Definitions

Kick

Kick

[kik]
In martial arts, combat sports or violence, a kick is a strike using the foot, leg, or knee (also known as a knee strike). This attack is often used in hand-to-hand combat, especially in stand-up fighting. Kicks play a great part in many martial arts, such as Taekwondo, Kung fu, Karate, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Capoeira, Silat, Sanshou and Savate. Some arts do not utilize kicks at all, such as judo and boxing. Other arts limit the use of kicks to attacks on the legs and lower body, while some sport martial arts tournaments only allow kicking above the waist. Various types of kick are described below, but the names used to describe a kick may vary between arts

Basic kicks

Side kick

In Japanese, yoko geri; in Korean, yup chagi (옆 차기).

The Side Kick refers to a kick that is delivered sideways in relation to the body of the person kicking. There are two general ways in which a side kick can be delivered. The first involves chambering the kick by bending it and cocking it back (recoiling it, in other words) before you kick. The second involves shooting the leg forward as you would in a front kick and then pivoting and turning so that you actually deliver a side kick.

In addition, there are two areas that are commonly used as impact points in sidekicks. The first is the heel of the foot and the other is the outer edge of the foot(this is sometimes called the side blade kick, "ashi-gatana" or "sokuto" in Japanese). The heel is more suited to hard targets such as the ribs, stomach, jaw, temple and chest. The side blade is more suited to the softer targets such as the knee and neck.

Muay thai uses the side-kick in a smaller manner by using it as a damaging attack only when striking the knees of a high-kicking opponent when one wishes to destroy said opponent. Otherwise, it is mainly used in a pushing role. The reason this is stems from the fact that the most viable targets for a sidekick are the lower abdomen (Below the belt) and the face, which is a risky venture.

Side kicks require less flexibility to reach head height than any other standing kick. However, they need much greater strength and precision to be used effectively in anything but a rough, pushing strike such as that employed by other push kicks.

The side kick can brilliantly be countered by a well executed reverse kick. The movement of the reverse kick simultaneously dodges the aggressors side kick whilst applying a nasty blow to the aggressors vulnerably open body from having preformed the side kick. In addition the front kick is a highly effective counter to a side kick deliver to the waist or above, it will come up underneath to strike the exposed groin area. In capoeira the side kick is known as chapa or pisao.

Back kick

In Japanese, ushiro geri; in Korean, dwit chagi (뒤 차기).

Also called a donkey kick, spin kick, mule kick, or turning back kick. This kick is directed backward keeping the kicking leg close to the standing leg and using the heel as a striking surface. Most often, this kick is delivered with a spinning motion in tournaments. It can be highly damaging due to its power and Benny Urquidez stated once in his book, "Training and Fighting Skills", his belief in it being the most powerful kick in karate. The back kick is a powerful kick used in Taekwondo.

Reverse side kick

In Korean ban dae yeop chagi (반대 옆 차기) or momdollyo yeop chagi.

Uses more of a spin in its delivery than the back kick, allowing the hips to turn over more. The kick begins from a high chamber as opposed to the straight through motion of a back kick. Can use either the heel (dwi kkumchi 뒤꿈치) or footsword (balkal 발칼) as the attacking tool. Although not done entirely the same way, the capoeira kick Chapa Giratoria looks very similar to the reverse side kick.

Advanced kicks

Axe kick (Hammer Kick)

In Japanese, kakato geri; in Korean, chikyo chagi or naeryo chagi (내려 차기).

An axe kick is characterized by the straightened leg coming down on an opponent, like the blade of an axe. The starting phase involves the foot being moved in an arc up and forward, like a crescent kick. The arc motion is stopped, and the attacking foot is brought down to strike the target from above, in imitation of an axe. The arc can be performed in either an inward (counter-clockwise) or outward (clockwise) fashion. In some styles, this is known as a downward kick. Axe kicks must be practiced carefully because they can very easily be used to accidentally injure one's sparring partner.

One of the most famous proponents of the axe kick was the late Andy Hug, the Swiss karateka that won the 1996 K-1 Grand Prix. He won countless fights with this kick, and it was in fact called the "Andy kick" in some circles.

Butterfly kick

The butterfly kick is done by doing a large circular motion with both feet in succession, making the combatant airborne. There are many variations of this kick. The kick may look like a slanted no handed cartwheel, and at the same time, the body spins horizontally in a circle. You would have to jump with one leg while kicking with the other, then move the kicking leg down and the jumping leg up into a kick, landing with the first kicking leg, all while spinning. It may also resemble a jumping spin roundhouse kick into a spinning hook kick, all in one jump and one spin.

