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DarthPenguin
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 03 Dec 2021
Posts: 384
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Styles: Shotokan, Judo, BJJ

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2023 4:20 am    Post subject: Exercises to help with 'blading foot' for a side kick Reply with quote

Hi All,

Quick question. I have always personally preferred to land a side kick using my heel but i have been told by my karate instructor that the correct form at my class is to use bladed foot (not going to get into the debate with him or here as to which is superior!).

I was practicing the position myself at home the other day for with both feet: started with just raising foot and taking bladed position with foot then progressed to chambering a kick and slowly extending it with foot in bladed position. The next day i found i could barely walk on my right ankle, with it taking a couple of days to abate! As it was lessening i could feel it was mainly pain in exactly where i was turning my foot to blade it.

Obviously i don't want this to recur so i thought i would ask on here for suggestions. I can see two possibilities:

1) my form was incorrect and i was shaping my foot using the wrong muscles / in the wrong way and this is what led to the pain
2) the muscles in that part of my ankle are just week and need strengthened

(could be bit of both)

If anyone has any advice/thoughts they could post on those it would be much appreciated. I'm going to ask my instructor about the form part but i think if was doing it the way he said, so tbh not too hopeful that it will lead to an epiphany!
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Zaine
Black Belt
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Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 2090
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2023 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My guess would be that it is the latter of the options. If it helps, you might want to get an ankle brace or some kind of stabilizer as you begin if the exercise continues to make you sore. If it's making you so sore that it hurts to walk like it did, seek a doctor and ask for their advice.

Otherwise, I would say that you're doing the right thing. I would 100% suggest starting the way that you did, and working up from there. As Augustus said, festina lente. Make haste, slowly. Slow is correct, and correct is fast.

As I typed this, I had a thought. Make sure that you are stable on one foot, and then turning your hips as you throw the kick. I have found, in the past, when students have come to me with similar problems that it was because they were shaky on their leg. Throwing a kick slowly requires more muscle control than a fast kick. Practice just standing on one leg with a chamber first. Also, slow does not have to mean a snail's pace. Find the speed that you can throw it correctly 6 times out of 10 and start there.
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Nidan Melbourne
KF Sempai
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Joined: 21 Aug 2013
Posts: 2322
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Styles: Goju-Ryu, BJJ, Balintawak Arnis

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2023 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There will always be a debate on the use of the Blade or Heel for this kick. For me both have their uses depending on your intent and usage of it.

Potentially you may have a preference for the Heel as it was more comfortable for you to execute it that way instead of using the blade.

I teach both methods, depending on the persons mobility and functionality of their body. But at the same time, I provide mobility exercises to assist if I know how to help.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29649
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2023 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can't use the wrong muscles to flex the foot into that position; the muscles that do it are the muscles that do it. Pretty simple.

You could try standing/walking on the edges of your feet, for small bouts, though. It should help you develop the proprioception to tell that you have your foot in the right position. The only thing that will change when you kick is that you want to make sure you have your heel forward as much as you can.
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ashworth
Brown Belt
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Joined: 13 Nov 2006
Posts: 687
Location: UK
Styles: Shotokan, IJR Karate, Iaido, Kobudo

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2023 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second Nidan's comment, as I also do both depending on what I'm using the kick for.

Something that I do which may or may not help, is have all my toes pointing pointing down while my big toe points up, I feel this just helps give me the right foot shape and engage the right muscles, but if you issue is flexibility in those muscles then this comment may not help!
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DarthPenguin
Green Belt
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Joined: 03 Dec 2021
Posts: 384
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Styles: Shotokan, Judo, BJJ

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2023 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zaine wrote:
My guess would be that it is the latter of the options. If it helps, you might want to get an ankle brace or some kind of stabilizer as you begin if the exercise continues to make you sore. If it's making you so sore that it hurts to walk like it did, seek a doctor and ask for their advice.

Otherwise, I would say that you're doing the right thing. I would 100% suggest starting the way that you did, and working up from there. As Augustus said, festina lente. Make haste, slowly. Slow is correct, and correct is fast.

As I typed this, I had a thought. Make sure that you are stable on one foot, and then turning your hips as you throw the kick. I have found, in the past, when students have come to me with similar problems that it was because they were shaky on their leg. Throwing a kick slowly requires more muscle control than a fast kick. Practice just standing on one leg with a chamber first. Also, slow does not have to mean a snail's pace. Find the speed that you can throw it correctly 6 times out of 10 and start there.


