How to Side Kick – Tips for Power and Balance

Hey, it’s Ando again from Today, I want to talk about something
that really drives me nuts. I’m talking about bad side kicks. It’s
like a plague. You see these everywhere. Models, actors, so-called certified
fitness instructors. All these good-looking people with their hips
sticking out, their knee crooked, toes pointing up, and sometimes even their thumbs up and a tongue hanging out. Look, if that sounds like you, I’m
sorry. But the good news is, I think I can help you. Today, I’ve got three tips to
make your sidekick stronger, balanced, and ultimately, better for your
body. Let’s take a look. Okay. If you want to learn how to throw a
powerful sidekick, I don’t want you to listen to your
teacher. I don’t even want you to listen to me. I only want you to listen to your body. Ask your body these two simple questions– Question number one: Hey, body, do you
like it better when I swing my leg forwards and backward, or do you like it
when I swing side to side? I’ll bet one of those feels better than
the other. Question number two: Hey, body, do you like it better when I
stomp on my heels or when I stomp on the sides of my feet? In fact, don’t even try that one. If your body is anything like mine and
you’re not built like a jellyfish, I’ll bet your body just told you
something about throwing sidekicks. It probably just told you that your body is
built to deliver and receive pressure and force along the joints, not across
the joints. That’s the way you’ve been walking, and
running, jumping, and climbing your entire life. Which brings us to an interesting
discovery– the sidekick is not actually thrown to the side of your body. If you put pressure across your ankle,
across your knee, or even across your hips, You’re just asking for pain and problems.
Now, yeah, you can get away with not turning your body if you’re just hacking
away at low targets like ankles and shins and maybe alligators, but as a general
rule, I want you to remember this– the higher you kick, the more you have to
pivot. I’ll say that again– the higher you kick, the more you have to
pivot. Okay. Listening to our bodies, here come
three tips to throw a more powerful side kick. Tip number one: Make sure you turn your
support foot. Make sure that force is running along your foot, not across it. On offense, it’s not so easy to throw a powerful kick if you’re driving in off the side of your knee or the side of your foot. On defense, if you get jammed up because your timing is off, or they catch your foot and throw this back at you, all that pressure coming in is going to cause you to roll your ankle or tear your knee. So, if you’re going to throw a side kick, make sure you turn that support foot. That’s going to give you the power to
really cause some damage. And if things go wrong, it’s going to give you the ability to absorb it and hopefully walk away and reset. Tip number two: Kick with your heel, not the blade of your foot. I know. There’s lots of people out there
who will tell you go ahead and kick with the blade of your foot. I’m just not one of them. If you’re kicking with the blade of your foot and it’s working for you, keep it up. But for me, when I stick the
blade of my foot onto a target, all I feel is pressure on my ankle and my
knee. I don’t want any part of that. What I prefer is to make sure my heel is digging straight into that target like throwing a spear. I can feel the alignment of my bone and
my muscle right behind that. It feels no different than stomping on the ground.
And that’s good for me and bad for the other guy. Tip number three may be the only one you
need, because if you do this one right, both of your feet will take care of
themselves. Here’s the tip– Get your butt in line. This is what I
mean. You’ve got three parts to this kick– your heel, your butt, and your torso. Try
to line those up as best as you can for a really good side kick. Here’s the wrong way to do it. Foot is up, you’re looking cool, but your butt is not
in alignment at all. Your butt is sticking out. Why is that a problem? Well, on offense,
you’re not using the biggest muscles that you’ve got to deliver power.
On defense, if this gets crushed and pushed back into
you, all that power is going to get stuck right here and pinch your
ribs and your hip. That’s uncomfortable and will probably
knock you off balance. So, here’s what I think– aim your butt to
kick their butt. Meaning–I aim my butt then I can kick their butt. That’s probably
why I like it. Because it feels like there’s trash talk built
right into the technique. I don’t even have to open my mouth.
I just turn, kick, enjoy. So, now you know the secret to a
powerful side kick is making that full pivot. Now there are three ways that you
can time that pivot. The first way would be to make the pivot first and then send out the kick second. The second way would be just to
pivot halfway and then while you’re finishing the kick, crank over the supporting foot. The third way is more for speed, where you’re just going to send that foot up as fast as you can in a straight line and right at the moment of impact, crank over your support foot.
Now, they’re all fine. There’s a time and a place for
everything. Just make sure that at the moment of impact, your body has turned
fully and this leg feels just as strong as when you were swinging it or when you
were stomping the heel. If you don’t do that, I promise you– one, your kick is not going
to be very strong, two, you’re probably going to get knocked off balance a lot more than you should, three, you look ridiculous, especially if
your tongue is hanging out of your mouth, and four, there’s a good chance you’re
going to end up with injuries in your ankles, your knees, and your hips. So, listen to your body and let it tell
you how to throw a sidekick. Okay, that’s it. If you like that tip, guess
what? I’ve got more coming. Don’t forget to hit subscribe and you
won’t miss the next one. Even better, jump over to and get on my email list. That way, you won’t miss one podcast,
article, or video I put up. Until next time, keep kicking and keep fighting for a happy life.

