Talk Taekwondo Episode 118:15

Talk Taekwondo Episode 1

An outstanding introduction to taekwondo vocabulary

In English, a single taekwondo technique might go by more than one name. For example, a skip roundhouse kick might also be called a leading-leg roundhouse kick. The same is true in Korean: a single technique might be known by more than one name. For this reason, different taekwondo websites (including this one) might use several different names for the same technique.

The naming problem is further exacerbated by the fact that the same Korean word can be romanized into the English alphabet in several ways. For example, the Korean "g" sound is harder than the English g sound, so that it sounds almost like a soft "k." Sometimes this is romanized as "kg" to indicate that the sound is something between an k and a g. Still other authors will romanize the sound as either a k or a g.

As if that weren't complicated enough, different styles of taekwondo may use the same phrase to refer to completely different techniques. For example in Kukkiwon/WTF-style taekwondo, the term Walking Stance usually refers to an upright stance where one foot is only slightly forward of the other (as if walking); in ITF/Chang Hon-style however, the term Walking Stance refers to a lower, long stance where one foot is much more forward. 

The following wiki articles list most of the common taekwondo words and phrases alphabetically:

See also Category:Korean Language for a list of Korean terms used on this wiki.

Simple WordsEdit

While the above articles list many taekwondo words and phrases, many of these phrases are built-up by combining simple terms. This is not an exhaustive list, and spellings may vary.  

Rather than listing these terms alphabetically, the following terms are grouped into logical sets of related meanings. One can build the names of many taekwondo techniques simply by combinine these simple terms. For example, in English a Double Knifehand Block is also known as an Assisted Knifehand Block...combining these terms in Korean yields Kodureo Sonnal Makgi


  • Seogi - 서기 also romanized Sohgi, or Sogi. Means stance.
  • Jase - means posture, but some people will use it for stance.
  • Kubi - also spelled Gubi, or Keubi. Means limber, or bent. For example in Kukkiwon/WTF taekwondo, Ap Kubi Seogi literally means "Front Bent Stance" but is commonly called a Front Stance or Long Stance. 
  • Chagi - 차기 Means kick.
  • Chigi - 치기 Means strike (i.e., with an open hand)
  • Jireugi - 지르기 also romanized Jirugi. Means punch
    • The similar-sounding word Jjireugi 찌르기 means thrust. The intial "j" sound is softer, almost like a cross between a "j" and a "ch". For this reason it is sometimes romanized as Chireugi.
  • Makgi - 막기 also romanized Maggi, Makki. Means block. This should be pronounced as "mahk-gee" other words, pronounce both the K and the G sound.
  • Gyorugi - 겨루기 also romanized Gyeorugi or Kyorugi. Means sparring, especially in the context of WTF/Kukkiwon-style taekwondo.
  • Kyeokpa - 격파 also romanized Kyukpa. Means breaking.