Thanks, that makes sense and is something to try. I was thinking on it and wondering why it was only my right ankle since i did the same amount with both legs and mu left one was fine, so maybe it is something i should get looked at. I have a dim memory of wearing an ankle support on that leg years ago when training (am talking 10+ years ago), so maybe there is a small issue that i just haven't tweaked again that needs fixed!
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DarthPenguin
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 03 Dec 2021
Posts: 384
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Styles: Shotokan, Judo, BJJ

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2023 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nidan Melbourne wrote:
There will always be a debate on the use of the Blade or Heel for this kick. For me both have their uses depending on your intent and usage of it.

Potentially you may have a preference for the Heel as it was more comfortable for you to execute it that way instead of using the blade.

I teach both methods, depending on the persons mobility and functionality of their body. But at the same time, I provide mobility exercises to assist if I know how to help.


Yeah that makes sense. In previous styles i have always been allowed the freedom to choose. Some instructors preferred either way but ultimately it was down to me and they were more concerned with it being either a correctly executed kick with the heel or the blade rather than picking one or the other.

Up til now on my working back through the karate grades it hasn't even been mentioned so i thought there was no issue at all, but my instructor mentioned it the other day as something our grading examiner is particularly keen on being bladed, hence the trying to do it!
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DarthPenguin
Green Belt
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Joined: 03 Dec 2021
Posts: 384
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Styles: Shotokan, Judo, BJJ

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2023 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
You can't use the wrong muscles to flex the foot into that position; the muscles that do it are the muscles that do it. Pretty simple.

You could try standing/walking on the edges of your feet, for small bouts, though. It should help you develop the proprioception to tell that you have your foot in the right position. The only thing that will change when you kick is that you want to make sure you have your heel forward as much as you can.


Thanks, this makes sense. I'll try the position again gradually and see if my heel is not forward enough, that might be something to do with it. If not it is a good thing to be able to rule out!
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DarthPenguin
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 03 Dec 2021
Posts: 384
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Styles: Shotokan, Judo, BJJ

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2023 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ashworth wrote:
I second Nidan's comment, as I also do both depending on what I'm using the kick for.

Something that I do which may or may not help, is have all my toes pointing pointing down while my big toe points up, I feel this just helps give me the right foot shape and engage the right muscles, but if you issue is flexibility in those muscles then this comment may not help!


Thanks, i'll give it a try. Issue seems to be solely the ankle flexing that way - it is fine in the forward / backward plane (the same way as for a calf raise). I have flexible toes (can pick up a tennis ball with them!) so i might try this and see if it helps. I can see how the toe cue could add stability to the structure.
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Zaine
Black Belt
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Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 2090
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2023 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DarthPenguin wrote:
Zaine wrote:
My guess would be that it is the latter of the options. If it helps, you might want to get an ankle brace or some kind of stabilizer as you begin if the exercise continues to make you sore. If it's making you so sore that it hurts to walk like it did, seek a doctor and ask for their advice.

Otherwise, I would say that you're doing the right thing. I would 100% suggest starting the way that you did, and working up from there. As Augustus said, festina lente. Make haste, slowly. Slow is correct, and correct is fast.

As I typed this, I had a thought. Make sure that you are stable on one foot, and then turning your hips as you throw the kick. I have found, in the past, when students have come to me with similar problems that it was because they were shaky on their leg. Throwing a kick slowly requires more muscle control than a fast kick. Practice just standing on one leg with a chamber first. Also, slow does not have to mean a snail's pace. Find the speed that you can throw it correctly 6 times out of 10 and start there.


Thanks, that makes sense and is something to try. I was thinking on it and wondering why it was only my right ankle since i did the same amount with both legs and mu left one was fine, so maybe it is something i should get looked at. I have a dim memory of wearing an ankle support on that leg years ago when training (am talking 10+ years ago), so maybe there is a small issue that i just haven't tweaked again that needs fixed!


We tend to be a little more stable on our left side than right, as well. It's the side that is the most used to supporting, especially in an environment where we tend to prefer to lift our right leg for a kick over our left.
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