off the ball of the
foot.

1 2

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Knee Raise: As mentioned in the above exercises, most basic kicks rely on the initial execution of raising
the knee in a chambered position prior to extension of the kick. This motion should be stressed with heavy
repetition to beginners with emphasis on the following points:

Performing Knee Raise from relaxed fighting stance:


a. The upper body should remain steady and centered. The arms should not be raised to gain
momentum and “help” the leg drive the knee forward. This technique is also a strength
building exercise for the leg, a benefit that will be lost with excessive upper body movement.
b. The rear leg will drive upwards in a single motion.
c. At the apex of the Knee Raise, the foot of the kicking leg should be pointed (toes downward).
d. The standing leg should be straight, at the apex of the knee raise there should be very little
weight on the standing leg.
e. The Standing leg should be nearly straight, and the foot of the standing leg should pivot 30° -
60° during the execution of the knee raise – while the pivot takes place on the ball of the foot,
the heel should rise only slightly off the floor.
f. Returning the kicking leg to the floor should be done while maintaining balance and landing in
an appropriate stance.

Fast Knees: This exercise simulates kicking motion by driving the knees up in alternating fashion. There
can be a tendency to turn this into a “running in place” exercise, but it is not. It is more appropriate to
think of this drill as “skipping in place.”

a. Start in parallel stance


b. Perform a knee raise returning the foot to its original starting point
c. Immediately repeat a knee raise with the other leg
d. Repeat for 20 reps, or 15 – 20 seconds.

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Skipping Step: Skipping step is a very common step done in sparring. When executing a fast kick, skip cut
or skip ax kick, this step is used. We do this as a warm up exercise in the following way:

a. Athlete assumes crouched horse riding stance position


b. Begins moving to the left by moving the right foot to left, then left foot out
c. Touches the floor next to his left foot with left hand
d. Repeat processes to right, left foot to right, right foot out, right hand touches floor
e. Repeat rapidly for 10 – 20 seconds.

1. 2. 3.

4. 5.

½ Squat Pops: Athlete assumes a stable parallel stance, bending knees just prior to 90° , then explodes by
jumping upwards reaching up with both arms, upon landing the legs are bent to same position and the
jump is immediately repeated. 5 – 10 reps at a time.

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Knee Tucks: Jumping and skipping exercises help develop strength and explosiveness that your athletes can carry
over to their steps and kicks. Knee Tucks are a good example. Typically done between 5 – 8 reps, 2 – 3 sets.

a. b. c.

Lunge Pops: These are recommended for athletes with high level of strength and agility.
a. The athlete begins with feet in a stance slighter longer then a walking step, but the same width.
b. Bending the knees and jumping with both legs, the back leg is driven forward bringing the knee up
towards the chest, while the back leg is kicked backwards.
c. The athlete lands with his feet in the opposite stance and immediately repeats.

This drill, like the ½ Squat pops are best done for 10 – 15 seconds, followed by 40 – 50 second rest
(or alternative exercise) before repeating. 2 – 3 sets recommended.

a. b. c.

Skipping: (School Yard or “classic” skipping) Several different types of skipping work well as exercises for
Taekwondo. Skipping is an explosive movement, and when done correctly requires the athletes knee to
come up. Skipping can be done for height for distance and even for speed.

Things to remember when teaching warm ups and jumping/skipping exercises


¾ Technique is important
¾ Good posture
¾ Stay within the limits of the athlete
¾ Give alternative exercises if needed
¾ Jumping and skipping exercises require a rest period before doing them again

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Stretch Kicks are an extremely important exercise as they help increase the specific flexibility needed for
Taekwondo. After an initial warm up (joint rotations, light jogging or stepping), stretch kicks (full range of
motion or dynamic stretching) should be done to prepare for practice, while static stretches should be used
for cool down. For more information on dynamic stretching and flexibility in general I recommend Thomas
Kurtzs book “Stretching Scientifically”.

