Taekwondo Side Kick: Yul-guk v Won-hyo

Taekwondo Won-hyo Side Kick v Yul-guk Side Kick

Taekwondo's Won-Hyo Step 7-8 is a rotate step back by support leg and defensive taekwondo side kick with front leg. Step 25-26 is a step forward and offensive taekwondo side kick with back leg. The taekwondo side kick in pattern Won-hyo seem to compare defensive and offensive uses of the side kick whilst generating "respect for distance".

The Taekwondo side kick in pattern Yul-guk doesn't seem much different, or does it? The stack up and the offensive nature of the kick is similar to Won-hyo's step 25-26. The main difference is that the following move is an open palm strike or back-of-neck control followed by an apparent elbow to the face level. Anyone who's used an elbow knows that the elbow strike (or what could alternatively be interpreted as a choke) has to be done at an extremely close distance. What does this say for Yul-guk's side kick then?

I reckon that a possible combative or self defence interpretation is that Yul-guk's side kick is an extremely short range side kick. This is similar to Karate's Basai where the kick is done at knee height after both hands are chambered at the hip. The principle is that the hands control aspects of the opponent's upper body or arms, the raise of the side kick may introduce a knee strike to the extremities or face, and the short range side kick may be done to the lower extremities as a strike or takedown.

As a short range kick, the side kick may be used to foot sweep or hook behind the lead leg on the 'same side'. If this occurs, the kick can be sent under the opponent's legs to strike the knee of the back or support leg. Alternatively if the opposite leg is closest, the side kick can be applied to the outside of the opposite leg as a takedown of the opponent (like an Osotogari). Of course if any target is available, a short range side kick is a devastating and debilitating strike.

Check out Won-hyo's Side Kick for a more detailed analysis of the Taekwondo side kick as it is first introduced in our system. And if you're interested to read about defending or defence against the side kick, check out Taekwondo Side Kick Defence and Timing.

Related Side Kick Links
John Graden - Side kick on Youtube
How to Improve a Taekwondo Side Kick
How to Increase the Height of a Taekwondo Side Kick
Yul-guk: Side Kick and Cover


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BSM said…
Sabum v. 1 used to say "if you can kick high you can kick low." While I have great respect for Sabum v. 1 I have to disagree.

Sabum v2 and I once had a low kick week. I still remember how messed up we were and how we had to actually "think" about kicking mid-section to low. From spending at least two years on sparring drills that targeted chest and higher we found our kicks rising on their own.

This from a now-defunct-school that had one foot in tradition and one foot in WTF-style Taekwondo.

We did have a few knee level side kicks in our defense steps. However that notion never seemed to translate to the sparring.

Anyhow the side kick is one of my favorites. It's also a great "stop kick" if you target the hip/thigh joint and follow it up with a back fist or hammer strike to the head.

Alternately you can target the shins for a distraction and then follow up with hand techniques.

I can't help but take the Kung fu philosophy that I'm learning and apply it to techniques I've learned in Taekwondo. In comparing kicks I have to say that Taekwondo's are generally more powerful and faster than those of Praying Mantis--even if one does keep them low.
Colin Wee said…
It's very true - if you can physically kick high, you can kick low. But mentally, the adage is also true that you use what you train for. Most high kickers will tend to rely on zippy chest/head kicks because they can.

My school allowed black belts to kick *anywhere*. We aimed for the shins, the knees, the groin, the pelvis, the stomach, the chest, the head, etc. The rule we followed was we can hurt but we cannot injure -- we want our training partners to walk out on their own two feet at the end of training.

But yeah, there are secrets to be learned from low kicks - angles, speed, target, etc.

As for Taekwondo's kicks - I find basic kicks that are similar to Karate's much more powerful. Taekwondo's kicks ultimately accelerate really fast, but when you need real penetrative power, basics always deliver.

But for sneakiness ... can't go past Taekwondo.


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