why is taekwondo not in mma

why is taekwondo not in mma

Taekwondo is a traditional Korean martial art that focuses on high kicks and fast-paced movements. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), on the other hand, is a combat sport that allows fighters to use various martial arts techniques. Despite the popularity of MMA, taekwondo is not commonly seen in the sport. This article aims to explore the reasons why taekwondo is not frequently practiced in MMA.

Limited Range of Techniques

One of the main reasons why taekwondo is not in MMA is its limited range of techniques. Taekwondo primarily focuses on high kicks and lacks the versatility needed in MMA. In MMA, fighters need to be proficient in a wide range of techniques, including grappling, ground fighting, and striking. Taekwondo’s emphasis on kicks may not be as effective in close combat situations, making it less suitable for the diverse range of techniques required in MMA.

Furthermore, taekwondo heavily relies on scoring points through controlled strikes rather than delivering powerful knockout blows. In MMA, fighters aim to finish their opponents, which often requires more aggressive and forceful techniques. Taekwondo’s point-based system may not align with the objective of MMA, where the goal is to incapacitate or submit the opponent.

Less Emphasis on Ground Fighting

Another significant factor that contributes to taekwondo’s absence in MMA is its limited emphasis on ground fighting. In MMA, fighters need to be skilled in both stand-up and ground fighting. Taekwondo, however, primarily focuses on stand-up techniques and does not dedicate as much time to ground fighting or grappling. This lack of training in ground fighting puts taekwondo practitioners at a disadvantage in the MMA arena where ground fighting is essential.

Protective Gear Limitations

Protective gear used in taekwondo competitions can also be a hindrance to its inclusion in MMA. Taekwondo practitioners typically wear protective gear such as chest protectors, shin guards, and headgear to minimize the risk of injury during sparring and competition. In contrast, MMA fighters wear minimal protective gear, such as gloves and mouthguards, which allows for more direct strikes and grappling techniques. The use of extensive protective gear in taekwondo may not be compatible with the more intense and unrestricted nature of MMA.

Rule Differences

The rules and regulations of taekwondo and MMA differ significantly. Taekwondo competitions have strict rules regarding contact areas, prohibited techniques, and scoring criteria. MMA, on the other hand, allows for a wider range of techniques, including strikes, takedowns, and submissions. The rule differences between the two sports make it challenging for taekwondo practitioners to transition into MMA without significant adjustments to their training and fighting style.

Training Focus

The training focus in taekwondo is primarily on developing speed, flexibility, and precision in executing kicks and strikes. While these attributes are important in MMA, they are not the sole determining factors for success. MMA fighters require a well-rounded skill set that includes strength, endurance, and proficiency in multiple martial arts disciplines. Taekwondo’s training focus may not adequately prepare practitioners for the physical demands and technical requirements of MMA.

Competition Structure

The competition structure in taekwondo differs from that of MMA. Taekwondo competitions are typically point-based, where participants aim to score points through controlled strikes. In contrast, MMA matches are usually decided by knockout, submission, or judges’ decision. The difference in competition structure may discourage taekwondo practitioners from pursuing MMA, as their training and experience may not align with the format and objectives of MMA matches.

Adaptability Challenges

Transitioning from taekwondo to MMA can present significant adaptability challenges. Taekwondo practitioners may struggle to adjust their fighting style to incorporate grappling and ground fighting techniques. Additionally, the different pacing and intensity of MMA matches compared to taekwondo competitions can be difficult to adapt to. These challenges may discourage taekwondo practitioners from pursuing a career in MMA.

why is taekwondo not in mma


While taekwondo is a respected martial art, its limited range of techniques, less emphasis on ground fighting, protective gear limitations, rule differences, training focus, competition structure, and adaptability challenges contribute to its absence in MMA. While some taekwondo techniques can be effective in specific situations, the sport as a whole may not align with the requirements and objectives of MMA. However, it is important to recognize that martial arts are diverse, and each discipline has its own strengths and areas of focus.

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