How to Side Kick: Tips for Sparring and Fighting

Hey, how’s it going? Ando again from
Look, you know how to throw a side kick, right? Well, today, let’s talk about how to use
it. Back in the day, I saw everyone in Tae Kwon Do and Karate using their side kick defensively.
They would basically build a wall, defend the wall. Here’s what I mean. They’d step
back into a horse stance, they would even drop their hands, lean back, cock the hip
so they were already pivoted, ready to go, and then they would just wait. And if anything
came across that perimeter, BAM. They’d stick that side kick right into your hip,
or your chest, or your face. Not too exciting, but fairly effective. So, in the beginning,
yeah, I used that strategy all the time. Build a wall, defend the wall. And it worked great
as long as I was sparring kids and kittens. But once I started fighting the big boys and
girls, I ran into three problems. Problem number one, when I was hiding behind my wall
all the time, I became way too reactionary. I was sitting there waiting and waiting when
I should have been leading and controlling the pace of that fight. Plus, against better
fighters, I’d get tricked into throwing my side kick at all the wrong times. I’m waiting,
they fake, I throw the kick, they counter, I lose. Problem number two, against a bigger
opponent, I would just get knocked backwards all the time. It doesn’t matter if they were
a white belt or a grandmaster. This is just simple physics. It has nothing to do with
whether my side kick was awesome or not. And it was! If you’re standing on train tracks
and the train is coming, you’re going to get run over. Problem number three. Guess what?
Not everybody wants to stand there and trade kicks with you. Not everybody wants to spar.
Especially nowadays, with the popularity of MMA, there are more people out there than
ever who just want to jump on your back and choke you out. And when you stand sideways
in a horse stance, you are opening the door for them to do just that. You might as well
just hang a welcome mat back there. So, does this mean that the side kick is no longer
a powerful and effective weapon? Of course not. It’s a fantastic weapon. You just have
to be smart about how you use it. And today, I’ve got two simple rules to follow to help
you land that side kick with power. Okay, rule number one. If you want to use
the side kick defensively, then don’t try to stop the train, try to derail it instead.
That means you have to step off the tracks. As the train is coming in, I can step out
with my back foot and side kick, or I can step out with my front foot and side kick.
Either way, that’s going to help prevent you getting run over. Stepping off the tracks,
though, also gives you three big advantages. Here’s the first one. When you step out, just
like a Muay Thai round kick, you’re already half way into your pivot. My foot is getting
a head start, which means I don’t have to crank my hips quite so far, quite so fast,
or quite so hard, and that’s going to be very, very helpful if you ever get caught on the
street and you’re not warmed up or, well, anytime when you’re old. The second advantage. When you step off the
tracks, yes, defensively, you’re meeting his force from the side. Now after the kick,
offensively, I’m landing in a position where I have the superior angle. That means I can
pretty safely go right into my follow-ups. The third advantage is against that guy who
wants to grab you. Rather than standing here and giving him easy access to my back, by
stepping out, I start taking my back away. That means if he really wants to come grab
you, he has to shift his weight, change directions, and then come forward. That’s going to buy
you a little more time and take a little steam out of his engine. So, rule number one for
side kicks, don’t try to stop the train, try to derail it. Rule number two. Move him back, then attack.
No more talk about walls. Let’s talk about pure offense. Going to get him. If you want
to land a side kick– or any kick, really—and you’re just standing there, and he’s just
standing there, and you launch into this big move, well, that’s really easy for him to
see you coming. He’s going to catch it, counter it, block it, or jam it. What you want to
do is throw a combination to get you moving first. Give him something to think about.
Make him flinch and, ideally, shift his weight backwards so he’s on his heels. That will
make your kick much harder to deal with on his end. So, maybe you throw punch, punch,
side kick. Maybe you throw punch, punch, round kick, side kick. It doesn’t matter. The point
is get yourself in motion. That will make the kick easier for you to throw because you
have momentum, and harder for him to process because you’re throwing more than one thing
at a time. Oh, and if you’re smart–and you are–then make sure you’re attacking off the
tracks. Maybe instead of just going straight down the middle and walking into his wall,
you do punch, step out, punch, side kick. Or maybe it’s punch, step out, round kick,
side kick. It’s always a good idea to get off the tracks and attack on an angle. Second advantage. When you get the other guy
moving backwards, it’s impossible for him to knock you backwards. This time, physics
is on your side. I’m running into him, he’s not running into me. I’m the train, he’s
an unlucky cow taking a nap on the tracks. Choo choo, moo moo, boo hoo. I win. The third
advantage is if you’re up against someone who wants to grab on to you, well, even if
I turn my back, as long as I get him back on his heels, he can’t shoot right away. He
has to shift his weight forward.That gives me just enough time to either back away or
change my angle and get out of there. So, rule number two, move him back, then attack. Here’s one more idea that really changed
the way I think about side kicks– don’t think of a side kick as you turning to your
side to throw a kick… think of a side kick as moving to their side to throw a kick. Huh?
Right? Wow! Okay, well, while you’re thinking about that, don’t forget the two big rules.
Rule number one, don’t try to stop the train, try to derail it instead. Rule number two,
move him back, then attack. If you follow those two rules, I promise, your side kick
will become legendary. If you don’t follow those rules, well, instead of stopping the
bad guy in his tracks, you might wind up dead on his tracks. If you liked these tips, hey,
hit subscribe, and to hear even more of what I’ve got to say, find the link and sign up
for my free email updates list. Until next time, keep kicking, my friend, and keep fighting
for a happy life.

