Learn 7 Essential Taekwondo Kicks with Sang H. Kim


Hello everybody I am master Sang H. Kim
seventh dan black belt in Taekwondo. Front kick is the most fundamental kick. It
helps you develop good posture. It requires you to keep your standing leg
and head balanced so that the kicking leg can function freely. When your
kicking leg comes up to the target area your upper body naturally releases your
hands to come down to maintain the balance of the action and reaction force
that takes place between the lower body and upper body. First secure the front
foot firmly on the ground and shift the entire weight to the standing leg and
bring up your kicking knee first. Once the kicking knee reaches the target
angle release the foot toward the target and then withdraw the foot below your
knee close to your hip. Your upper body and hands should follow the natural
reaction to the kinetic force of your lower body without losing the
equilibrium of the entire technique. The chin should be fixed firmly and your
eyes must look at the target from the beginning to the end. The target holder should grip the target
firmly so as not to drop it and yet loose enough to absorb the shock from the kick.
The holding angle varies according to your style and habit. For heavy bag
front kick it’s better to use the ball of the foot. If you kick the bottom of
the hanging bag you may use the instep. One important thing is that you
can deliver the entire body weight through your kick to the heavy bag which
you might have difficulty in handheld target kicking. Roundhouse kick is a variation of the
front kick. You bring up the knee to the target area then pivot the
entire body before impact. To be successful you must rotate the standing
foot so that your hip can rotate to deliver the power. Retreating the foot
after kicking properly is as important as kicking itself. First secure the
front foot and knee. Bring up the kicking knee toward the target area. At the final
impact your hip must be fully rotated to deliver the entire force through your
foot. After the kick withdraw the foot close to hip and bring it back to the
original position. While you may drop it in front of you. Your upper arms travel
to the opposite direction of the kicking leg to compensate for the force of the
kicking. The angles of roundhouse kick vary according to how you kick. A short
kick usually goes fifteen to thirty degree angle, medium kick between thirty
to sixty degrees, long kick travels ninety degrees so accordingly your
partner should adjust the target angle. The height of the target also can vary,
middle high or low sections. For heavy bag kicking you can use either
the instep or a ball of the foot. The difference of kicking with the target
and heavy bag is that the target is for speed and accuracy training and heavy
bag is for power and balance. Side kick begins as a front kick, travels as a roundhouse kick and end up as a side kick. This analogy might help you
have a clear concept of the differences of those kicks and the progressive
relationship. As the name of the technique describes you must turn your
body to the side angle completely so your hip and head and feet should align on the same plane at the moment of impact. First secure the front leg and pivot the
standing foot as you bring the kicking leg forward. Once the kicking knee
turns 90 degrees, snap out the foot to the target area then withdraw the leg to
the original position in a reverse way or drop it in front of you. Your upper
body is a rotating to create a reaction force for the kick and securing the
entire body to be balanced. The heavy bag is an excellent tool to practice side
kick. You can deliver the entire force of your kick which is not possible to
small handheld target. The key point in heavy bag side kick is to execute the
technique to penetrate into the bag rather than hitting the surface. Good posture and good flexibility are a
must for raising kick. Before you kick imagine realistically how high you can
raise your foot then relax your muscles and do it. Initially begin with the low
raising in a slow speed then gradually bring the leg higher until you can kick
comfortably high. First secure your standing leg firmly then in a circular
motion bring your foot up in the air as high as you can. Remember not to put too
much power in your kicking leg because it will become heavier. Make it as a
light as possible. Your upper arms will automatically come
around kicking leg to maintain the equilibrium. Once the kicking is done
always bring your guarding arms up. Position the target as a high as you can
reach. The target angle varies but 15 to 45 degrees is common. The kicking part
is the bottom of the foot. Outside Crescent kick travels in a
circular motion from the centerline to the outer part of your body. It must be
done quickly in one motion. Good posture and good flexibility plus mental
relaxation are important for this technique. Begin with a low height, small
circle, in a slow motion then gradually increase the height, circular angle and
speed. First secure your front leg and bring your front arm down to the
direction where your kicking foot will follow. Rotate your upper body to coil
the force in the region of your waist then bring the knee and foot up in the
air and near your face then release the foot suddenly to the outside across your
face. Outside Crescent kick is primarily to develop the kicking range of motion rather than practical application however it can also be used to strike
the target by slightly turning the angle of the foot. This kick is a very similar
to whip kick. When you reach this level now you can attempt precision drills as
you can see on the TV. Before you practice this skill with your partner
practice enough on the handheld target, heavy bag drills or other targets.
Kicking target is the ear, the Jaw, the neck, the temple or behind the ear. Your
sense of a balance is critical for precision of movement. Inside Crescent kick travels in the
opposite direction of the outside Crescent kick, putting your foot right
above your head to the center line then step down inward. It should have be done
in one movement. Initially start with a low level in slow motion and gradually
increase the range of motion and speed. First stand straight with
the back muscles well aligned and secure the standing foot firmly on the
ground. Bring the kicking foot well above the face level and drop down at a
5 to 30 degree angle from the center line. The force will be at maximum when
your foot just passes the center line then it becomes nearly zero when the
foot hits the ground. Your arms may travel higher than any other kicks due
to the fact that the initial action force of the kicking is greater than
the other kicks. The position of the target for inside Crescent kick is at the face level in five to thirty degree angles depending on the level of your
precision or the angle of your kicking. The holder should hold the target away
from his or her face for safety. The kicker must adjust exact distance and
height of the target before kicking. Try to maximize the kicking force at the
moment of impact and reduce it to zero after the kick. Before you kick decide which target
to hit. When you kick bring your entire body slightly or completely toward the
opponent if you’re engaging in actual sparring. Ax kick is to chop straight down on the
target. This is one of the most deadly kicking techniques. Many competitors get
knocked out by this technique however it is relatively easy to practice if you
know how. First from fighting stance relax your shoulders bring your knee up
as you do the front kick then point your toe toward the opponent and snap the
bottom of the foot down at the face of the opponent. Raise your leg as high as
you can. When it reaches the maximum height drop the foot toward the target
and bounce your upper body slightly backward. Ideally the knee should touch the front side of the shoulder at the maximum height. To be successful with ax kick you need not only lower body flexibility but also upper body
flexibility. The target holder must grip the target firmly but lose enough to be flexible to absorb the kicking power. When you kick the target bend your knees
slightly before the impact and snap it straight down through the target rather
than at the target. The primary target for ax kick is the
face. It is a knockout technique hence dangerous and difficult. When you
get hit it shocks the brain causing dizziness or even concussion so use
extreme caution and care for application.

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