A Picture Perfect Sidekick

Sidekick. Side Snap Kick. And Side Thrust Kick.

I usually refrain from talking about 'angles' or prescriptive guidelines for techniques. I've had this long held belief that banging on about angles and measures makes for a short-sighted practitioner. In fact my preference is to teach utility to the student, and for that utility to then guide the framework of their form. Basically ... make it work and then finesse it later.

Also, a 'how to' or 'what is' video like this opens me up to criticism from every person who has an opinion of how things ought to be. Then it's a tug of war between whom isn't ready to concede, or whom is in a larger organisation, or whom has more time at the keyboard, or whom has submitted a better kickpic photo.

Anyway ... here's me throwing out a few side kicks so we could clarify these techniques for grading. Beyond that however, we use these side kick techniques through different taekwondo applications to defend against attacks, to strip the opponent's cover, as takedowns, as strikes, and as counters. As we apply the side kick against a dynamic opponent, the kick itself varies, and thus these labels and their prescribed angles become only the preamble to something more.

What I would like to say about the sidekick:
  • It is the most photographed technique
  • People love to use it to kick that heavy bag to make it fly
  • A sidekick to make that heavy bag move is not the best way to apply this kick
  • But it is the best way to get photographed with it in the air ... 

To ramp up striking power, the insight I have from using a strike post is to make sure that you are transmitting mass at the point of impact to deliver power into a target. It requires a knowledge of form to support the strike, of body dynamics in order to engage the entire body, and of kinetic chaining. Kinetic chaining is to link as much of your body structure, and to use that movement in order to support the end strike.

If you time it right, the entire body generates movement and acceleration to strike the target all at once. It makes the strike 'pop' on the target. If you don't time it right, you dissipate this movement across time and space. While that bag looks like it moved a great distance - what really happened is you only succeeded in pushing it, rather than deliver maximum power into the striking area.

Michael Jae White hit it on the head when he asked whether you wanted to push your opponent or finish your opponent. It's all about time and space, isn't it? You need to deliver the power stroke when you want to deliver it. Not just to hold it there, or push through the target.

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