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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 27759
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 10:30 am    Post subject: Front Kick Class Reply with quote

As an instructor, at times I have struggled with coming up with fresh ideas for classes. I think that many instructors agree that working on the basics is important. Many advanced students would agree as well, but students like to see a change of pace every now and then. At times, students like to push themselves mentally and physically by working on advanced techniques. There is a way to do both, beginning with the foundation; the basics. By taking an expanded approach to some basic kicking techniques, an instructor can provide a variety of drills and exercises that are basic enough for beginning and intermediate students, and also challenging enough for advanced students and black belts to appreciate.

In this article, I choose to single out kicking, and I will use the front kick as the example. Instructors and students will see that the drills are transferable to the side kick and round kick as well, along with a few extra drills that serve those kicks better than the front kick.

The exercises in this article are divided into two separate segments. In the first segment, I present drills that break the kick down into its component parts. The second segment of drills focuses on kicking variations.

Segment 1: The Breakdown

Whenever I teach one of the three basic kicks to a beginner, I focus on breaking the kicks into four parts: the chamber position, the execution of the kick, the re-chamber position, and the return of the kicking foot to the floor. An easy way to practice these components is by allowing the beginner to use a wall or chair for balance, and then simply counting out each component. However, I have ideas for working each part separately.

Chamber

The chamber motion is the beginning of the kicking motion for the front kick (and just about every other kick). When the leg is chambered, the muscles that are to be used for the kick become engaged. From the proper chamber position, you can direct the front kick where you want it to go. Therefore, developing a proper chamber position is important for a strong kick.

In essence, the chamber motion can be practiced as a front knee strike. I teach my students to try to get the knee as high and tight as possible, so practicing it as a knee strike teaches them to get the knee up high, and with speed. This can be done with simple floor drills, advancing down and back. Another drill involves a partner holding a kicking shield and allowing the student to thrust the knee strike into the shield while gripping around the partner's neck, as in a clinch. Using a standing or hanging heavy bag can yield similar results as well. A few calisthenic drills would include doing rapid, repeated knee lifts, either same leg or alternating, and also holding the leg in the chambered position, and pulsing it up and down slightly to build strength.

Chamber drills: 4

Execution

The execution is the realization of the kick. Most practitioners would probably say that this is the fun part of the kick. The foot should be fixed to prepare the proper attacking tool; in this case, it could be the ball of the foot, the instep, or the heel. Upon execution, the kick can be held at full extension for a duration of time, and then pulled back slowly. This can also be done with speed, repeatedly. Upon extension, the kicking leg can be pulsed up and down slightly to work the muscles in a different way. These drills will help build strength and endurance in the kicking muscles.

Execution drills: 3

Re-chamber

In my teaching experience, the re-chamber is the problem component of the kick. Many times, beginners are either so caught up in the execution of the kick that they forget to re-chamber, or they lose their balance after kicking and drop the foot to the ground to keep from falling over. Therefore, spending time practicing the re-chamber position is very important.

The re-chamber position should be held high and tight, just like the chamber position (in fact, it should be the same position for most kicks). This can be reinforced by doing repetitions of executing and re-chambering, focusing on keeping the knee up, and the leg moving in a smooth motion. Doing this drill slowly allows smooth re-chambering, and lets the student focus on keeping the knee high throughout the kicking motion. The knee bounce on the re-chamber tends to happen when the kicking is done fast and/or high, so adding some speed to this drill will help to work on keeping the knee up upon completion of kicking.

Re-chamber drills: 2

Return

The return motion of the front kick takes the foot back to the ground, allowing the student to prepare for another movement. When the breakdown in the re-chamber motion happens, the return component suffers as well. In order to leave the practitioner in good position, maintaining balance and controlling the foot placement during the return motion is essential. A good drill to use to enhance this ability is to place pieces of tape on the floor, either in front of the student, or behind, or in various places around the student. The student should then deliver a front kick, hold the re-chamber position, and then, on your command, set the foot down on the piece of tape designated by you. Start out at a pace that makes it easy for the student to control the leg, and then build speed.

The next drill augments the return motion slightly, turning it into an attack. Once the student has gained control of returning the foot where he/she wants, you can place a target pad on the ground, and have the student use the return motion as a stomp attack. This drill will also help the student learn to return the foot quickly to the floor, if need be.

Return drills: 2

Total drills from Segment 1: 11

Segment 2: The Numbered Kicking System

Now that each of the four basic component parts of the front kick have been covered, it's time to move on to incorporating all of the components into the front kick itself. The following drills will include doing the kick in its entirety.

During my time as an instructor in the American Taekwondo Association, I learned a system of categorizing kicks using numbers. I still like the system, because I think it simplifies which kicks you want your students to throw. I will use the system here.

