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Improving Your Kicking Technique

I’m trying to find the exercises my trainer had me do to practice proper kicking technique.  I found the following instructions on various sites.

The key to the exercise is to break the kick down into its component parts and to practice it slowly.

  1. First raise your knee, hold it
  2. extend the leg, hold it,
  3. lower the leg but keep your knee up, hold it,
  4. lower your leg back to where you started.

These positions should all be held for several seconds each (holding them longer can help build tendon strength). You can practice all your kicks using this method.

The Sanda Sidekick:

Breaking the kick down into its component parts helps you master the mechanics of it, and helps to prevent sloppy technique.  It makes the difference between what is little more than a quick sideways leg raise instead of a good high sidekick. 

Focus just beyond the edge of your foot (which should be through the other side of the target). While focus is paramount, you’ll need to strengthen tight/weak muscles. If you cannot kick at a height that satisfies you, then back off a little and perfect your kick at a lower level, then gradually work your way up in height.

Here’s a step by step description of the Sanda sidekick (all of it is excellently illustrated in the video that follows):

Before throwing the kick:  Stand in your proper fighting stance with your target in front of you.

  • Step One
    • Lift your lead leg upwards, slightly past center-line as if you are checking a low kick coming from the opposite side.
    • Do not turn your body sideways as you initially lift your leg. This is unnecessary movement and will telegraph the kick.
    • Bend your ankle so that you can land the strike with your heel – not the sole or the blade of the foot.
    • To get extra range on your sidekick, shuffle your planted foot forward as you throw the kick. Make sure the planted foot drives down when the kick lands.
      To get extra range on your sidekick, shuffle your planted foot forward as you throw the kick. Make sure the planted foot drives down when the kick lands.
  • Step Two
    • Chamber your kicking leg higher so that your shin is parallel to the ground.
    • Simultaneously turn your body sideways.
    • Turn the foot of your supporting leg so that your heel is pointing towards your opponent.
  • Step Three
    • Kick straight out, thrusting with the power of your hips as well as with both your legs.
    • As the kick lands, push into the ground with the ball of your panted foot. This will drive the force of your kick from the target into the ground.
    • Your leg muscles should only be tensed when your kick is fully extended.
    • The heel of your planted foot should be pointing in the same direction of the kick.
    • Don’t lean your body weight away from the target. You want your entire momentum to be driven forward into your opponent.
    • To add extra distance and power, shuffle your supporting foot towards the target as the kick is being delivered. Do this by propelling your entire body weight forward with the momentum of your kick. Land your shuffling foot at the same time the kick hits the target.
  • Step Four
    • Re-chamber your leg towards your chest. Your shin should be parallel to the ground as it is being retracted.
    • Don’t drop your leg directly to the ground after kicking. Always re-chamber your leg as you will be vulnerable to counter-striking and kick catch techniques. This is especially important in MMA, since it will be easy for your opponent to catch your kick and take you down.
    • It’s also important to keep your heel pointed at the target as you retract your kick so that you are in position to fire another quick kick in case your opponent tries to close the distance for a take-down.
  • Step Five
    • Place your kicking leg back on the ground as you square up to your fighting stance and re-establish your guard.

Watch this video!  Jason Yee, the instructor, is terrific.

(Jason Yee demonstrates techniques for the Sanda Sidekick as well as a few exercises to build strength in order to perform the maneuver.) The Sanda Sidekick –