100 Replies to “How to Side Kick – Tips for Power and Balance

  1. Man you have highly fashionable shoes. Good tutorial though! As I progress in martial arts, I understand and take in more and more information from your videos.

  2. Nice, you call a back kick a side kick and say "different styles call kicks by different names" . The next time out you can call your side kick a roundhouse kick and use the same excuse : different-styles-call-kicks-by different-names" (maybe someone will even be stupid enough to believe you)

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  4. Thanks Ando for Sharing Such A Wonderful Information With Us.
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  5. Very helpful and Insightful…shows up also how for decades this kickhas been taught incorrectly…it would be interesting to have a doctor provide extra anatomical support for these convincing points..le.g along and not across wher you mute the effect

  6. Exactly! I have been preaching that for over 20 years. I even use the term "moon your opponent!" One tip I use (if I might add) is to imagine a string tied to your big toe. As you kick, pull that string to lead with your heel (remember it is an imaginary string.) This also helps with floppy foot position. Cheers!

  7. Hey Ando,
    I really loved your video!
    I am training Taekwondo and am trying to get my Yop Chagi (Sidekick) higher for Poomsae. Do you have any tips on how to kick higher? My aim is to kick straight up, right now I'm about a 45° angle higher than being parallel to the ground.

  8. Another tip: keep the knee higher than the foot when chambering. The foot should be hip level and the knee about about 6', or a tad more, higher than that. That way you can kick high or low while not putting unwanted damaging torque on the knee.

  9. Strongest to kick twisting hips into it as you kick … this keeps 100% of the momentum moving toward the target …. if you turn over hips 1st you have to pull your foot in the wrong direction… which kills your power

  10. , hi I like to know what I'm 62 years old and having problem throwing Sidekicks and what should I do to make myself better

  11. I know im a 12 year old girl…but i just like fighting and your channel is very VERY useful! Like i never knew a side kick. Thanks for everything!

  12. I was glad to see this video. I've been kicking my sidekick more like back kick the way you demonstrated when striking things. With the heel driving out. It's different in Kata when a true Sidekick is called for and needs to be shown. But it certainly works better when applied using the combination side / back kick OSU!