96 Replies to “How to Side Kick: Tips for Sparring and Fighting

  1. Good tips. Moving around during any form of punch or kick is always a good idea, hitting someone that refuses to stand still is pretty hard after all! By the way, are you planning to make a video about spinning back heel kicks? I'd love to hear your advice on those!

  2. Hey Sensei (checked your website).
    Nice video again, I'm catching up with all your others hehe.
    Dunno if it's the right place to ask :

    Is it possible to have a video made about the difference between fighting/sparring and street self defense (more like self protection, as we do have to attack not only defend)?
    For me, I've always said that fighting/sparring engages a lot of techniques and tactics (either you know your opponent, and you act accordingly, or you just know his style, for example a TKD fighter, I'd bombard him with low kicks to disable his legs etc…) whereas in self protection, it's more about mind set/intention (I see someone aggressive, I raise my hands, if he attacks I turn into "Him, Down, Now" mode and after blocking, dodging his first attack I overwhelm him with attacks then locks.
    I'd like your input on that.
    Also how to make the connection between what you learn in sparring, and what you can use in street self protection.

    Thank you and keep up the good work!

  3. "choo choo"
    "moo moo"
    <boo hoo>
    -Sensei Ando
    (you could probably defeat your opponent with a joke, and just as the ancient masters say, finish the fight without fighting).

  4. Love your videos! I'm guilty of being the sleeping cow on the tracks most of the time, lol! Going to try this strategy next time we spar!

  5. Excellent! And yeah, we have a few older upper belts that like to sit back and build that wall. It's annoying. So depending on my mood I'll jump on them and either choke them out or arm bar. It always makes me feel a little disrespectful but hell… On the other hand I'll always give the lower belts my back. Then blast them with a rear kick. 🙂

  6. Seems like a good set up for oblique kicks also. If you mix it up with side kicks and oblique ones it seems like you would keep your opponent confused and on the defensive.

  7. am i the only one who dont know why lots of peps doing parkour or free running are into martial art even i do it (well couse my parents put me in karate school)

  8. Hey sensei ando i got a question. Do you ever recommend training twice a day. I got a boxing match coming up in may 28 im just real nervous and just want to be ready. What do you suggest? p.s. im just an amateur

  9. the punches and especially your kicks are weak as f*** you made a video saying you don't need to stretch you better stretch buddy you can't even get your f**** leg above your head from a real fighter just to let you know

  10. so you and other people that are listening to you don't get the false illusions that fighting is so the way you make it seem soft

  11. Even after your "How to Side Kick" video, I still can't find a superhero willing to mentor me! What gives?

  12. I'm a girl 1m60-55kg. I can use side kick against every opponent without being pushed back. If you are pushed back, that's because your side kick is wrong. And you kick in the wrong target…

    I saw your videos where your punching and kicking the bag and the bob dummy! that was really entertaining. what I saw is that you have sloppy punches, and kicks. you loose your balance in every punch and kick, I can't believe you missed som punches to the bag! lol. you have your Gaurd down. long story short. you have no technique. if you are teaching yourself that's good, but don't be hating. you can actually learn from sensei Ando. this videos are for more advance fighter. I recomend you watch how to kick and punch videos for beginners. trust me I would see alot of challengers that would walk in my gym and pick a fight in a dojo. THAT'S A BIG MISTAKE. DON'T DO THAT. it doesn't end well. their is a time and place for everything. keep practicing!

