How to Do a Front Kick | Kickboxing Lessons
How to Use a Front Kick for Self Defense
As with all fighting tactics, it's important to remember that a front kick is much more difficult when untrained or when fighting someone who means you serious harm. Anyone can learn basic techniques to improve the power and balance of a kick, but you will need plenty of training to use it to full effect.
Learning the Front Kick Form
Know your limits.Unless you are trained, you should leave your Jackie Chan moves in the gym. The type of front kick most people imagine (flying at the attacker's torso) is more likely to bring disaster on yourself than your attacker. The average person does not have the kick speed to pull this off. Put in some time practicing and get a sense of your capabilities, asking a martial artist for advice if possible.
- Besides kick speed, your opponent's reaction speed is the main factor in the kick's success. If you can catch an attacker by surprise, you may be able to get a kick in before he can defend. This is still usually a bad idea without training.
Leave your hands up in front of you.One common mistake is to drop your hands before you kick. This makes the kick very predictable, and leaves your face and body undefended. Keep your fists in front of you with your elbows bent. This will also improve your balance.
Kick quickly and without tells.Crouching or shifting your stance makes it obvious you are about to kick. Adopt a balanced fighting stance, bent at the knees, so you can shift weight and kick in one quick motion.
- Try to misdirect your opponent by raising or drawing back your fist slightly.
Raise your knee horizontal to your body.The front kick popular in taekwondo and some other martial arts starts in this position. By folding your leg and raising it up to your hip, you are ready to snap outward for maximum power.
Lock your ankle and pull your toes back.This will keep your foot stiff to deliver maximum impact.
Snap your foot out.Extend your knee rapidly. Strike the target with the ball of your foot. Immediately retract your knee and lower your foot to the ground.
- The ball of the foot is a good default to remember, but there are specialized kicks that use different techniques. The tip of your foot may be especially effective if you are wearing heels or other shoes with a hard tip.
Kicking in Self Defense
Kick at long or mid range.Long range refers to the maximum distance of your kick, while mid range refers to the maximum distance of your punch. Your attacker should be between these two distances when you kick. Any closer, and your kick will not have much momentum.
- Measure these distances while standing still, not while lunging forward.
Strike below the hip.Perhaps the worst mistake you can make with a front kick is aiming too high. Attempting this untrained can make it easy for your attacker to knock you over, either grabbing your kicking leg or sweeping your supporting leg aside. You're almost always better off aiming below the attacker's hips, or even below the knees.
Hit the attacker's leg.A low kick to the side of an attacker's leg, especially at the knee, may knock her off balance. However, this is only effective in a specific set of circumstances:
- The attacker is off-balance, supported mostly on one leg. (This is usually the rear leg.)
- The supporting leg is close enough for you to kick without moving closer or losing your own balance.
- Your supporting leg is not exposed to the same tactic. (For instance, you are standing sideways to your attacker, with your back foot well back.)
Distract or stagger the attacker.Sometimes, a kick to the attacker's leg can be used to distract his attention as you strike at the upper body. It can also be used just as any strike, causing enough pain to disorient the attacker long enough for your to escape. Neither of these tactics are all that effective without training, and have the same balance problems described above. Kick if your arms are pinned, while striking with your head, knees, and elbows as well. When your hands are free, punching or gouging sensitive areas such as the face or groin is a better tactic.
Drive an attacker backward.If you are cornered, a kick to the gut may push the attacker back so you have room to get away. This is a desperate and risky move. That said, if you do not have much upper body strength, you may need to rely on kicks rather than shoving with your arms.
Train in advanced front kicks.The following targets are only effective if you can kick with power, balance, and precision. You must be far enough away to add power by snapping out your leg, which means you must be extra fast to avoid getting blocked or counterattacked. If you want to pull these off, you should have significant experienced with martial arts:
- In a side stance, kick with your front leg at the groin or the chin (if able to strike this high).
- Face the attacker and move your whole body weight forward, bringing your back leg to the solar plexus.
- Face the attacker with a wide stance, Bring your knee up to your chest and launch your heel at the target's chest. This is called a "teep."
- If very skilled, you may be able to kick the base of an attacker's hand to knock out a knife.
- Kicks are most powerful when you have some distance to retract your leg and snap it outward. That said, if you kick from too far away, your attacker has more time to react. Training is important to judge this properly.
- You do not need to wait for your assailant to attack. In most regions, it is legal to act in self-defense if you have reason to believe someone is about to assault you.
- Do not lean back while kicking. Keep your hips forward and back straight to maintain balance.
- Even if trained, do not try to disarm a gun by kicking. There is a high chance you will get shot.
Video: How to Front Kick with Speed and Power
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