Tekki: Low Side Kick to the Knee

Tekki Low Side Kick

The second step in Tekki after the leg cross is a knee lift, stomped into a horse stance. We have been taking this, aside from the takedown aspect, using it as an opportunity to practice a low side kick towards the knee. Variations introduced means my veteran students are required to dish out 'regular' side kicks with knee brought up and heel extended into the target.

Low Side Kick Problem

Last night however, instead of a 'snapping,' 'thrusting,' or 'penetrative' side kick, I saw a 'wobbling' side kick. From the angle I was looking at, it seemed very much like a side kick. But rather than strike the kick shield as a punctuated piston-like battering ram, it 'flipped out,' it was non-solid, was held out a little longer than needed, and then dropped rather straight legged to the ground.

Troubleshooting the Low Side Kick

I finally figured out that while the large motions were more or less correct, that wobbling low side kick was done primarily with the quads - and the leg was 'extended' into the target. Thus sometimes the foot seemed to leave the kick shield looking rather ballerina-like. Also the kick shield would rotate more often towards the front of the kicker's body, rather than rotate towards the back.

I suggested the following: 1. rotating the body away from the target in order to focus on the large gluteus maximus muscle. 2. Calibrating the heel as the point to contact the striking surface. 3. To keep the kicking knee closer to the support leg and lifting the heel towards the target (rather than raising the knee up and 'shooting' it out). I would further suggest to have only a slight lean away from the target rather than perpendicularly from the target, but that wasn't much of an issue last night.

The anecdote used was the stomping motion you use when you're flattening a can. You need to crush the empty can straight into the floor, and you thrust out with your heel as you drop your butt down towards the can. Now you think of tilting the can away from you ... in the air. Maybe 45 degrees. You also tilt that 45 degrees so you recreate the sane stomping motion but now in the air at 45 degrees. Now just put the can on the knee and away you go!

Another problem was that the kicker's body would rise when kicking, and then fall away from the target as he made contact. The side kick is a very powerful weapon. You should feel a connection with the ground - sink your weight and surge toward the target. If any falling (off your previous COG) is to occur, it should be towards the target after you kick it.

More links to troubleshoot your side kick:

Side Kick Variations

Our back kick comes from a low angle off the ground, with kicking knee held close to the support knee while the heel is brought up from below to point at the target. We keep the kicking knee very close to the support knee - and the kicking foot is almost vertical to the ground, with a similar body position as shown above. Contrast this with our side 'penetrating' kick which comes out at the side, aligned to the body, but bearing 135 degrees from the kicker's face - almost like what is shown above but without so much of that body turn. The side 'snap' kick comes out at a 45 degree bearing towards the front of the body - and this yoko geri uses different muscles to the other side kicks described.

Counter Back Kick from Blue Wave Taekwondo Blog
Check this excellent footage out from Gordon White. Now, from a basics perspective, some of these are what I described as back kicks (0.04 sec, 0.07), and some some of them are back turning side kicks (0.11 sec, 0.16 sec, 0.19, 0.28sec). The back turning side kicks (as well as the Happy Birthday variation) are still extremely powerful and excellent weapons - as you can see from the footage. The variation comes from the speed of the turn - the knee is picked up in order that circumfrential force is sent into the kick, and the hip turns in order to get greater distance.


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