Joong Do Kwan 2015

Joong Do Kwan 2015
Joong Do Kwan School of the Middle Way

26 Dec 2007

Roundhouse Kick: Muay Thai and Taekwondo

Muay Thai Roundhouse Kick versus Traditional Taekwondo Roundhouse Kick




I actually embedded a clip talking about the Muay Thai roundhouse kick but it seems to have been taken down. So I've searched for a new clip from youtube and came up with this one. First off, I really dislike it that he calls it a 'damn foot'. Second ... I think that floppity foot shows an amateur technician. But saying that, the following text refers to the previous clip - which isn't there anymore, and I apologise for not yet updating this information. But it is still pertinent.

***old discussion on Muay Thai Roundhouse vs Traditional Taekwondo Roundhouse***

This is some random martial arts video I picked up from youtube searching for 'Roundhouse kicks'. The guy is not an unskilled kicker - though he seems to like the sound of his voice. He may benefit from some instructional skills. But not a bad attempt at all.

I'd just like to go through what he says about the roundhouse kick.

First up, he says "round kicks in general ..." and I like that because the basic roundhouse kick I was taught and continue to teach in Traditional Taekwondo hits with the ball of the foot rather than the instep as he says. I have learned that long range instep roundhouse kick variety and also use it to great effect in sparring, but that's beside the point.

Ours is a very conservative roundhouse kick done on a horizontal plane, and does not require the practitioner to lean back to extend the kick out far. In fact the roundhouse kick is more like a front kick done on a horizontal plane. The abs and obliques are tensed (or utilised) in order to generate power without a lot of extraneous movement. If the opponent were standing side on to the practitioner, the kick would hit the opponent straight from the front or the back. It is not angled upward nor would it have a tangential angle of entry. Check out my response to Mireille's post on topic of roundhouse kicks.

The roundhouse kick that he represents as being a Taekwondo roundhouse is a modified variation off the basic traditional roundhouse kick that we learn. When I started it was called a 'turning kick,' but irrespective of the name, this is the roundhouse kick that we learn in our 2nd kyu pattern Hwa-rang (that's one away from black belt). It is still kicking with the ball of the foot but leveled on a target directly in front of the practitioner. Meaning if the opponent is side on to me, I'd be kicking him in his ribs.

If you were going for an instep roundhouse kick, I'd assume you'd want to snap the kick like he says. In fact, in general, all kicks should be snapped. Funakoshi Sensei, the Father of Karate, says that all kicks should come back as fast as they go out; this covers all of the basic kicks from my style. However, whether you'd choose for the kick to be a light jab or gap closing type of kick, or if you want it to be a more powerful penetrative one depends on the situation at hand.

He says that Taekwondo roundhouse kicks are now done for speed and are more like "half roundhouse" kicks. I teach that the front kick describes a vertical angle of entry and the roundhouse the horizontal angle of entry - and that all slices between the two are legitimate kicks that are applicable dependent on the target available. So the weapon is chosen for the target, rather than for the pure objective of speed.

I also think that it is strategically more sound to be able to modulate the kind of power (see Power Generation and Common Sense) used in the kick throughout the cycle of the kick. What I mean is in direct regard to the Muay Thai roundhouse he is demonstrating. He says something like "unlike the snap or whip of the Taekwondo roundhouse, the Muay Thai kick is more like a baseball bat". My opinion is that the person using kicks in actual combat or self defence needs to be real smart about the kick; kicks are risky, they open you up, and you have a high chance of missing. So any kick that requires you to wind up and then power through is only great for one thing - competitions.

I would also add that most of the kicks he is performing, both representing his idea of Taekwondo or Muay Thai styles would benefit from him bending his support knee just a little more. It's fine to do what he's doing on the mat - straight support leg. But if you're in combat mode, I'd be choosing control over how I extend my leg and retract it. The bent support leg makes for better overall control of body dynamics - though it looks much less glamorous.

