Taekwondo Side Kick Retraction

The prevailing wisdom with kicks is that for most kicks (especially the basic traditional kicks) once extended, the leg is recoiled back along the same path. This means that you don't send the foot out and then change angle in mid-air. This of course can be done, I have myself done this in sparring for kicks that were not always fully committed in order to chamber the kick mid air and send the striking leg out again. However, this is not the same for do-or-die basic kicks. With 100% power, the torque and the vibrational force if not dissipated correctly, recoils back along the skeletal structure. It typically comes back for the first major joint - your knee, but the vibration is equally happy going for your hip, neck or your support knee. Last Sunday I was practicing side kicks with my 6th kyu, and I was noticing that the kick did not seem to be coming back along the same path. It seemed more or less correct but right in the end, it looked flappy and 'wrong.' After some experimentation, we came to the conclusion that for that specific side thrust kick (the lower limb rises towards the point of impact), the kick is pushed out with the large muscles of the leg - gluts and hamstrings. It's hard to control the retraction or recoil, and some people would relax the hip and retract it using the smaller quads and hip extensor muscles. This kick requires leg muscle retraction to power the leg back to the chambered position next to the support leg. This is the best way to return your body to a 'ready' position, or to allow you to re-engage the use of your hands to counter.

Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

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Lisa Giraf said…
Great article. Very informative and helpful. I will use this in my own school. Graf's ATA Martial Arts
Colin Wee said…
Cheers Lisa. Thanks for stopping by. BTW - you've got a nice site. Colin

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