Lesson 4: kicks
The front kick
In the previous lesson we saw the direct punch (read Lesson 5.3), then we move on to learn the first legs technique, the front kick:
- Common to many martial arts (Kung Fu, Taekwondo, Karate, etc.), this technique is the basis of combat
- While it is relatively easy to learn, for a beginner it is very difficult to apply it effectively inside the dynamics of a real combat (read The use of legs in a real fight)
- As for the punch, we start from this attack because it is one of the most important and because through its study it is possible to learn a good part of the mechanics of the other leg striking techniques
In this context we will see the theoretical rudiments of an effective kick, you will have to train them focusing on all the most (apparently) insignificant detail and perfect their application from today until the day when they will become instinctive just like breathing.
How to throw a kick: what you need to know
Before starting to see how to kick properly, it is essential to underline that:
- This kick is not for self-defense – As for the direct punch, in a real context this type of kick is not the best choice for those without experience, speed, precision and balance (a bad kick exposes us to easy and dangerous imbalances as well as to grasping)
- High kicks, not for all – For a beginner, throwing a kick above the height of the genitals (eg. the classic KO kick to the jaw) is not a problem of flexibility but of danger towards the opponents’ reaction (read The characteristics of a good kick)
- Toes conditioning – Do not hit with your toes; as some Shaolin monks do (not all) in the 6 Dragons Kung Fu it is possible to strike (under the right circumstances) using the toes / foot’s knuckles but this happens only after years and years of gradual conditioning, for beginners and intermediate practitioners it simply means to break their fingers (read Fortify our toes: the first exercise)
- Soft targets – For now, if we do not wear solid shoes, this kick should be trained against soft targets (eg. cushions) and “against the air” (shadow boxing) without power (to avoid damage to untrained joints)
- Study purpose – The important thing in this phase is to understand the dynamics through slow and wide movements, in this moment speed and power must be avoided
- Preparation – Before starting to throw kicks, you must do a correct stretching and warm-up (read Basic warm-up and Basic soft stretching)
- Avoid violence – Always remember that using violence is the worst humiliation of your intelligence (read The 6DKF’s diagram about the use of violence)
How to kick
How to execute the front kick technique:
- If you are not conditioned or do not intend to strike with toes, do not maintain them rigid, if for some reason they impinge a hard surface (a knee, a corner of a wall, etc.) they must absorb the impact flexibly
- The kicking technique is described in the article How to kick (simple explanation) in its simple version, (in future we will see the extended explanation)
- Remember the guard stance described in Lesson 5.2
Final notes / tips about how to throw a kick (read How to prepare legs to kick effectively):
- How to kick faster – The fastest kick (as for every other kind of striking techniques) is the one that travels the shortest route from point A to point B of arrival
- There are a lot of different methods – What we have seen in this lesson is just one of the many ways in which it is possible to kick
- Do not use kicks – As long as your dynamic (read The concept of dynamic equilibrium inspired by the Tai Chi) and static balance (read Improving balance) have not reached a good level do not use kicks above the genitals and / or knees (read Kick without losing balance: another trick)
- Why train fingers and toes – The explanation of why you need to train your fingers and toes (not just to hit like a Shaolin monk)
- 4 exercises to strengthen our toes – Some simple and useful exercises to make your toes stronger (not for resistance conditioning)
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
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