The front kick variations used here will be numbered 1 through 4. The odd numbered kicks, 1 and 3, are done with the front leg. The even numbered kicks, 2 and 4, are executed off the back leg. The numbering system indicates whether the front or back leg kicks, as opposed to right or left leg. This allows the students to use their fighting stance of preference, and everyone still does the same drill. When you have the students switch stance, a #1 front kick still comes off the front leg.

For each of the following variations, you can apply floor drills, target drills, kicking shield/heavy bag drills, and partner sparring drills, giving you at least 4 drills per front kick variation. I am sure you can think of more; these are just some possibilities.

#1 Front Kick

From the fighting stance, simply pick the front leg up and kick. This kick can be a good defensive technique, like a stop-kick against an opponent rushing in. A good way to practice this is with a partner wearing a chest protector, or holding a kicking shield while moving toward the defender. It can also be used as an offensive weapon.

#2 Front Kick

From the fighting stance, the #2 front kick comes off the back leg. The kick can either be returned to the back leg position, or it can be set down in front and followed up by a #2 front kick with the other leg. The latter option makes for a good floor drill. It is important to note that with the #1 and #2 front kicks, the non-kicking foot does not move prior to the kick.

#3 Front Kick

To perform this kick, the back foot first moves, and then the front leg kicks. A common way to perform this kick is to do a replacement step, bringing the back foot next to the front foot, and then kicking with the original front leg. Another option is to move the back foot in a side stepping motion to create an angle, and then kicking with the front leg.

#4 Front Kick

This kick is the counterpart to the #3 front kick. The front foot moves first, and then the student kicks with the back leg. A common method of doing this kick is to perform a replacement step backwards, bringing the front foot to the back foot, and then kicking with the original back leg. The student can also do a side step with the front leg to create an angle, and then follow with the back leg kick.

As I stated earlier, there are a multitude of drills possible for these four kicking variations. Floor drills, target drills, heavy bag/kicking shield drills, and partner sparring drills are just four that I mention here; use your imagination and I am sure that many instructors could come up with many additional drills. You can even combine kicks for combination drills, like a #2 front kick followed by a #3 front kick, and the list goes on and on. The numbered kicking categorization also applies to jumping front kicks, allowing you to challenge your students even further.

Total drills from Segment 2: at least 4 per kicking variation; 16 total from this segment. You can add more if you like, of course, and if you add in the jump kicks, you can essentially double the number of drills in this segment. You now have a total of 27 different drills for a class that is solely focused on the front kick!

I hope that by reading this article, practitioners will look at the basic kicks in a different way, and see how much one can actually do with a basic front kick. These ideas also apply well to the side kick and round kick. Additionally, the nature of the side kicks and round kicks allow you to add the reverse and spinning variations of the kicks, allowing for even more fun in a side kick class, or a round kick class. And don't forget those jumps, either! So now, you can go to class and announce to your students: "OK, class! Today is front kick day!"
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Patrick
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the submission.
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NewEnglands_KyoSa
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Joined: 14 Jan 2008
Posts: 907
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Styles: Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do , Chinese Kempo

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, indeed thank you. This is a very useful tool to many instructors out there. I teach many of the concepts and drills you went over, they are great. And yes basics are terribly boring...but a must! Great post Bushido, im sure i'll be referring back to this sometime!
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tallgeese
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Joined: 04 May 2008
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent article with great breakdown of basics.

I agree with you're premise of incorporating some type of movement early in a fighters development. The drills 3 and 4 at this stage are excellent as an introduction to this important fundimental concept.

Nice work.
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, guys. I hope I get to put this class to the test some time soon.
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pittbullJudoka
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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great piece Bushidoman. Love the front kick. It is like having an extra jab for me.
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, pittbull.
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shotokanka92
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice article
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Reala
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love this article, Bushido man, is there any way of you giving me the same kind of drills for the round house kick and side kick? I'd love to work on each kick twice a week using this structure =)

Did you ever do any simular articles? I never found any if you did but would appriciate links ^^
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bushido_man96
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Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reala wrote:
I love this article, Bushido man, is there any way of you giving me the same kind of drills for the round house kick and side kick? I'd love to work on each kick twice a week using this structure =)

Did you ever do any simular articles? I never found any if you did but would appriciate links ^^
Thanks, Reala.

I don't have anything currently for the round kick or the side kick, but I have thought about putting something together for them.

You could probably take the basic structure of the article here, and work it with the side kicks and round kicks in some way, if you like. In the meantime, I will look into some similar articles for those kicks.

Some things, like the stomping motions and such, may not quite apply to the round or side kicks, but you can still find lots of ways to work things into them.
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