1. From a comfortable relaxed fighting stance there are 5 different stretch kicks that should be
practiced. Front Stretch, Inside to Out, Out to in, side, and back turn.
2. Posture is vital in executing the stretch kicks as this will work directly in to the posture of your
kicking technique. Keep in mind the following key points:
¾ Keep the back straight, Chin up during the entire exercise
¾ Only raise the leg as high as you can while maintaining this posture
¾ Point the kicking foot toes
¾ The standing foot should pivot in the direction of the kick, be sure the standing foot heel
does not rise off the floor so much that the stance becomes unstable; the standing leg
should remain mostly straight.
¾ As the athlete warms up, they should gradually increase the range of motion the stretch
kick is being performed.

Front Stretch Kick

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Stances

These are the 2 basic stances that an athlete can use to develop their sparring stances. Each person
will be slightly different; however there are some common concepts to consider.

Offensive Stance
a. Offensive Stance is done with the feet, hips and shoulders facing 45°
b. Approximately 1 ½ shoulder widths long
c. The front and back foot should line up, with the back foot slightly outside the front
d. Weight distribution is 50/50 with a “forward attitude”
e. Pressure should be on the balls of the feet, rear foot heel should be slight off the ground
f. Arms should be bent at the elbows, but relaxed, they will move as you kick, not be restricted to
guarding position.

Defensive Stance
a. Defensive Stance is done with the feet, hips and shoulders between 60° and 90°
b. Approximately 1 and ½ shoulder width between front and back foot
c. Weight distribution is still 50/50
d. Pressure should be on the balls of the feet

Offensive Fighting stance

Defensive Fighting Stance

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Steps
One aspect that distinguishes Olympic style sparring is the footwork. Different coaches split the steps out
in various ways; here is how I teach them. Remember, there are a relatively small number of steps, but
thousands of variations and combinations.

Step Description
Full Step Moves the stance either a full step forward or backward. There is a
tendency for students to step wide when they do this, be sure the
leg is traveling the same path as walking.
Skipping Step Moves the athlete forward or backward maintaining stance
orientation. Moving forward begins with moving the rear foot to the
front, then the front out, and backward moving the front foot back
and the back foot out.
Slipping Step Slipping also moves the athlete forward or back with out changing
stances. It is shorter, but faster then skipping.
Running Step Running step is done by taking 2 full steps forward; however it can
be adjusted for distance and increased speed by drawing the front
foot back before moving forward, essentially partly switching your
feet as you begin.

It is very difficult to document steps (on paper), because the movement of them is important. Here
are the key points to proper steps.

¾ Maintain a good posture at all times, keep your body centered. There should be very little “up
and down” motion of your body.
¾ As your legs move, maintain a narrow stance, in the way you walk, wide or long steps are
slow and will leave you off balance and vulnerable.
¾ Stay light on your feet. Your feet should not “stomp” the ground at any time.
¾ “A body in motion tends to stay in motion”. Steps will put you in the right place at the right
time, but they will work much better if you do not start from a complete stand still.
Full Step Forward

a. b.
Skipping Step

a. b. c.
From fighting stance The back foot moves to the front The front foot moves forward

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I
Backward Slip Step

a. b. c.
From fighting stance The rear foot reaches backward, at the same The slip back motion can cover various Distances;
Time, pushing off with the front foot. typically it is ½ to 1 sparring stance.

Other Steps
Check Motion: Sometimes the best step is no step at all. Check Motion or “feinting” is any aggression motion used to
illicit a response from your opponent with out over committing yourself. It is a good way to get a preview of how your
opponent may react to an attack, or to attempt to put them off balance.

Switching: this is switching your stance orientation from right foot forward to left foot forward and vice versa. It is
typically done in place and is used to bait or encourage an opponent to attack a certain way. A practical application
would be a player “switching” their stance to give them a better position for scoring.

