Taekwondo not only improves flexibility, stamina and strength but also helps boost your confidence and self-control. It’s no wonder there are over 20 million practitioners learning this South Korean Martial Art worldwide!
To get you one step further to becoming a master at Taekwondo kicks, here are some of the basics to get you onto your next belt. Don’t worry if you don’t get them 100% right first time!
The Roundhouse Kick is one of the most commonly used kicks in Martial Arts, so getting it right is crucial if you want to master Taekwondo. To get started, stand in a side stance with your feet shoulder width apart and your chosen kicking leg at the back.
Your feet should be parallel, with your front foot pointing to the side; this is also known as an L-stance. From this position, bring your back leg up and bend the knee; at the same time, pivot your front foot 180 degrees so that your heel on the floor is now facing the target. As you do this, your upper body will naturally turn and lean in the opposite direction.
From there, extend your leg through the hip and knee and snap it forward in a smooth motion towards your target. As you retreat from the kick, bring your leg back in to prevent the target from catching your leg, and return to the start position.
The Front Kick is a basic but impactful kick as it is often used in self-defence situations. Start the kick by standing in the L-stance (as in the Roundhouse Kick), where you stand with your feet parallel and shoulder width apart, with one foot facing slightly forward.
Bring your kicking leg forward, almost as if you were going to knee your opponent in the stomach. Make sure you keep your body upright with at least 75% of your weight transferred to your resting foot. Extend the kicking leg by straightening the knee in the direction of your target and aim to hit your opponent with the ball of your foot by flexing the toes back towards the body. If you don’t flex your feet as you kick, you run the risk of breaking or spraining them.
Last things last, finish by taking your kicking foot back down to the starting position and regaining your balance so you’re ready to go again.
The Axe Kick is a simple downward kick which can be fantastic when executed properly. You start the kick by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, then raise your leg by bringing your knee up into your chest, taking it as high as you can, and then pull your leg down as hard as you can against the opponent. This move usually targets the head, nose or neck–shoulder areas of the opponent.
If you want to cause more of an impact, use the heel of the foot. For a faster but less powerful hit, you can also use the ball of the foot.
The Back Kick is a popular and powerful counter kick which can be adapted to numerous situations. The kick is performed by kicking backwards and striking the target using the bottom of your foot, ideally the heel as it will make more of an impact.
Start this kick by twisting clockwise so both of your feet are firmly on the floor with your back foot slightly pointing backwards; this leg will carry most of the weight so make sure it’s bent slightly. Be sure to watch your target from over your front shoulder.
Lift the knee of your kicking leg and bring it into your chest, twist your head round and look at your target. Extend your kicking leg out and drive it forwards using your weight, making sure you hit with the heel first. As you do this, remember to extend both knees and pull back quickly to prevent your target grabbing your leg. Remember that the most powerful Back Kick will generally be when it’s performed slightly higher than your hip.
The Side Kick is similar to the Back Kick, only instead of kicking backwards you turn the body sideways and kick with your hips turned at a slight angle. The Side Kick is one of the most powerful kicks and should be mastered before moving on to other kicks of this type.
To perform a Side Kick, stand sideways to your opponent and bring your kicking knee up so your foot is in line with your knee. As you bring your leg up, your heel should be pointing at the target. Once in position, fully extend your knee towards the target and strike with the side of your foot; whilst doing this you can lean into your back foot to gain balance. You should be aiming to hit the body.
Remember to warm up before exercising and always stretch correctly as it will help to increase your flexibility, allowing for higher and more powerful kicks. It will also help to reduce the risk of injury.
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