Ego Trip Monthly

I'd like to share a thought on a recent issue (recent = less than two years
ago) of Black Belt Magazine I unfortunately perused in Barnes & Noble.

One cover article promised a "How To" on basic TaeKwonDo kicks. Since I'm a
black belt & always looking for better ways to improve not only my skills
but more importantly my ability to teach students, I figured this must be
worth a look.

I figured very wrong.

The writer (let's just call him "Skippy") - who also humbly volunteered his
face for the example photos - seemed to think every single martial artist
on the face of this earth possessed the ability of a complete 180 stretch.
Keep in mind this is supposed to be an article on basic kicks. Well, let me
be fair here & look up the definition of "basic"...

Basic (adj.): Of, relating to, or forming a base; fundamental

Aha! There it is. You reading that, Skippy? When you're talking about basic
kicks that means YOU. DEMONSTRATE. BASIC. KICKS. Not these ego tripping,
show off, I-don't-know-how-to-teach-kicks kicks.

Yes, I'm impressed you can kick Shaq in the head if the need ever arises.
Good luck getting past his bodyguards! I'm not impressed that you clearly
didn't have the humility to use your rather paltry example of fame to
actually teach basic kicks. That's an all too typical disservice to the
martial arts that promotes negative stereotypes in the minds of non-martial
artists (e.g. - like perpetuating the belief that all black belts are
deadly weapons. what hooey!).

Anyway, who would I be to complain if I didn't offer a "better" (IMAO)
example of the three basic kicks in the article? The kicks covered are
Front, Side & Roundhouse kicks. All have their own practical application &
can be very effective when used & executed properly.

Front Kick - As the name implies you're coming right up front with this
technique. Common targets can be the shin/knee (low), groin/stomach
(middle), or head (high). The first motion - keep your hands up! - is to
get your knee out there & set up the kick. The front kick is a "snap" kick
that relies on the reflexive motion of the knee joint for it's speed AND

After the knee comes up, you'll snap the kick out to the target. The foot
should be pointed with toes pulled back. This helps your range while
protecting the most vulnerable part of the foot. Also, the ball of the foot
is the ideal striking surface since it's hard & can take an impact well.

Side Kick - There are noticeable similarities to the front kick on this
technique. However, it's important to remember that this is often a "power"
kick that uses the motion of your hip for its effectiveness. Targets
include knee/thigh (low), ribs/stomach (middle), or head (high). Speed,
while possible, isn't the forte of this technique.

You're bringing your knee up & at the same time pivoting on the ball of
your standing foot. The idea is to get the knee up high as reasonably
possible (keep your balance, though!) to allow for the full rotation of the
hip. This will allow you to utilize most of your body for power. When your
leg snaps out to the target, your hip should completely turn over to
release all the energy of the kick. It's also important to pivot so your
standing heel is facing the target. This helps prevent injury.

Roundhouse Kick - Ah, the bread & butter of kicking. This one has more
speed than a side kick & still maintains decent power on the delivery. The
kick can be performed with toes held back (for harder targets) or pointed.
This kick also lends itself to combinations. Similar to the other kicks
targets include knee/thigh (low), stomach/ribs (middle), or chest/head
(high). The nice part of this technique is how easily it can be disguised
as a front kick.

You'll bring the knee up just like a front kick & pivot on your standing
heel as you snap the kick to the target. The heel will turn most of the way
to point at the target but it's not as pronounced as the side kick. The
hips should turn over slightly to follow through with the kick. This is
probably the most used kick in sparring but requires quite a bit of work to
get it right.

I hope that helps for those of you interested in kicks. I don't profess to
be an expert of any sort though I have experience & a considerably smaller
ego than the glory-hounds you see in some finer publications.

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