Pada Step: In Korean, “Pada Chagi” means “counter kick”. The common term “pada chagi” mostly refers to a single
motion counter round house kick. It is executed by the front foot sliding back taking the place of the back foot, while the
back leg executes the kick. Level II will cover Pada Chagi in greater detail.

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Kicks

Like steps, there are only a handful of kicks that are used consistently in Olympic sparring. However,
combining the kicks, with steps, leads to infinite variations. This document will only deal with 4 kicking
techniques; however they are the foundation, and the catapult for very advanced and dynamic kicking.

Attacks Counter Attacks


Round House Kick Slide Back or Counter Round House
Fast Kick (skip in round house) Draw Back Counter Round house
Cut Kick Back Kick
Front Kick
Is not used in competition, but includes fundamentals that should be stressed so they carry over to other
techniques.

Round House kick

This is the most common kick in Olympic sparring. There are many variations of round house kick that are
useful for different situations. Below, I will be describing a typical rear leg advancing round house kick.

1. From a fighting stance, imagine a straight line from the front foot out, this is where the target will
be, we will call this the “center front”. The initial motion begins, driving the knee forward. It is
important that the knee travels close to the standing leg. When doing round house kick, students
have a tendency to swing the leg wide and away from the body.

2. As the knee moves up, the standing leg will pivot on the ball of the foot, and the top hip (kicking
side hip) will turn in the direction of the kick.

3. The upper body will remain straight (aligned) in relationship to the “center front” of their fighting
stance. The top arm should remain on top of the body, (not inside near the chest, or held rigid in
guarding position).

4. As the kicking knee travels past the mid section of the body (center front) the top arm will naturally
move the opposite way. This results in the body “twisting” from the hips and down, turning in the
direction of the kick and from the waist up holding a straight line with the target by counter
turning. (see “counter turn” photo on next page)

5. Extend the leg from the knee, pointing the foot to use the instep as the striking surface.

6. At full extension, the hip and shoulder should be in line with the target, while the kicking foot and
knee should have past through it. (see “counter turn” photo on next page)

7. Recoil the knee and foot of the kicking leg back to center and set the foot down one stance
forward, on balance.

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Round House kick (front view)

a. b. c.
(a)We see from a different angle – the path the round knee strike takes (b) on its way to round
house kick (c) is virtually identically to that of front knee strike. At full extension, the knee and
foot of the kicking leg are past center front position.

Round House kick (side view)

a. b. c.

.d. e.

The Actual Round house kick begins the same way as the Round Knee raise – but (c) continues to extend the leg
followed by the (d) recoil and (e) landing one stance forward.

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

The pivot of the standing foot is extremely important. At full extension it will be somewhere between 45 and 90 degrees
turned toward the target. The angle of the pivot can allow the practitioner to control the distance to the target and
emphasize either speed or power in the kick. Because of this explosive motion the standing foot heel rarely touches the
floor or carries any body weight during the kick.

Counter Turn: The top arm moves in the The chambered position has the knee higher
opposite the direction of the kick for added then the ankle, the body is properly aligned
reaction force – this movement contributes with the top arm in the correct position. (See
to the upper body “counter Turn” motion. picture above)

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Fast Kick or Skip-in Round House

Fast kick has a very good “risk to success” ratio. This means that with a good fast kick, your chances
of scoring, and not being countered on is greater then with other techniques.

Steps for Executing Fast Kick:

a. From fighting stance, begin with your front foot aligned with the target
b. Begin the skipping motion by bringing the back leg towards the front
c. As the rear leg comes down to become the standing leg, the front leg knee should come up and the
kick should be executed.
Note: At full extension of the kick the hip, shoulder and head should be aligned with the target, while
the knee and foot should traveled through the target
d. Recover in a good fighting stance, with 50/50 weight distribution and body centered.

a. b.

c. d.

