Kicking is an essential part of the martial arts and learning to master kicking skills is a process of hard work.
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Kicks enhance your effectiveness as a Total Warrior, increasing stability in balance, strength and coordination.
They can be used very effectively in an offensive or defensive situation.
There are many ways to kick as well as there are a great variety of kicks. When practicing kicks, it is important to warm up so as not to pull any muscles or ligaments. Be sure and practice kicks on both legs equally.
Each kick follows the steps below for full execution, but remember, there are no exact laws as how to kick or punch, only guidelines to build a better practitioner.
The coil position
In training, most kicks come from the coil position. This simply means bringing the knee up. It keeps your opponent from knowing what kick you will throw and gives you protection against incoming kicks.
This is a step, slide or small twist of the ground leg used on some kicks before extension to get into the position desired for maximum power. The pivot is usually performed on the ball of the foot.
This is the actual kick or attack with the leg fully extended
This is the immediate return after the kick has been executed, bring the leg back and the knee up to maintain protection.
Each kick follows these steps. But remember, there are no exact laws as to how you should kick or punch, only guidelines to build a better practitioner.
Building Super Kicks
Why are so called “super kicking skills” important, when in a real fight, kicking above the waist would be unrealistic anyway?
First, I believe if you can lift 100 pounds then it would be that much easier for you to lift 50 pounds. Thus, if you can kick high, then you can also kick lower with more control and ability.
Second, if you only practice the Martial Science purely for self-defense and not for self-improvement, then your chances of growth are limited.
Ask yourself these questions before training:
1. How would I like to improve my kicks?
2. How will I feel if I don’t improve kicks?
3. How will I feel if I do improve kicks?
By asking yourself these motivating questions and answering them with emotional honesty, you can create a little more motivation. These questions can be constantly reviewed and will outlast traditional willpower. Be sure and ask more questions like these as you train. Below I have listed some primary ideas to help you improve your kicks. This is a 9 step guide to mastering your kicks. Although the following is for improving your kicking skill, the same principles can be used to develop other areas too.
1. The way is in training
With anything you want to become proficient in, practice makes perfect. Practice is consistent action towards our goals. One does not attend a few martial art classes, buy a black belt and say, “okay, now I am a Total Warrior and I can defend myself.” Yeah, maybe against an untrained mouse. Seriously though, think of something you are good at and ask yourself this question: did you become proficient in that skill in one lesson? Odds are you only learned the basics and it will take practice for you to become second nature and realistically proficient.
2. Stretch, Stretch, and Stretch
If you don’t have flexibility then you won’t have the kick. As obvious as it sounds, people just don’t do enough stretching, even when they know they should. So I will say it once again, “Stretch.” Figure out which muscles are involved with each kick you are trying to improve and take action by stretching. There are two specific ways of stretching, the first is for warming up and is done before a workout to decrease chance of injury (hold for about 9 seconds each stretch). The other is for increasing flexibility, which is done after the workout to improve the stretch. These stretches you would hold for longer periods of time, from 10-20 minutes.
3. Slow motion kicking
When practicing to develop good ground kicks, it is valuable to utilize slow motion kicking. Slow motion kicking is the process of performing the kick as slow as possible to focus strain on all the parts used in the kick. It’s easy to throw a side kick in one second, how about trying it for thirty seconds? You will feel the difference. Slow motion kicking will give you growth in four major areas: Balance, Control, Strength and Form.
4. Power, speed, and targeting
Aside from the basic development of the kick, it is also important to build a powerful, fast kick that is on target. You can have nice flashy kicks, however if they lack power or are off target, what good are they? Here are a few key notes for developing your kicks.
A. Don’t throw repetitious kicks in the air. Overextending is damaging.
B. Use a bag or pad when kicking with full power.
C. Develop targeting by using harder to hit targets such as focus mitts.
5. Give and takes
This is done with a partner, the attacker kicks to develop his or her targeting, application, flexibility, etc. The defender or receiver takes the kick to develop toughness, reactions and awareness. Start by facing each other and let the kicker begin by throwing one kick with little force, the defender allows the kick to make contact and takes a step back. The attacker then throws his next kick and the process continues. You can adjust the power of the kicks so there is growth for both the attacker and the defender. After about ten different kicks the defender then takes his/her turn.
6. Coil and recoil
This is an optional technique of bringing the knee up before the execution of each kick (with exceptions naturally). By doing so, you are protecting against incoming kicks and your opponent will not be sure what kick you are going to throw. When finishing a kick you can also come into recoil before grounding the kick. This process is very effective in sparring.
7. Break downs
Important when learning or perfecting a new kick. Start by breaking the kick into parts: positions, pivots, balance, muscles, movements and application. Work on each and development them separately before combining. This helps to get a better understanding of the mechanics in your kick.
A common mistake for many martial artists is the consistent training of one leg or one kick. Right and left kicks should be stressed equally if you are going to become the Total Warrior. Ambidexterity is important for all your training and keeps you from becoming right or left side dependent. What good are you if one of your legs become unusable?
Last and just as important, is the use of your Creative Mental Training (CMT). Visualize your skills improving, create fight scenes and scenarios in your head and feel the abilities that you are looking for in your kicks. Practice in your minds eye as you would in training, mentally feeling and seeing your skill and improvement. Do this after every class.
Constantly ask, “How can I improve my kicks now?” Practice the principles with consistent physical and mental action and you will soon be on your way to having super kicks.
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