  14. Why did your belt change between the two side kick videos? It's hard for me to tell, but it looks like Japanese characters as well. I thought you were a Kung Fu person?

  15. To each his own and more power to anyone who likes this video. However, compare it to this
    Shihan Daigo Oishi was born in 1950. At pushing 66 years old, everything looks better. Not hating, but judge for yourselves.

  16. hi sensei, please can you perform some excersize for begginers for flexibility for those side kicks and high kicks…my legs are really tough they dont go up so easily….and after a long practise i am able to real about my height throughing the kick without bending my knees….can you please make a video , on how to make better high kicks…? Thank You Sensei 🙂

  17. Hi Sensei,

    Thanks for the videos. Your videos are well thought out, constructive and most of all, I'm inspired by your attitude and positivity. Thanks for sharing!

  18. thank you Josh for your comments, it means alot to me . I just want to show what excersices helped me when I used to practice tae kwon do. I'm a little rusty because I stopped training for many years. and yes their will always be rude people around.

  19. thankyou for your videos. I feel like I'm struggling in taekwondo class, but I'm a high yellow belt, so everything is still very new

  20. Sensei And, please post multiple kicks attacks. Also, an arm or hand block from a punch with your best leg strike. Thank you. As always keep the traditional martial arts alive.?

  21. Hello Sensei, I want to really congratulate you about the channel and also tell you than I am a true martial arts fan and praticioner , and I would love to help the channel grow and get worldwide more than is right now. I can offer to translate the videos to spanish my main language as best I can and also make the video demostrations with my training partners and mma fighters from Bolivia. I also can promote around all the social media until we reach another level in raiting so I will be waiting here your answer while I practice all the lesson in your videos. So I'll be ready and prepare. My instagram is (yordan96) you can contact me there any time of the day.
    Un Saludo from Bolivia
    -Yordan Salgueiro

  22. Great videos! keep them coming. You seems knowledgeable, practical and like a gentleman. Keep the positive attitude! Will continue promoting your material.

  23. Very well laid out; short and sweet, and the recapping helped me retain your information easier!
    I am building my page to appeal to tai chi/martial arts practitioners. If you have any suggestions please share your wisdom/criticism!

  24. I love taekwondo. .. but my family didn't approve of it… Here in India. . plp didn't understand the importance of self defense for girls. .. you are my inspiration now. .. wanna be badass. .. .I wanna break stereotype mindset. .. teach us more kicks. … .. Thank you. . god bless you. ..

  25. thanks for the tips I am in karate now and I really need this tips for tournaments
    ??? thank you sir great teacher

  26. What's the difference between a side kick where you point your backside to the adversary and kick with your HEEL, and a BACK KICK?

  27. pt 1
    & 2 on the side kick is pretty good ..
    I did read sum of the comments on here,ha.
    seem some r jes contrary or splitting hairs or whatever..
    That foot pivot is key,key KEY,and i never saw it as a teenager explained…

    But I knew something was amis,and pivoted my foot any way..
    We big westerners and all have different body structures and habits etc,,,
    That is key,finding what you can do and train your self to do,,,
    Forget the rest….
    But your in line with Wallace ,and several of the modern Japanese and Korean instructors..

    Real good vids

  28. I have been struggling with my sidekicks which is embarrassing since I can do more advanced kicks. This video and your instructional video literally fixed my problems in 5 mins. Now I just have to practice

  29. recently found your videos I've been kickboxing for 6 months now and your advice has really helped me polish up my moves. do you have any advice on jumping kicks still working on these! Thankyou.

  30. "Choo choo, moo moo, boo hoo, I win." Well said, sir, well said. I'm going to add that step to my side kick exercise, for sure. Mind blown, indeed.

  31. Although he is talking in cheerful voice, it truly contains the wisdom of master.
    I tried to solve those problems for years… but you just solved it instantly!
    Thanks for the video!

  32. I've always been interested in Karate ever since I could remember. This year my school actually will offer Karate so I don't have to take Physical Education, which I'm definitely excited about! I remember being taught Side Kicks when I was little to defend myself, so I just want to practice it more.

