Back kick-strike with heel or foot sword?

Claire

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Hi,

Please help me with this. I am blue belt and have always practiced back kick as striking with foot sword (like side kick) but then read recently in a TKD book that the heel is the striking area for back kick. This felt better, more natural and more powerful to me but my instructor says it should be a foot sword strike. I have spoken to a couple of Black Belts from other clubs who say the heel so find it odd that my instructor has a different method. Any input/opinions are very much appreciated. Thanks.
 

CDKJudoka

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In our dojang, the striking portion on the foot used, is the heel. We also use the heel on Side kicks as well as the blade of the foot.
 

StuartA

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Not sure about other styles, but if your from a Ch'ang Hon/ITF based club, there are actually 2 kicks refered to as 'back kick'.

Back kick 1 is actually a 'Back Piercing Kick' and this uses the heel end of the foot sword. Similar in end product to a side kick and often called a spinning side kick in some systems. Terminlogy is Dwit cha Jirugi

Back Kick 2 is a proper back kick & thrusts straight back with no spin, an uses the heel (bottom part).

There is also a back snap kick which comes straight up behind (think donkey) and this uses back heel (Dwitchook),

Maybe this is the confusing bit as it seems certain people are talking about either of the first 2 kicks interchangerbly.

Stuart
 

Daniel Sullivan

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We differentiate between a back kick and a back side kick. In a back kick, it is the heel. With a back side kick or a regular side kick, it is either the heel or the edge of the foot. Kind of splitting hairs, I know, but that is how I was taught.

Daniel
 

Flying Crane

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If you strike with the sword edge of the foot, then you are opening your hip and the kick actually becomes a variant of a side kick.

If you keep your hips square and drive straight back, striking with the heel of the foot, toes pointing at the floor, you are doing a proper back kick.

If you have been doing a lot of side kicks and have not distinguished the two, then you might have a tendency to keep turning the back kick into a side kick. I suggest you take some time and really analyze what you are doing, and make the back kick a proper back kick. This means really pay attention to your hips, and make sure they are really squared up. If your foot is turning out, that means your hips are opening up and are not squared anymore.

Hips squared, toes pointing at the floor, strike goes straight back.

In my opinion, once you really nail the back kick, you will find that it is much more powerful and stable than a side kick.
 

clfsean

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In my days in TKD it was heel (back kick/side kick) or ball of the foot (front kick or round kick).
 
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Claire

Claire

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Thanks Flying Crane,

Your reply makes complete sense to me and I really can't understand why my instructor would say "foot sword". (?)

I have just tried it with my toes pointing downwards and what a difference that makes! Helps 100% in keeping the hips square and shoulders too. I was always twisting around previously. Thank-you!
 

terrylamar

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If you strike with the sword edge of the foot, then you are opening your hip and the kick actually becomes a variant of a side kick.

If you keep your hips square and drive straight back, striking with the heel of the foot, toes pointing at the floor, you are doing a proper back kick.

If you have been doing a lot of side kicks and have not distinguished the two, then you might have a tendency to keep turning the back kick into a side kick. I suggest you take some time and really analyze what you are doing, and make the back kick a proper back kick. This means really pay attention to your hips, and make sure they are really squared up. If your foot is turning out, that means your hips are opening up and are not squared anymore.

Hips squared, toes pointing at the floor, strike goes straight back.

In my opinion, once you really nail the back kick, you will find that it is much more powerful and stable than a side kick.

To make it easier for my students, for the back kick I tell them to turn 180 degrees, look over their shoulder and make sure, with their kicking leg, the knees brush together, as opposed to a spinning side kick where they open their hip up, knees apart and turn 270 degrees. This seem to help everyone grasp the concept quickly.
 

Tez3

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To make it easier for my students, for the back kick I tell them to turn 180 degrees, look over their shoulder and make sure, with their kicking leg, the knees brush together, as opposed to a spinning side kick where they open their hip up, knees apart and turn 270 degrees. This seem to help everyone grasp the concept quickly.

Thats how I was taught to do it, we were also told that if looking over your shoulder is difficult you could aim your bum at the target which is what I do as I have a slight balance problem, works a treat.
 

Flying Crane

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Thanks Flying Crane,

Your reply makes complete sense to me and I really can't understand why my instructor would say "foot sword". (?)

I have just tried it with my toes pointing downwards and what a difference that makes! Helps 100% in keeping the hips square and shoulders too. I was always twisting around previously. Thank-you!

You are welcome, glad you could see the difference so clearly.
 

zDom

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For what it's worth, in the TKD I used to train and the HKD I'm training now, we NEVER use the blade of the foot *always the bottom side of the heel for all variants of back and side kicks.
 

terrylamar

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For what it's worth, in the TKD I used to train and the HKD I'm training now, we NEVER use the blade of the foot *always the bottom side of the heel for all variants of back and side kicks.

I don't go quite that far, but tell students if they emphasize the heel in a side kick, their bodies will be better aligned. Especially those students that side kick with the V shape.

Proper alignment will give you a more solid kick and you will find you are projecting more of your energy into your target rather than it rebounding into the kicker and throwing the kicker off balance.

An easy way to tell when using a target shield, is who moves, the kicker or the target holder.
 
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