Calf kick

This kick strikes with the backside of the calf. A variation which is known as the jumping calf kick is when the user jumps before performing the kick.

Crescent kick

In Japanese, mikazuki Geri; in Korean, bandal chagi (반달 차기).

The crescent kick, also referred to as a 'swing' kick, has some similarities to a hook kick, and is sometimes practised as an off-target front snap kick. The leg is bent like the front kick, but the knee is pointed at a target to the left or right of the true target. The energy from the snap is then redirected, whipping the leg into an arc and hitting the target from the side. This is useful for getting inside defenses and striking the side of the head or for knocking down hands to follow up with a close attack. In many styles of Tai Chi Chuan, crescent kicks are taught as tripping techniques. When training for crescent kicks, it is common to keep the knee extended to increase the difficulty. This also increases the momentum of the foot and can generate more force, though it takes longer to build up the speed.

The inward/inner/inside crescent hits with the instep. Its arch is clockwise for the left leg and counter-clockwise for the right leg. Force is generated by both legs' hip adduction. The inward variant has also been called a hangetsu geri (Crescent moon kick) in karate and is employed to "wipe" an opponents hand off of one's wrist. It can quickly be followed up by a low side-blade kick to the knee of the offender.

The outward/outer/outside crescent hits with the 'blade', the outside edge of the leg. Its path is counter-clockwise for the left leg and clockwise for the right leg, and force is generated by both legs' hip abduction. This is similar to a rising side kick, only with the kicking leg's hip flexed so that the line of force travels parallel to the ground from front to side rather than straight up, beginning and ending at the side.

Hook kick

In Japanese, ura mawashi-geri; in Korean, huryeo chagi (후려 차기) or goro chagi.

The hook kick strikes with the heel from the side. It is executed similar to a side kick. However, the kick is intentionally aimed slightly off target in the direction of the kicking foot's toes. At full extension, the knee is bent and the foot snapped to the side, impacting the target with the heel. Practitioners of jeet kune do frequently use the term heel hook kick or sweep kick. It is known as Gancho in capoeira.

The kick can be seen used by Bruce Lee in all of its flashiness in Fists of Fury (The Chinese Connection in America). Lee also used the move in Enter the Dragon, where he used it several times to knock out opponents. Bill Wallace was also a great user of this kick, as seen in his fight with Bill Briggs, where he KO'd his opponent with the clocked 60mph kick.

Twist Kick

In Korean, bituro chagi. In Okinawan karate, it is sometimes called a dragon kick.

The twist kick begins as would a front kick. However, the practitioner, beginning as with a front kick, allows the heel to move towards the center of the body. The kick is then directed outward from a cross-leg chamber so that the final destination of the kick is a target to the side, rather than one that is directly ahead.

Reverse roundhouse/Heel kick

In Japanese, ; in Korean, bandae dollyo chagi (반대 돌려 차기), dwit hu ryo chagi, nakkio mom dollyo chagi or parryo chagi.

This kick is also known as a heel kick, reverse turning kick, reverse round kick or spin kick. This kick traditionally uses the heel to strike with. The kicking leg comes from around the kicker's back and remains straight, unlike a reverse hooking kick. See above for more on hook kicks. Variations exist for low, middle and high height. Spinning and leaping variations of the kick are also popular, and are often showcased in film and television media.

A different kick that is similarly named also exists. It is literally a roundhouse kick performed by turning as if for a back straight kick and executing a roundhouse kick. It is known as a Reverse Roundhouse Kick because the kicker turns in the opposite, or "reverse", direction before the kick is executed. This kick strikes with the ball of the foot for power or the top of the foot for range. A version performed by WWE Diva Mickie James is called the Long Kiss Goodnight because it is preceded by a kiss, then performed.

Roundhouse kick

In Japanese, ; in Korean, dollyo chagi (돌려 차기). Also called a round kick, snap kick, or turning kick. The attacker swings his/her leg sideways in a circular motion, kicking the opponent's side with the front of the leg, usually with the top of the foot (called the instep), ball of the foot, toe (if careful), or shin. Also performable is a 360 degree kick in which the attacker performs a full circle with his/her leg. The striking surface is generally either the instep, shin or ball of the foot. A simpler version of the kick is performed by starting as a straight kick, but turning the hips sideways so the kick is snapped sideways (called a point kick). It is called Martelo in capoeira.