>> If you liked this post, check out Hwa-rang: Roundhouse Kicks, The Long and Short of it

Colin




More links to Traditional Taekwondo at sitemap.

13 comments:

Tomcat's Taekwondo said...

What he's showing as a Taekwondo turning kick looks to me like something specific to WTF competition. We're taught to use the instep to create a nice slapping sound against the body armour (or helmet!) and so to score a point.

In our normal training, a traditional turning kick is a powerful technique that (done right) will break ribs. For that you use the ball of the foot and that's how we practice.

supergroup7 said...

The artist in the video shows a honest love of his training, and a budding appreciation for the stylistic differences that he is catching as he trains. I can almost feel his enthusiasm for Martial arts coming through the screen, and it makes me smile in echo.

It looks like he hasn't had any experience with the side chambered roundhouse kick position that is stressed in Shotokan. He touches on the idea when he is explaining Muay Thai kicks and mentioning the baseball bat, but fails to demonstrate this in his movements.

Colin? Do your roundhouse kicks hit at an angle? From your descriptions I've always thought that you are striking on a horizontal plane at a 90 degree angle to the target with your roundhouse kicks. This has been taught to me as the optimal direction for the most force to be delivered to the target. Sure, it is difficult to deliver this at head height, but I've seen many artists achieve it.

"So any kick that requires you to wind up and then power through is only great for one thing - competitions"

Colin, I have to humbly disagree on this point, but then I do not have as much experience as you. I feel that you need to "set up" a power kick with a combination to gain you the opening to send it. You send something that gets the opponent thinking about other things, like their balance for example, and then BOOM... They aren't ready for it, you had plenty of time to give it, and down they go.

Definately, I agree with you about bending the support knee. You never know when someone might just sneak in a good kick to your support foot in the middle of your own attack. It's best to have that support knee bent to take the hit instead of snapping like a dry twig.

Colin Wee said...

Andy - good clarification. I teach the ball of the foot predominantly, but use both in class. I find understanding some variations to basic kicks allow me to innovate when needed. My generalisation for the roundhouse is that the ball of the foot is used to strike hard and the instep is used when I need reach and speed.

Mir - the 90 degree roundhouse kick is the basic traditional one that I was taught by the A-KaTo and continue to teach. But my instructors were the ones who taught me to look at basic techniques as parameters. This is the lesson which allows me to convenience to retrofit my earlier kicks into the 'Tradititional Taekwondo' system. So the front kick with be the vertical parameter, and roundhouse as the horizontal. All slices between them are equally valid.

While I also teach the side chambering, as you talk about it, I also eventually teach to originate the kick from anywhere. This 'kick from anywhere' is what I'm talking about in regard to the 'wind up .. for competition'. In wind up I'm talking about making the kick look like it's being prepared before you even shoot it out ... a big no no for any kick unless you're feinting.

So to that point I will eventually disagree that you need to demonstrate a distinct 'side chambering' to your roundhouse kick. I would prefer to see incremental rollover in mid-flight in order to slip the kick in. If the practitioner, a beginning student for instance, requires more power after that, the front foot can be used to deliver a follow up side kick.

I have personally not had any trouble delivering power at any angle to any part of the human body with a roundhouse kick. However, the optimal angle if you're asking my opinion is to hit the target perpendicularly. But this is not to say you need to launch the weapon from a perpendicular location - so long as you hit the target squarely, the kick can come from anywhere.

Colin

Colin Wee said...

Colin, I have to humbly disagree on this point, but then I do not have as much experience as you.

Mir, I have to humbly ask you to not humbly disagree with me. Just disagree. If I didn't want disagreement, I would turn the contribution facility off. You "do not have as much experience" as me? Well, I did not have as much experience/knowledge as you when I was as long in the arts as you are now. So there. Colin

supergroup7 said...