Things to remember while practicing and teaching Fast kick:

¾ Fast Kick can be executed well from either offensive or defensive stance.
¾ Fast kick BEGINS with the rear leg moving towards the front leg.
¾ The upper body should remain sideways through out the entire execution of the kick.

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Cut Kick
Cut kick is used more as a step then a kick. The idea with cut kick is to move (typically) forward on an
opponent with the front leg up and across the body. If the opponent does not move back, the attacker can
“cut kick” them by extending the leg at a slight downward angle, typically targeting the hip. If the opponent
moves back, this often creates an opportunity for the attacker to follow up.

a. b.
c.

a. From Fighting stance, begin skipping step


b. Bring the front leg up, across the body, knee
higher then the ankle, body centered.
c. Carry skipping momentum forward
maintaining this body posture and recover in
fighting stance ready to follow up.

Front View: Shows the angle the knee should be


across the body.

Front View
Slide Back Round House Kick
Begins in fighting stance (1) when a target is presented, the athlete performs a backward slip step (2),
followed by round house kick (3) and recovery (4). This is a very common scoring technique and should be
practiced often. The key to this technique is distance, and timing. We discuss different types of drills later
and will touch more in depth on slide back round house. Note this is not “Counter Round House Kick” or “Pada Chagi” as it
is often referred too. Pada chagi requires a more advanced step that will be covered in the level 2 training.

1. 2. 3. 4.
Things to remember when teaching slide back round house kick:
¾ Begin in a good stance, don’t start out leaning forward
¾ Do not slide back so far, that you need to move forward to hit the target
¾ Finish in a good fighting stance, do not walk away after kicking the target

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Draw back (front leg) counter round house kick

Draw back round house kick is performed as follows:


a. From Fighting stance
b. pull, or draw the front leg back far enough so that the front shoulder and hip move back.
c. With the leg that has been drawn back, execute round house kick
d. Recover in fighting stance.

a. b.

c. d.

Things to Remember while teaching draw back:


¾ Keep the body centered – do not lean back.
¾ Remember to pull the foot back far enough to move the front shoulder and hip back
¾ In most cases there will be a follow up technique, so recover with the intention of moving or
kicking.
¾ This technique is often used to the face, so practice high section as well.

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Back Kick
The biggest misconception with Back Kick is that it is a spinning or circular technique, it is not, it is linear.

a. From fighting stance,


b. Pivot both feet to your back, Push with the rear leg driving the knee up – keep shoulders curled.
c. Extend the kicking leg, as the upper body stays in place
d. Recover from the kick in fighting stance

a.
b.

d.
c.

Jump Back Kick is typically done when counter attacking; the major concepts are the same. It is especially important to
not let the body move forward while executive the technique, but rather rotate in place or move back (away from the
target) slightly while performing the technique.

a. b. c.

Things to Remember while teaching Back Kick:


¾ Back kick is not a circular kick, start and end along the same plain.
¾ The knee should come up tight to the standing leg, not wide away from the body.
¾ The upper body follows the leg, be sure the leg stays in front of the body.
¾ At execution the standing leg should be straight.

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Kicking Practice Styles

Now that we have covered the basic Stances, Steps and Kicks of Olympic Style Sparring, we will review various
practice styles for them. Repetition of the fundamentals is the key to success. However, repeating the same technique in
the same format leads to boredom and inefficient practice. Therefore you will see the same concepts repeated, but in
different practice formats.

Kicking Pace Practice Format Description and reasoning


½ or Stepping Pace Air Kicking Typically done at the end of the warm up.
Athletes can work their way down the floor, or
face each other. The reasoning for ½ pace
kicking is that it works well as additional warm
up time, and it lets the instructor and athletes
focus on Stance, Posture and body mechanics
rather then speed and power, this is an
especially useful exercise when learning steps.
Single Kick Air, Target, or Partner Kicking Repetition and focus on single technique at a
time

Continuous Kicking Air, Target or Partner Kicking This practice style is for developing speed. Not
only kicking speed, but the speed that is
needed to move from one technique to
another. Continuous Kicking requires moving
from one technique to another without a reset.
In other words, as the athlete completes 1
kick, the kicking foot comes down to begin the
next.
Combination Kicking Air, Target or partner kicking This combines the previous 2 practice styles.
Take a kick combination; treat it as a single
technique. The combination should never lose
its momentum, but after the combination is
complete, the athlete should reset.