TKD Vocabulary

Directions & ModifiersEdit

  • Ap - 앞 also romanized Ahp. Means front (as in front side). Examples: Ap Chagi literally translates as Front Kick. Ap Seogi literally translates as Front Stance (though note that in Kukkiwon/WTF taekwondo this term refers to a Walking Stance). The ball of the foot is the ap chuk (front joint).
  • Dwi - 뒤 also romanized Dwit. Means back (as in back side). Examples: Dwi Chagi literally translates as Back Kick. Dwi Kubi Seogi (called a Back Stance in Kukkiwon/WTF taekwondo) literally translates as Back Bent Stance.
  • Olyeo and Olgul (올려)- both terms can refer to the high section of the body (shoulders and above). The second term is similar to the word for face, eogul. Example: Olgul Makgi and Olyeo Makgi both refer to a High Block.
  • Momtong - 몸통 the middle section of the body; this is also the word for torso. Example: Momtong Makgi is a Middle Block.
  • Arae - 아래 the low section of the body (below the waist). Example: Arae Makgi is a Low Block.
    • But notice Low Block can also be  Naeryo Makgi (see below), except this time it's being called a Downward Block -- even in Korean the same technique can go by multiple names!
  • Balbucheo (발붙여) - means "facing foot", as in the foot that's facing your opponent. A skip kick using the front leg is often called a Balbucheo Chagi. In the case of a Roundhouse Kick, the term Balbucheo Dollyeo Chagi refers to a skip roundhouse.
  • Barun - (빠른발) also romanized Bbaleun or Balun. Means fast. A skip kick using the front leg is sometimes called a Barun Bal (빠른발). 
  • Bandae - also romanized Bandaw. Means reverse.
  • Yeop - 옆 also romanized Yop, or Yup. Means side. Example: Yup Chagi literally translates as Side Kick.
  • Wen - Means left. Example, Wen Seogi literally means Left Stance.
  • Oreun - also romanized Orun. Means right.
  • An - 안 means inner. Example: An-Sonmok Bakkat Makgi translates as inner-wrist outside-block.
    • Note that An-Palmok also means the inner wrist; they have two different words for wrist in Korean (sonmok and palmok -- the former term means "hand joint" and the later term means "forearm joint" but they both essentially refer to the same thing...the wrist).
  • Anuro - also romanized Aneuro. Means inward.
  • Bakkat - 바깥 also romanized Bakat. Means outer. Example: Bakkat Momtong Makgi translates as outer middle block, i.e., an Outside Block.
  • Bakuro - also romanized Bakeuro. Means outward.
  • Nae-ryuh - 내려 also romanized Naeryeo, Naeleo. Means downward. Example: Naeryo Chagi literally translates as Downward Kick, though it is often called an Ax Kick in English. As previously noted above, Naeryo Makgi would be a Downward Block, also known as a Low Block.
  • Olyeo - 올려 also romanized Ollyo. Means upward
  • Bitureo - 비틀어 means twisting. Example: Bitureo Magki is a Twist Block.
  • Kodureo - 거들어 means assisted. Example: Sonnal Kodureo Makgi translates as knifehand assisted block, though it is often called a Double Knifehand Block in English.
  • Yangson - 양손 two-handed. Example: a Double Knifehand Block in English is also called an Assisted Knifehand Block or Augmented Knifehand Block.  This kind of naming exists in Korean as well: a Sonnal Kodureo Makgi is also called a Yangsonnal Makgi
  • Doolyo - 돌려 also romanized Dollyeo. Means roundward, or turning. Example: Dollyeo Chagi literally translates as Turning Kick, though it is often called a Roundhouse Kick in English.
    • Note that this term is distinct from dolgae, which means spinning. So Doolyo Chagi translates as turning kick, but Dolgae Chagi translates as spinning kick (i.e., a tornado kick).
    • Note: some taekwondo schools will call a roundhouse kick Ap Doolyo Chagi, putting the word "front" (ap) at the start of the phrase. This is to emphasize that the kick begins by facing frontward and raising the knee first. In other words, "first you chamber to the front, THEN you turn to kick". We mention this becuase it's another good example of how a few simple terms combine to form the names of techniques.
  • Bandal - 반달 also romanized Bandul. Means arc or crescent. Example: Bandal Chagi literally translates as Arc Kick though it is commonly called a Crescent Kick in English.
  • Doolgae - also romanized Dolgae, Dolge. Means spinning or whirling. Example: Doolgae Chagi literally translates as Spinning Kick, though it is often called a 360 Roundhouse or Tornado Kick in English. Some schools also use the term Doolage Chagi to refer to a spinning Back Hook Kick.
    • Naraebang - (나래방) this term is also sometimes used to refer to a Tornado Kick.
    • Tun Chagi - (턴차기) this turn is also sometimes used to refer to a Tornado Kick.
  • Ttwieo and Twimyo: these are two terms that are both used for jump kicks
    • The term 뛰어 (ttwieo) alone means "run", this is the term usually used in Kukkiwon/WTF-style taekwondo when referring to jump kicks. Ttwieo chagi can be translated as "jumping and kicking".
    • The term 뛰며 (romanized tdwimyu or ttwimyeo) is favored by ITF-style taekwondo when referring to jump kicks. Ttimyo chago can be translated as "kicking as you jump".
    • To the extent that a distinction is made between these two terms, it's that twimyo connotes "jumping upward in place" while ttwieo connotes "running and then jumping horizontally" -- but really the two terms are used interchangeably.
  • Eedan - also spelled Yidan. Literally means second level (ee dan) but like Twimyo is used to mean jumping when referring to kicks. So eedan ap chagi is a Jump Front Kick.

