Taekwondo Front Kick Equilibrium and Technique

Last night, amongst other things, I was drilling my taekwondo yellow belt on the basic front kick from Taekwondo Pattern Do-san. We were working striking an opponents body behind the cover provided by the front arm. As a beginner was performing the kick, I noticed disequilibrium occurring in the front kick. Essentially, the body was jerking forward in an attempt to balance out the weight of the kick as it was being lifted up. The front kick was inefficient, and had to be modified.

My thinking was to first get the front kick practiced with a more relaxed manner than previously done by this student. A body that is too tensed means a student wasting too much power and who's probably going to be too tired to concentrate on minor changes. A taekwondo student trying too hard at any drill is not in the best mental state to accept changes to his form.

My next instruction was to get him to lift up his knee and balance himself out. I called this a 'balance point.' What I wanted was for him to remain relaxed, go for the balance point - with body just slightly held back, hip slightly rotated on the vertical, and with knee held out. I said to forget about the kick, get to the balance point whilst calibrating on the target. The focus on the target will eventually get him to send the hip out and land the front kick on the striking zone.

Focus too much on the 'end bit' of the entire weapon and you forget that karate or taekwondo is driven by the entire body. Most taekwondo beginners and intermediate students just forget all about how power is generated - through the mass shifted by legs and hips. The structure of the body then transmits this power into the striking tool. Many taekwondo beginners think just on the end bit of their weapon. And invariably only can perform up to the strength of their arm or leg. More advanced taekwondo students strike with their entire body and can generate lots more striking force with much less effort.

There were a few other fine tuning points that I discussed - pertaining to the support foot. The weight has to tend towards the ball of the foot rather than be left on the heel. The support foot should also provide support. Just because a more adept kicker looks pretty relaxed doesn't mean there's a deficit of optimal tension. Tension is always there, but when it's balanced out, the tension is there appropriately to support the forward striking force. No tension and the kicker will fly backwards. That's NOT traditional taekwondo. :-)


-- 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. Connect with Colin on FaceBook and Traditional Taekwondo Group on FB.


Mr. Josh said…
Great post Colin! I too have seen this same problem in my beginner students. I try to get them to visualize relaxing from their shoulders first, it seems to help a lot of them. I really like the idea of the "balance point" in the front kick as being with the knee up. This would get them to also relax into the kick, correct? Again, great post. Thank you very much.
Colin Wee said…
Josh - thank you for the compliment. I don't know what I was smoking but that post was written so poorly - so I've taken the opportunity to correct some grammar and help it flow a little better. Glad you could make head or tail of what I was trying to get at. BTW - I was just watching part of a video of Bill Wallace giving a kicking seminar last night. He was brilliant. In it he was saying most people who try to kick are wasting a lot of their energy. His idea is that why should you put so much power if you're not going to hit an opponent - my thoughts exactly! But as you probably know, many beginners love to 'kick ass' and look like they've got lots of power behind their kicks. It makes coaching them a lot more difficult, doesn't it? Colin

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