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Kicking Combinations
It is rare that a technique is scored in Olympic sparring with out there being a previous kick or step. We will
now identify common Step → Kick combinations and Kick → Kick combinations. It’s important to remember
that combination does not imply a single direction, sometimes a combination kick (or Step) can be multi
directional.

The concept of combining steps with kicks is quite straight forward. Set the distance with the step first, and
then execute the kick. Here are some examples or steps combined with single kicks.

Steps with Single Kicks

Skip Step (Forward or Backward) → Back Leg Round House Kick


Slip Step (Forward or Backward) → Back Leg Round House Kick
Running Round House Kick
Full Step Forward → Back kick
Slip Step (forward or backward) → Back Kick

Multiple Kick Combinations


If the athlete has a good steps and kicking technique, then the kick combinations should fall in place.

Kick Combination Foot Work


Round House Kick → Round House Kick Left, Right
Round House Kick → Slip Back Step → Round House Kick Left, Slip, Right
Fast Kick → Round House Kick Left, Right
Fast Kick → Slip Back Step → Round House Kick Left, Slip, Right
Draw Back Round House Kick → Round House Kick Left, Right
Draw Back Round House Kick → Slip Back Step → Round House Kick Left, Slip, Right
Skip Cut Kick → Back Leg Round House Kick Left, Right
Skip Cut Kick → Slide Back Round House Kick Left, Right
Round House Kick → Back Kick Left, Right
Round House Kick → Jump Back Kick (backward motion) Left, Right

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Practice Formats

Air Kicking
Air kicking is most often used with ½ pace kicking. The primary focus is on Stance, Posture and technique
rather then speed and power. In addition, free kicking is often done in the air which helps the athlete work on
their step/kick combinations. It is an excellent visualization exercise. If an athlete can visualize an exchange
and execute it with out a target or partner, then they truly have an understanding of it.

Target Kicking Drills

Basic Paddle Kicking

Basic paddle kicking consists of single, or combination kicks with a static holder and a predefined target
area. This kind of paddle drill is usually done with a line of 3 – 5 people rotating paddle holding
responsibilities, or a pair of students handing the paddles back and forth. The Target is predetermined and the
paddle is “waiting”.

Basic paddle kicking is imperative for beginning ranks, as this builds the basics needed to move on to
more complex timing and speed drills. The focus when doing Basic Paddle Kicking for all ranks should be
proper technique.

1. Start in a good stance


2. Only go as fast as you can do the technique properly
3. The technique is not complete until the kicking foot is back on the ground.

Timing Paddle Kicking Drills

Timing drills force the kicker to wait for the holder to put the paddle in place and then react to the
target. Among other things, this drill forces the kicker to work on proper stance; if their stance is incorrect,
(i.e. they are “waiting” for the target in a poor stance) then the reaction time will increase.

An alternative way to practice timing drills is to wait for a command to kick, (kiap or whistle). The
kicker assumes sparring stance (bouncing motion), the paddle holder keeps the target in place, but the kicker
does not “react” until the command is given.

When doing Timing drills:


1. The holder needs to maintain sparring pace, a predictable rhythm when holding will significantly
decrease the effectiveness of this drill.
2. Timing drills can be done for both offensive (attacking) and defensive (counter attacking) drills

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Speed Paddle Kicking Drills

The obvious benefit of Speed drills is to be able to kick faster. While speed is the goal, the emphasis
should be in kicking sequentially. Proper technique, including body position and mechanics are essential for
this. For example, if a technique is executed with out proper body position it will be impossible to immediately
repeat the technique quickly. So really, the emphasis should be on technique with continuous repetition, as
well as speed.