Body PartsEdit

  • Baal - also spelled Bal, or Bahl. Means foot. Note that tae (as in taekwondo) does not mean "foot," it means "to strike with the foot."
  • Sohn - also spelled Son, or Sahn. Means hand. Note that kwon (as in taekwondo) does not mean "hand," it means "to strike with the hand." (Also, do not confuse kwon with the similar-sounding kwan.)
  • Jumeok - also spelled Chumok. Means fist.
  • Palkup - Means elbow.
  • Mureup - also spelled Murup. Means knee.
  • Dwi Chuk - refers to the heel ("back joint"), though often the shorter term chuk is used alone to refer to the heel, for example in the term hwe chuk ("arcing heel" -- what we would call a back hook kick).

Basic Terms 1 Basic Terms 2

Common Training VocabularyEdit

There are a number of simple words and commands that are also commonly used as part of everyday taekwondo training. Again, more complete lists are available at the links listed near the top (and bottom) of this page. Some of the commonly-used words however are:

  • Attention - Cha-ryeot 차렷
  • Ready - Joon-bee 준비
  • Begin - Shee-jak 시작
  • Stop/End - Keu-man 그만
  • Return to starting position - Bah-ro 바로
  • Bow - Kyung-Nyeh 례
  • National Flag - Kook-kee ("kook-kee" can be "flag" or "nation", so Kukkiwon = "national academy")
  • Yell - Kihap 기합 ("ki" = spiritual energy (like 'chi'), hap = gather and focus, so literally "focus your energy")
  • Form - Poomsae, Hyeong, or Teul (depending on the style of taekwondo)
  • Uniform - Do-Bok (literally: do = way, bok = clothing; "the clothing of the way")
  • Tae Kwon Do School - Do-Jang (literally: do = way, jang = place; "the place of the way")
  • Thank you (very formal) - Kahm Saham Nida
  • Titles - the use of titles can vary from school to school
    • Instructor - GyoSah-Nim 교사님 or GyoBum-Nim 교범님 
    • Master - SaBum-Nim (the suffix "nim" is an honorific meaning respected, so literally this is "teacher-respected") 사범님 
    • Grand Master - GwanJang-Nim ("gwan" or "kwan" means "school" -- so literally this is the head of a school) 관장님 
    • Some alternative terms also seen:
    • Master  - Say-Hun-Nim
    • Grand Master  - Sah-Sung-Nim

Numbers and CountingEdit

In English we commonly see two different ways to write numerals: sequential (1, 2, 3, 4...) and ordinal numerals (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th...). A similar situation exists with Korean numbers. The traditional Korean numbering system (hanah, dool, set, net...) is used for simple counting, while the Sino-Korean numbering system (il, ee, sam, sah...) is used for position or order of sets, for counting above 100, for decimal numbers, for dates and time, and when referring to money.

Traditional Sino-Korean
1 hanah  하나 il 
2 dool  ee (or yi) 
3 set  sam 
4 net  sah 
5 dasot  다섯 oh 
6 yasot  여섯 yook 
7 ilgop  일곱 chil 
8 yadol  여덟 pal 
9 ahop  아홉 koo 
10 yeol  ssip 

WT Sparring VocabularyEdit

In WT-style sparring, referees use a combination of hand-signals and Korean vocabulary to provide direction and indicate penalties. In addition to the conventional training vocabulary listed above, sparring vocabulary includes:

  • Chung (청) - Blue (competitor); Hong (홍) - Red (competitor)
  • Gahllyeo (gawl-yuh; 갈려) - Pause
  • Gyay-sok (gyay-soak; 계속) - Resume
  • Gam-jeum (gam-jum; 감점) - Penalty
  • Gueman (goo-mahn, the first vowel is like "brook"; 그만) - end
  • Sueng (soong, the vowel is like "brook"; 승)- winner (victory)
  • Kye-shi (kyay-shee; 계시) - injury time-out (60 seconds)
  • Shi-gan (shee-gawn, 시간) - time-out (indefinite)
Sparring Gestures
Sparring Penalties

See AlsoEdit


Some of the better webpages on the Internet for listing taekwondo terminology are:

...but of course there are many others on the Internet as well.

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