This is the most commonly used kick in kickboxing due to its power and ease of use. In most styles, the instep is used to strike, while in Shotokan karate when it was first introduced to the curricula in 1950, used the ball of the foot. In Kyokushinkai, this was changed to the instep and then, due possibly to encounters with muay thai practitioners, included use of the shin.

Muay thai has used the shin for its entire existence, seeing the use of the foot as being too open to being damaging to the small bones contained within.

Flying kicks

A flying kick, in martial arts, is a general description of kicks that involve a running start, jump, then a kick in mid-air. Compared to a regular kick, the user is able to achieve greater momentum from the run at the start. Flying kicks are not to be mistaken for jumping kicks, which are similar maneuvers. A jumping kick is very similar to a flying kick, except that it lacks the running start and the user simply jumps and kicks from a stationary position. Flying kicks are often derived from the basic kicks. Some of the more commonly known flying kicks are the: flying side kick, flying back kick and the flying roundhouse kick, as well as the flying reverse roundhouse kick. Flying kicks are commonly practiced in Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Wushu and Muay Thai for fitness, exhibitions, competition, as well as self defence. It is known as tobi geri in Japanese martial arts, and twimyo chagi in Taekwondo.

Scissor kick

Several kicks may be called a scissor kick, involving swinging out the legs to kick multiple targets or using the legs to take down an opponent.

The popularized version of a scissor kick is, while lying down, or jumping, the kicker brings both legs to both sides of the opponent's legs or to their body and head, then brings both in as a take down (as the name states, leg motions are like that of a pair of scissors).

The scissor kick in Taekwondo is called kawi chagi. In capoeira it is called tesoura (scissors).

Scissor kicks and other variants are also commonly applied in Vovinam.

Vertical kick

The vertical kick involves bringing the knee forward and across the chest, then swinging the hip while extending the kicking leg outward, striking with the outside ("sword") edge of the foot. It can deliver a considerable amount of power. This is called a yoko geri keage in karate.

In Taekwondo, the vertical kick is called sewo chagi, and can be performed as either an inward (anuro) or outward (bakuro) kick.

Multiple kick

In Japanese karate, the term ren geri is used for several kicks performed in succession. Old karate did not promote the use of the legs for weapons as much as modern karate does, seeing them as being too open for countering. However, in modern competitions, the ability to use multiple kicks without setting the foot down has become a viable option, not only for effectiveness but also for stylish aesthetics..

In Tae Kwon, three types of multiple kick are distinguished:

Double kick (i-jung chagi) - two kicks of the same type executed in succession by the same foot in the same direction.

Consecutive kick (yonsok chagi) - two or more kicks executed in succession by the same foot but in different directions, or with different attacking tools.

Combination kick (honhap chagi) - two or more kicks executed in succession by both feet.

One such Multiple Kick commonly seen in Taekwondo, is a slightly complex Side Kick where a High Side Kick is followed by a Low Side Kick which is in turn followed by a more powerful Side Kick. This combination is done rapidly and is meant not for multiple targets but for a single one. The Multiple Kick usually targets the face, thigh, and chest, but in turn can be a multiple chest attack which is useful for knocking the breath out of an attacker. The Multiple Kick is usually done in the "second" style described in the Side Kick article which "involves shooting the leg forward as you would in a front kick and then pivoting and turning so that you actually deliver a side kick." That style "has far less power but is much faster and more deceptive", which is what the Multiple Kick was designed for. The Multiple Kick, unlike some Side Kicks or "side blade kicks", never uses the outer edge of the foot; it's intended solely for the heel to be used as the impact point. Depending on the strength and skill of the attacker and the attacked, the combination can be highly-effective or highly-ineffective when compared to more pragmatic attacks. In some encounters with highly trained and conditioned fighters, multiple side-kicks have seen disastrous results against the abs of their targets.

Kicks in self-defense

The usefulness of kicks in self-defense and actual combat has been debated. Some, like Bruce Lee, have commented that the leg, thanks to its size and weight, is a more powerful weapon than the arm. Because the leg is longer than the arm, kicks tend to keep an opponent at a distance and to surprise him or her with their range. Many have reported successfully using kicks in real-life self-defense situations, and some modern combat systems such as Krav Maga, intended primarily for self-defense and combat, have incorporated kicks.

On the other hand, the high kicks practiced in traditional martial arts or the flying/jumping kicks performed in synthesis styles are primarily performed for conditioning or aesthetic reasons. Some say, as these maneuvers put the practitioner's balance at risk, they are not particularly practical in defensive situations, however, others say that they are unexpected on the streets, making themselves useful.

See also

References

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