Saturday, 19 November 2016

That damned kick

At my karate class I am known to stubbornly insist on using kicks not normally practiced in our dojo.

Most of these kicks come from my Shukokai days.

This particular kick, though, has undergone some changes over the years as I took up Chinese martial arts.

I refer to both the reverse roundhouse kick and the back spinning kick as the reverse roundhouse, but recognise that the faster version is done with the lead foot while the back spinning version is more powerful and employs the rear foot.  

In karate this kick is usually done by doing a front kick or side kick past the target and then to hook the the sole or heel of the foot around to hit the target from the side.

I do not find this version very powerful and substituted it with the Dragon's Tail form that involves whipping the leg around and through the target from the side.

A problem that reared its ugly head a while ago, however, was when I did the kick against a wall (don't ask) I saw that the whipping motion is powerful, but instead of the sole of my foot making contact I ended up hitting with the side of my foot!

Now that has caused me weeks of trouble. Not an injury, but the question of how to fix this kick so that it stays powerful, but hit with the sole of my foot.

Sure- I have nothing against the reverse crescent kick that hits with the side of the foot or the side of the lower leg (when I use it to deflect a kick or a stick), but I love that slap my foot gives the target.

Eventually I found the root of the problem. When your supporting foot faces with the toes towards your opponent your kicking foot will want to remain vertical. This also happens when your supporting foot faces your opponent with the inner edge.

Bring the supporting heel more towards the target, however, and your kicking foot is more inclined to turn horizontal.

Something useful that I got from Sensei John is shown in the sketch below:

Numbers 1 and 2 show what I have been doing. To get these kicks to hit with a lot of power you need a big swinging motion with the leg. That requires a lot of room around you.

Number 3 is Sensei John's preferred method. Instead of directing the force to the side like I do with 1 and 2 the force is rather directed diagonally away from you. I have found that this focuses more of the kicking legs inherent strength, harnesses more momentum and requires less room around me. 

As a result I have made Sensei John's kick my own. Now that it is no longer bothering me I can focus on being more efficient at fighting again....

Well- now you all have to excuse me, but I am going to see how the All Blacks' rematch against Ireland is going to turn out.

Stay well!

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