  13. Since you do not practice/promote Karate you can do whatever staff suits you. In traditional Karate what you show is 85% back kick. The side kick is a completely different affair, and there are reasons to differentiate one from the other and reasons where to apply one rather than the other

  14. I kick with the ball of my foot by pointing my foot forward and retracting the toes back. It's very powerful.

  15. always have a high and in-close to body knee chamber. 1 technique 2 speed = power. Those toes must be directed down to ground. heel must be higher than toes. Never totally lock out knee joint… don't over extend. And very importantly… the entire kick must be done and over with very quickly. In other words: your foot should be returned even faster than it arrives to the target… your foot must already be back in chamber position…. This is what it means to be 'fast' … again technique x speed = power effect. Also, practice to keep your body most erect… that is: do not allow yourself to lean back… away from your target. always keep your upper body inclined to the target. Eyes on target. even when applying other kicks.. ie.. roundhouse… do not lean away… rather lean inwards. Keep elbows always inward protecting torso vitals… hands upward to neck-facial zone. … and NEVER HOLD YOUR BREATH !! Always allow yourself FLUID BREATHING… otherwise your stamina fails quickly. Now do this a million times. >>>> old school 101.

  16. Not bad. But timing is what’s critical here. Allowing your knee to travel back instead of towards target specifically. Also getting that knee on a horizontal flight path to target as quickly as possible. Making the knee more vertical and pointing down as you do ,or other adjustments can be practiced after the first method is mastered. The vertical knee will have less power, can be stopped with a foot check. The plus is that it can slide in under an arm to the ribs. Good tips overall.?

  17. That is the best sidekick explanation I have ever heard and I have been doing it for years and I've been telling people that basically it's almost as if you're doing a back kick

  18. I agree with SOME of what you say. but the way you've got your butt sticking out and twisted around seems problematic to me.

  19. Thank you for posting this. I just started kickboxing and my body hasn't been able to grasp side kicks. I'm definitely going to try this.

  20. Please keep making vids I really appreciate your vid and i learn soo much thing about self defense ♥️godbless

  21. Thanks for you kind reply. I wish I payed attention when you showed that you do not have to do the splits. doing the splits I bruised my hamstring. I looked this up and people have torn there muscle or even worse the tendon. They say it always starts from the but muscle. Is this why you said Van Dam tenses his Glutes as he shops, LOL! It is funny. I injury myself, I laugh because I hear you say, "that is my body telling me that I am doing it wrong. " Great lesson that pain is, don't you think? I will not say about aiming the side kick, It sounds like trash talk LOL! The back of your leg, Is connected to the thiegh bone and these are the names of the bones. The Gluteus, is connectted to the Hamstrings from your thigh to your knee — the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. I know I sound corny. HA, Ha Ha! To lead a balanced makes a happy life!

  22. Me before watching: pfft some white guy can't know about martial arts

    Me after watching: СУКА БЛАНТ HE'S GOOD

    also, 500,000th view

  23. I have been pressured for years to teach my students edge of the foot rather than heal, as I was originally taught. Thank you for confirming my teaching method and arming me with a practical explanation for the technique. Subscribed

  24. Even with a bladed foot you should strike with the heel. The blade is to keep the rest of your foot away from the target and line up the muscles in your lower leg. You want to blade and pull up the toes for proper form. This vid is a decent demo for a low chamber side kick. For those that are interested there are 2 other chambers you can use with side kicks, such as the mid line chamber Cung Le uses or the high chamber Bill Wallace was famous for.

  25. targetting alligators LOL :-D, that line alone deserves a like and a sub…also very useful video, going to try it out, thank you.

  26. I do a jumping sidekick and I crank my foot at the end driving in with my heel it does a lot of damage

  27. Can you include a video in how to use the side kick ? I only use it as a defensive move not as a offensive move.

  28. You are so helpful. Thank You Ando. Im grateful. Its very difficult to explain something clearly. You are talented teacher.

  29. Not recommended unless your fighting someone with no skills at all. That pivot will costs you dearly in a highly competitive combat situation. Just saying.

  30. Every time I teach my students this kick they laugh when I tell them “aim with your butt.” Good video, I was taught to hit with the heel not the blade of the foot.

  31. I make a living taking x-rays, and one of the most common fractures I see is the 5th metatarsal. The very bone you would use in a side kick if you don't use your heel to make contact.

  32. Excellent tips, thank you. I knew all these things but I don´t think I fully understood WHY we do it this way until you broke it down.

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