O.K.. I'll stop being humble, and I'll just disagree on the basics of physics. I believe that a foot that has to travel the greater distance from a chambered position to it's target will hit with more power than a foot that is only traveling a short distance. IF it is possible to chamber a fist or foot to gain in distance, one will be able to strike with more force. I also believe that a strike hitting at a 90 degree angle to the target will hit with more force than a strike that angles in any direction.

Colin Wee said...

O.K.. I'll stop being humble, and I'll just disagree on the basics of physics.

That's more like it.

I believe that a foot that has to travel the greater distance from a chambered position to it's target will hit with more power than a foot that is only traveling a short distance.

You are absolutely correct. Fortunately I've got a version of the roundhouse that gets the foot accelerating from where it is on the floor. The distance for it's flight path is surely further than the direct distance from chambered position to the striking zone. :-)

Colin

supergroup7 said...

OOooo... Look at this video, Colin!

I found this gem of a video that compares Japanese style Roundhouse, and other kicks with Korean. I like how well he shows the difference.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXf06si2Q0E

What do you think??

Colin Wee said...

I found this gem of a video that compares Japanese style Roundhouse,

You're very generous with your praise.

If you want to compare major dissimilarities, the video treats such an overview fairly well.

My thoughts ...

If I wanted to kick, I'd really be reducing the moves that telegraph my kicks - meaning I would not want to wind up or show someone what type of kick I'm preparing for. But that's just me. The person seems to tend to gravitate towards flashier types of kicks.

The difficulty in comparing between styles is not so much how the kick is prepared or sent out - it is how the internal muscles work in generating the power versus effective distance for the kick. Over generalisation means this guy is showing the same kick but wound up in different ways. I can certainly say that Korean and Japanese kicks feel very different - there is more inner thigh tension , solidity, and groundedness in Japanese kicks. Korean kicks tend to be stretched out, linear, and long-distanced.

If I compare the kicks, I'd look at basic teaching fundamentals versus application. That would work better than showing a prescriptive 'flight path'.

Colin

supergroup7 said...

"You're very generous with your praise"

Blush.. yes, Colin, I tend to have quite a positive outlook. I really liked the presentation of this video. The Artist in this video is.. how do I describe it?.. "fun" to listen to, and to watch. I actually saw a difference in the different kicks. I believe that he was emphasizing the movements for the content of the video, and I assumed that he probably does things more "quietly" when using the various kicks. Most experienced Artists look to announce less when sparring.

Colin Wee said...

Blush.. yes, Colin, I tend to have quite a positive outlook.

I like that in you.

I really liked the presentation of this video. The Artist in this video is.. how do I describe it?.. "fun" to listen to, and to watch.

He does have some flair.

I actually saw a difference in the different kicks.

Of course there was. He chose to emphasize the different flight paths of the kicks. Some of them were quite valid. Just check out this article written by my pal Stuart Anslow on the differences between Karate and Taekwondo roundhouse kicks.

I believe that he was emphasizing the movements for the content of the video, and I assumed that he probably does things more "quietly" when using the various kicks.

Maybe. However, to me he seems to be a 'flashy' martial artist. I may be reading him wrong.

Most experienced Artists look to announce less when sparring.

Yes. The operative word is 'experienced'.

Am I being a scrooge?

Colin

markstraining.com said...

Overall, there should not be a karate roundhouse, thai roundhouse taekwondo roundhouse or whatever roundhouse. The roundhouse is a roundhouse with many variations. Its wise to learn most variations so as you can use each one during different circumstances.

Its good to see people analysing the differences between styles and hopefully people will learn to blend each styles way of training rather than critise. Good post!

Colin Wee said...

Oh ... spot on response, mark.

Yes, there shouldn't be a muay thai roundhouse or a tkd or a karate. However, people superficially relates some 'types' of roundhouse kicks with some arts. That's bulls*** isn't it? When you need it and you've been taught some variations and you roundhouse kick what needs to be kicked, that kick doesn't belong to any other style other than what you need from it.

:-)

Colin

Colin Wee said...

My god. I should word smith my posts! Hahahahah. That's what happens when you rush.

Colin