Tips for Speed Drills


1. Be Sure the technique is being done correctly first, then fast
2. There should be minimal or no reset between each repetition
3. Speed drills can be done in place, or moving forward and backwards.

Here is a matrix with approximate time percentages for the different styles of target drills. It is a very rough
estimate and does not take into consideration an athlete preparing for a tournament. When preparing for an
event, the time you have to prepare should be cut into thirds. The first 3rd focusing on technique and building
strength, the middle third more speed then timing, the last third almost exclusively timing.

Paddle Kick Style


Basic Timing Speed
Beginner 70% 20% 10%

Intermediate 50% 25% 25%

Advanced 20% 40% 40%

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Partner Drills

Partner drills involve 2 athletes facing each other at sparring pace, and practicing exchanges. The exchanges are typically
pre-arranged, and taught as an Attack followed by a counter attack, however they become more complex then this. It’s
important to remember that partner drills are for both the attacker and defenders benefits.

Partner drills can be performed with Chest pads on, with the intention of making contact, or with little to no gear and
done at a 1/2 pace to focus more on the steps, distance and timing of the drill. Often the latter is beneficial because the
concern of getting hit or needing to make contact is not there. All the partner drills listed below can be done either way.

Open Stance means both athletes have the same foot forward
Closed Stance means one athlete has the right foot forward, while the other has the left.
Off the Line (OTL): Attacking with no previous step of motion.

Step Attacks – Step and kick combinations, no counter attack. Beginner Difficulty Level
Beginning Stance Attacker Defender
Closed (OTL) Fast Kick Slip Back
Closed (OTL) Running Round House Kick Skip backwards
Open (OTL) Back Leg Round House Kick Slip Back
Open Skip step forward, Back Leg Round House Kick Skip step back
Open Check/Slip forward, back leg Round House Kick Step or slip back

Attack – Counter Attack – Single Attacks, Single Counter Attacks -Intermediate Difficulty Level
Beginning Stance Attack Counter Attack
Closed Back Leg Round House Kick Slide Back Round House Kick
Closed Fast Kick Draw Back Round House Kick
Open Skip Cut Slide Back Round House Kick
Open Back Leg Round House Kick Back Kick
Closed Fast Kick Back Kick

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc
Teaching Olympic Sparring
Level I

Conditioning Drills

3 Man Drills

This drill is performed with 3 people in each group, lined up in a straight line. The person on each end of the line will
hold 1 paddle. The person in the middle will execute a technique to the left, immediately turning around and doing the
technique to the right. This is typically done for 30 – 60 seconds depending on the level of athlete you are working with.
A common set of 3 Drills is:
a. Draw Back
b. Fast Kick
c. Running Round House Kick

Running Front Kick Drills

A holder uses a kick shield held with the kicking surface down towards the ground, approximately thigh height of the
kicker. The kicker then begins running in place, but with each knee up, executes a short kick on the bottom of the kick
shield. This drill can be executed anywhere from 10 – 40 seconds, and is typically done in sets of 3. As an additional
challenge the holder can move the bag (slowly) forward and backwards to force the kicker to adjust their motion on the
move.

Free Paddle Kicking

Free paddle kicking is done with 2 athletes facing each other. One is holding 2 paddles. The drill usually goes for 1 – 2
minutes for 1 – 10 rounds. Free paddle kicking is simply “free form” or sparring pace paddle kicking. The holder puts out
various targets for the kicker, who reacts to them. It is very important that the holder move as if they are sparring.
Faking with only the paddle movement does not help the kicker, true sparring steps and motion should be done by the
holder to simulate an actual match.

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© 2006 The Blue Wave Taekwondo School llc