Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Side Kick Striking Surface

Stepping Side Kick

I was preparing another side kick post, when I happened on Colin Wee's excellent, Won-hyo: The Taekwondo Side Kick, and this nugget, "Blade or heel of the foot? ...Typically I kick with the blade of the foot - but lately, with suspected joint inflammation/arthritis developing in one of my hip joints, I've opted to reduce as much torque on the hips as possible. So I've been experimenting with focusing power into the heel and adding a little more 'snap' in the leg extension - so the lower leg travels faster. This seems to increase power and keep my joints happy."

Great post there, please head over and read it all. Couple of points:

  1. Side kicking with the "blade" of the foot is a technical skill, and is only useful for aesthetics, and only possible when barefoot, or wearing very flexible footwear. It has no place in the arsenal of someone who's engaged in combat with boots, hard shoes, or similar footwear. As Colin mentions the last sentence of his quote, kicking with the heel is more powerful. A bladed side kick striking surface should be used in a side snap kick, not a thrust kick, even when barefoot.
  2. You should never drive and lock a joint. Always snap. Always. Nothing seems to wear out joints more than continual locking during striking techniques. It wears on the elbows, hips, and knees. So if you want to be kicking into your golden years, try snapping, not locking your kicks.
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Michele said...

I am going to have to experiment with my side kicks. I need to be careful of the stress I put on my knee when kicking. Thanks.

Colin Wee said...

Great follow up post, Nat.

It's all right to be doing all manner of mistakes or trying to push the envelop when you're young. Once your injuries start catching up to you though ... you stop smack talking so much and start listening to words of wisdom like this.

Joint inflamation is nasty - but taught me some real good tricks in how to use a side kick without too much stress. Know what? Most of those lessons are contained in traditional type basic kicks - as opposed to the flashy sportive moves that I learned when I was much younger.

I told a beginner just yesterday that our martial arts is not only about inflicting damage onto our opponent, it is also about reducing the probability that damage is applied onto ourselves! Power Generation, Commonsense, and Strategy talks a little about the wisdom needed when kicking an opponent - and the snapping and caution needed when extending that limb out.

Thanks for the cross posting!


Nathan at TDA Training said...

Thanks Michelle. I remember a young instructor would always lock his kicks out, and we always warned everyone that you need to snap them. He ended up with horrible knees in his 20s. Your caution is a good idea. We want to keep kickin' into old age, don't we?

Thanks Colin. Can you post more on what you meant by the safety contrast between sport and traditional side kick (and other) techniques? I don't think the "Power generation" post gives that contrast in terms of exact techniques within TKD. Thanks for the great comments and posts.