  33. Thank you for your advice on kicking, my father was in the U.S. Army back in during the Gulf War but an illness has rendered his legs relatively crippled so he can't demonstrate his old martial arts technique when it comes to leg work. And he admits he is not good at teaching by word of mouth either. So again thanks for helping people like me add better kicks to our good punches. 🙂

  34. Your side kick obviously can't have been that awesome. If you do them properly, timed correctly and especially if you use the pendulum step or slight forward burst you can literally knock someone back who is twice your weight even if they are moving towards you. I'm not sure which style you do but I am sure if you unlearn your side kick habits (like I did) and hang up a big heavy bag on a chain, push that bag away from you so it goes very high and then slam a side kick into it to stop it, you soon work out naturally what you need to do to increase your power. If I am in a position in relation to that bag where I can really dig my heel in to it when it swings back and stop it with my heel without it pushing me back. (I'm talking at least a 40-50 kg bag here) then I KNOW that I have got the right stance on my supporting leg and the right ammount of forward 'pressing' energy at the point of contact. It is by stopping a strong force coming at you, that gives you the feel you need to move something bigger and heavier than you. If you do a launching in forward bursting side thrust kick at the bag and it hits a ceiling that is a little higher than the beam it is attached to then you KNOW the side kick is powerful. If it only moves up a bit or half way then you know you need to work on how to generate more power in your motion (for me that was discovering how to suddenly shift forward with all my body weight and put that sudden shift behind the heel of my foot, my straightening kicking and supporting legs and getting it all synchronised to maximum effect so the vectors of force come out of the ground at the right angle and I am also at the correct distance for the right ammount of penetration). I worked on my side kicks over several years in this way and had to severely modify my classical TKD to increase their speed and power until it got scary, the more refinements I made to my technique using how far and quickly the bag moved as a guage the more easily those 1 in three super side kicks came, then, after a while every side kick sent the bag flying up into the ceiling of the back porch it was tied to. Sure if you just stand there and only use the power of your leg almost leaning backwards defensively of course you will bounce back (the vectors are going slightly down and back rather than up, forwards and out). If I hadn't read Bruce Lee's books and developed this the way I did I would probably stand in front of a bag with a ridiculous TKD or Karate looking classical fighting stance, cross one leg behind the other and do a side kick that has only one tenth of the power my side kick has now. If I had a black belt I would have burnt it. You can always improve.

  35. The wall strategy seems to work well for wonderboy, but he uses it offensively and defensively, nice video!

  36. Prueba una patada hacia atraz o patada hacia atraz acendente. Try back kick or a back hook kick. Si no funciona usa JuJitsu brasilero

  37. I have a question for Sensei Ando. About mid way through the video you kick a punching bag, where can I get a punching bag like that? Mine isn't the best punching bag… I've been looking for a better one and the one in this video looks perfect.

  38. started doing stretch exercises before punching n kicking. im learning everything from youtube and practice on my bag. my shin n thighs hurts alot practicing kicks. and my knuckles goes green all day even though i use wrap. its been just one month i started. i ain't quitting, but learning more. im not so healthy, i alws fall sick. now self workout in early morning at dawn before office and 1hrs self training in evening after office. im away from my tablets since 1last month :). i just want to learn proper kicks and punches.

  39. Great advice! I've recently been adding traditional martial arts into my mma game and it's been helping me significantly. Most mma fighter don't see these styles very often so they really have problems dealing with them!

  40. Depends. I had much success with the sidekick against bigger opponents. I liked to think of them impaling themselves on my heel. In fact, if you practice timing it against an opponent who is jabbing or rushing in it can work. Think of this; the more committed to the attack your opponent is , the faster he moves in to meet your heel. A head on collision, if you will. The more you can wait til the last split second to throw it, the more extended he will be on his punch. That means his ribs become very vulnerable w out the ability to contract his torso muscles to take the hit. A drill we used to practice was standing face on to opponent, then he moves and you kick. Not already facing your hip towards him in other words. Advanced version was with hands behind your back as if handcuffed.

  41. To sensei-san,

    Can you please make a toturial on how to do a follow-up attack after a side/ front kick? I've spar with a street brawler and his side kick is NOT a feint , it hits very hard when I receive it and pushes the force to my back by letting it hit me and turning side ways a bit to let the force goes away, he turns his leg around and with his back to me I thought that was a good time to attack, he spun his fist to my face and knocked me down ( not knock out ) . I know it's easy that requires experience but I can't do it ni matter how much I tried. And I've many other ways he did it , for example : landing a high kick that snaps his leg and when he puts his leg down behind his horse stance and use his left leg to do a side kick causing serious damage to his opponent. ( Note that it is not illegal, it's just that I've been practicing my own combat arts and he is quite the expert so I required a sparring teammate. )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *