Learn how to kick
In 6 Dragons Kung Fu, there is a wide variety of kicks (with different types of impact, loading, breathing, rotation, etc.), in this article, we will show, in the most simple and direct way, one of the most educational kicks (useful to understand all the others): the front kick.
So let’s see how to deliver our first front leg attack (in a style similar to that of Maegiri Karate kick, but also Muay Thai kicks have a lot of principles in common, Taekwondo, Jiu-Jitsu, Shaolin Kung Fu, etc.).
How to perform the front kick
- Let’s imagine being in a normal fighting stance (guard up, read )
- We have a backward leg and an advanced one, let’s imagine trying to kick with the front leg
- Let’s relax the leg that will have to kick (especially from the knee down)
- Let’s avoid vibrations to do not lose the necessary power and precision
- Let’s focus on the idea to concentrate our weight near the toe of the supporting foot (read Kick without losing balance: another trick)
- During the whole movement, it is good practice not to lower the guard (this guarantees a fundamental safety in case of failure of the technique)
- Let’s lift the knee of the front leg towards our chest and let’s inhale (read The 6DKF’s combat breathing)
- The back leg bends slightly, during a fight never maintain the legs or any other limb stretched (impacts are absorbed very badly)
- The foot of the front leg disengaging from the ground assumes a perpendicular position (in relation to the floor)
- Let’s do not stretch our leg forward and let’s try to go as high as possible with our knee
- Our weight must be forward but our head does not have to move forward or back too (it must maintain a stable center of gravity)
- The back leg is well anchored to the ground for a more balanced and secure stroke
- When reaching the maximum height with the knee, the vertical rotation of the lower part of the attacking leg begins (it rises)
- While the foot ascends leading to the target (by a curvilinear path) we have to exhale
To increase the power:
- During the rising of the knee, to increase power and speed we can press the foot (and especially the toes) on the ground
- To further increase the power of the kick we can also counterbalance the uprising of the foot moving down our torso vertically (as for the levers principle)
- In situations of extreme safety (eg. when the opponent is totally unable to react) it is possible to lower the guard and strengthen the attack by adding the force of the push towards the back of the arms (from the guard position to over the hips)
- In any case, the guard must alter its shape so as not to hinder the action being taken
- Except for certain faints, the entire movement must be done with the intention of using in the entire path the maximum speed / acceleration
A note by Master Kongling – Some people teach this technique with the kicking feet parallel to the ground (instead of perpendicular) during the loading sequence: it is not completely wrong, it can (initially) increase the speed (reducing the friction of the air) but it decreases the power reducing the muscle chain implementation (in the subsequent part); we can adopt this alternative version if we want to attack at a short distance, at a low or middle height and if we want to hit with the ball of the foot.
The impact and the return
- There are no and there should not exist side vibrations in this type of kick (for balance and non-dispersion of kinetic energy), the force only moves vertically from bottom to top
- The typical target of this stroke is the central line of the opposing body (genitals, stomach mouth, chin, etc.)
- The whole movement must be like a whiplash, whose energy reaches its peak on the impact part (no flow interruption)
- Sometimes the tip of the fingers and foot knuckles are accessible (not mandatory) impact parts for those who have a high-level conditioning (as for Shaolin monks, read Conditioning check for the impact)
- For everyone else, the choice of the attacking part is reduced to what goes from the ankle to the back of the foot (top) or below the base of the fingers (if we want to hit with the bottom of the foot, the ball of the foot)
- If (after a long conditioning) we can strike with toes, at the last instant, we stiffen and turn them up; with the knuckles, we have to close the fingers as a fist (both these practices are extremely dangerous and should be avoided also by advanced practitioners)
- Especially with kicks, we have to focus on the idea of hitting over the target, tu implement the muscle chain (read Use the body power: the muscle chain) and to release our momentum inside the opponent (read The metal sphere: how to release the force of a punch or a kick); only in this way we will have the opportunity to release the maximum power and / or reach our target (even if he step back a little)
- Never stay in extension for longer than necessary (legs are longer and therefore slower than arms, the opponent can easily grab us, etc.)
- The return movement must simply be equivalent to the attack one but in the opposite direction (it is like its rewind)
- Depending on the dynamic needs of the fight, we can choose to continue the action at will (landing with the leg back, forward, adding another kick, changing stance, etc.)
A few considerations:
- If after the elongation of the kicking leg we can stay still we ran the technique correctly but if we lose the balance (eg. backside) we have distributed the weight badly and we cannot use the kicks in combat (read The use of legs in a real fight and Use of legs in a street fight)
- This type of kick may have a little backward loading but it does not need it (the charge telegraphs to the opponent our intentions, intermediate level practitioners must start to use loading movements as faints)
- If we intend to use power to exercise this kick (eg. sequences of 25-100) we must opt for a soft target and not for empty blows (in the long period we risk to damage our joints)
- This is a basic but foundamental practical kick, we’ll see many more (some faster, some more unpredictable, some more powerful, etc.)
Later we will publish some important improvements on how and what to hit as well as the complete description of the details of an effective kick (for the most advanced practitioners).
- The characteristics of a good kick – A checklist to learn to throw perfect kicks
- How to prepare legs to kick effectively – The type of exercises to perform to condition legs for kicks
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- In your opinion, what is the most important part of a kick motion?
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.