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Front Kick

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May 2008


Introduction article to prepare for fundamental kicking continued, by Grandmaster Tony Vohra . Who is accredited by Kukkiwon World Taekwondo Headquarters as 8th Dan Black belt and a 1st class Instructor. Further articles will be done on a monthly basis.

In the last article I introduced some exercises to drive the knee up high, and outlined the importance of bringing your heel to your buttock (this is like a gun – cocked and ready to fire). I also gave you a leg – raising routine, which you should complete before attempting the exercises, I gave you this month. We are concentrating on the front kick. I intend to show;

a. How it should be executed.
b. How to practice the kick.
c. It’s applications and targets
d. An exercise routine to make your legs stronger and your technique better.

The front kick, delivered from the front leg or rear leg, is probably the first kick most of us have ever learnt. With the front kick, the body is forward, execution of the kick and the kicking foot is driven straight forward. For study, the front kick can be broken down in to its component movements. Remember, the most direct way to the target (from the floor, via ‘cocked’ position, then to the target) is the quickest way.front kick 1

1. The kicking leg is brought up in front of the body, bent at the knee, heel as close to the buttock as possible. The higher you want the kick, the higher you drive the knee up. Also the more ‘cocked’ the kicking leg is (including the foot pointed down), the stronger the kick will be.

2. The leg is extended to the target. Toes are pulled back and contact is made with the ball of the foot. (‘Cocking’ the leg also promotes more of a straight – through, penetrative force on contact, and makes correct foot positioning more instinctive). Variations of the front kick can be; a) hitting with pointed toes, the contact coming on the big toe (instead of the ball of the foot), for a more concentrated force or b) hitting with the heel. Some older martial artists may not be able to angle the foot down and toes up, so try hitting with the heel instead.

3. The kick is retracted in the same way – remember that this means ‘re-cock’ your leg, you may want to fire multiple kicks. Also, taking your leg back to the ‘cocked’ position will make sure you don’t put your foot down too close to your opponent where the leg or the rest of you could be vulnerable.
front kick 2
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When practicing kicks (remember to exercise ‘weakest’ foot first), develop the technique from the ground up. First, concentrate on foot positioning and the mechanics of the kick. Remember to try front leg kicking and rear leg kicking. Do this by supporting yourself with a hand on a wall whilst kicking. Then try reverse front kick, striking with your back leg. Then practice your technique in a mirror. Use your own reflection as a target. Where? Shin, knee, thigh, groin, solar plexus, neck and face (from the groin and up – attack the centreline), - the higher your target, the higher you must drive the knee. Do keep your guard up – whichever you favour – I like a forward guard and a centre of body line guard.

front kick 6
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Next, practice against a physical target (a punch bag), focus pad or even the wall. Concentrate on the impact, with the ball, toe or heel. How is the kick retracted? You can even try some multiple kicks. You will see that because of the emphasis on driving up the knee, at close range you can choose not to extend the kick and just knee (to hit the thigh, groin or trunk), or use your shin or instep for a groin attack. Then, you should try your kicks facing a partner: he/she should stand first ready position, then in the fighting stance. Look for your target; contact with your partner is not necessary. Accordingly, you and your partner should move about freely and you can engage in ‘one (kick) for one (kick)’ sparring. Keep looking and checking your own and each other’s technique. You can also develop front kicking skills and strengthen in every day life. When you face a flight of stairs, try springing up them quickly, a couple of steps at a time. Instead of bending down, squat instead, and spring up to standing again. There shouldn’t be a limit to your training or your art. Here is a great routine to develop and strengthen the muscles for front kicks. You can later do them unsupported from fighting stance. But now, just concentrate on the legs and foot positioning.
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1. Stand alongside a wall, with the hand closest to the wall on the wall to aid balance. The rest of your posture should be as close to a fighting stance (with the foot nearest the wall being the front foot), running parallel to the wall.

2. Exercise your weakest leg first! As you stand alongside the wall, your weakest leg is farthest away from the wall as is the rear leg in your fighting stance. Slowly bring your rear, outside leg up to the ‘cocked’ position and then extend it to full front kick. Keep it as high as you can and pay particular attention to foot position: foot down and toes right back. Hold it there for 10 seconds, and then retract the kick in the same manner as it was extended –slowly and with the correct technique. Turn around and repeat the procedure for the other leg. Work both legs three times. front kick 10

3. On to the second stage of the exercise. Stand as before and bring your rear leg up to the ‘cocked’ position. Then quickly extend it, breathing quickly out and then ‘re-cock’ the leg (breathing in). Do this 10 times in quick succession without dropping your knee down or replacing your kicking foot to the ground, and then fully retract the leg to return to fighting stance. Work both legs three times. This exercise will strengthen and lengthen the muscles using in front kick; from your abdomen to your toes. As your balance improves, you can take your hand from the wall to complete your guard. When you are more confident, just do the exercises facing a mirror. If holding for 10 seconds and doing 10 leg extensions becomes too easy, take the number up to 15 and then 20.

Grandmaster Tony Vohra (8th Dan)
Examiner in accordance with: Kukkiwon World Taekwondo Headquarters, 8th Dan and 1st Class Instructor.
Tony is availablefor seminars, gradings, demonstrations and affiliation at home or abroad.
Contact him with your thoughts or questions.
Grandmaster Vohra’s Academy,
International School of Martial Arts UK Headquarters,
Ilkeston Road,
Nottingham NG7 3FX England.
Telephone: +44 (0)115 9780439,
Facsimile: +44 (0)115 978 5567
Email: info@

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