Checking my sidekick and some questions

Ivan

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Here is a video of me performing my sidekick. I do it with my right leg first (my stronger one) and then on my left. Apart from some constructive criticism on my technique I would like to ask some questions.

  • How far back (towards the root leg) should one lean back whilst doing a sidekick, and am I leaning too far back?
  • After analysing a couple of videos I filmed previously whilst practicing, I saw I would sometimes skip the chambering and just execute the kick. I feel like this is faster, but would you recommend I include the chamber as I have attempted to do so in The video?
Thank you all very much
 

dvcochran

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Here is a video of me performing my sidekick. I do it with my right leg first (my stronger one) and then on my left. Apart from some constructive criticism on my technique I would like to ask some questions.

  • How far back (towards the root leg) should one lean back whilst doing a sidekick, and am I leaning too far back?
  • After analysing a couple of videos I filmed previously whilst practicing, I saw I would sometimes skip the chambering and just execute the kick. I feel like this is faster, but would you recommend I include the chamber as I have attempted to do so in The video?
Thank you all very much

Ivan, you are getting close, especially with your right leg. Watch your knee motion with the right leg, it is very close to correct. You do not have this motion on your left leg.

I will try to break it down into component parts.

Since you mentioned the root leg lets start there first. This is a hard concept for some people to understand but you always want your hip (and subsequently your upper body mass) slightly Ahead of your standing foot. This is to ensure that your mass is forward biased into and through the kicking foot. Timing is paramount because you want the forward bias to occur as the kicking leg is moving forward.

You are throwing the kick from the lead leg. Looking at the video, it appears your body is not rotated over enough. This is all the way through your body, standing foot/knee, hips, shoulders. This is causing your kicking foot to end with the toes pointing Up. So you need to rotate everything over more to get the toes down so you can strike with just the heel. The will also properly align your body correctly. The kick should end with the body aligned from the kicking foot to the head; an integral line that promotes the creation of power from the whole body. In other words, do not fold your body in a 'V' at the hips causing all the generated power to abruptly end at the hip.
Remember a side kick is a linear kick, not a arcing kick like a round house. Think about the linear motion and also remember the primary muscle group for a side kick is the gluts, not the quads.

You technique is close on the right side. If you have a resistive target to practice on, post a video of you kick it. You should be able to 'feel' the power generation all the way through the body.

Good job.
 

CB Jones

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The sidekick is a big part of my son's sparring. Often times he will use it to control matches.

Its all about straight line power and speed.

One drill he does is swinging a heavy bag hard and sidekicking it as it swings back at him trying to fold the bag around his kick.
 

Buka

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Hi Ivan. I suggest doing that same drill you did, but throw your sidekick waist high. This is partially a tactical point but also applies to the technique side of things as you're throwing the kick higher than your current flexibility allows. From a self defense standpoint, you don't want to be throwing head high anyway. Sure, it can be done if flexibility allows, but it's not practical in the grand scheme of things.

You have to pay attention to the pivot of your base foot, it needs to pivot on the ball only. The video shows that your feet really don't want to pivot that way yet, but you have to make them.

The questions you posed -

  • How far back (towards the root leg) should one lean back whilst doing a sidekick, and am I leaning too far back?
There's one way to find out. Train the kick against active resistance, waist high. If you're leaning too far back you'll get the immediate feedback telling you so, because you'll go down on your butt.

After analysing a couple of videos I filmed previously whilst practicing, I saw I would sometimes skip the chambering and just execute the kick. I feel like this is faster, but would you recommend I include the chamber as I have attempted to do so in The video?


Pretty much the same answer as the first question. Practice it against resistant partners in your dojo.

You can either do it with them helping you, or do it without them knowing what you're trying to accomplish - by doing it while sparring against them. Cock it and lock it and dare them to come in. And keep throwing it, over and over, every single time they rush, even when you have better options. It's a great way to practice a stop hit. You'll get hit or run over sometimes, sure, but that's how you put that kick under a microscope.

That particular kick, when thrown waist/body/rib high, is what's called a stop hit in general. (It intercepts an incoming target) and a Defensive Sidekick in particular.

Once you get it down, let me know and I'll give you a great two man shield drill that will drastically change your ability to hit with that kick against active resistance.
 

CB Jones

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That particular kick, when thrown waist/body/rib high, is what's called a stop hit in general. (It intercepts an incoming target) and a Defensive Sidekick in particular.

I like it. In sparring, when Jake throws it shoulder high, it is easy to absorb and roll with so I can keep coming forward.

On the waistband....it digs in and folds me... stopping me from coming forward....or allows him to push back off and keep distance if I jam the kick.

And if I block it with my forearm.....oh, it hurts....that heel digs into that nerve and it is unpleasant.
 

dvcochran

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I like it. In sparring, when Jake throws it shoulder high, it is easy to absorb and roll with so I can keep coming forward.

On the waistband....it digs in and folds me... stopping me from coming forward....or allows him to push back off and keep distance if I jam the kick.

And if I block it with my forearm.....oh, it hurts....that heel digs into that nerve and it is unpleasant.

Geometry (height) and flexibility do play big roles. If you can watch him while sparring someone else see where his weight is distributed. It tends to be proportional to the height of the kick for most people but if he can get is weight forward it opens up the target options, plus puts mass into the kick.
One of my favorites with a lead leg side kick is to check it (what Buka calls a stop hit I believe) to stop most but not all of their forward motion, then rechamber the kick for an alternate target area (usually the head). It is sneaky hard because they are still moving forward.
It is also great way to get them to drop their arms, then the re-chamber gets the kick over their hands.
I do not know it this is something he practices but we actively practiced sliding the kick forward; driving the lead leg up so hard that you can quickly cover quite a lot of distance and still be in a good defensive posture.
 

CB Jones

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One combo Jake likes is.

Throw a 2 or 3 side kicks belt high...then chamber the kick but instead of throwing it, he quickly steps forward with his kicking leg and throws a jab + straight left hand.

He is quick with it...if they drop their hands to block the kick they can't block or counter the 1-2.
 

Buka

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As an aside, we threw so many variations of a sidekick, as well as various ways to counter, absorb, counter, weaken, counter, check, counter, jam etc....did I mention counter.....that I don't know if I could name them all.

The folks who trained me had some seriously nasty sidekicks. getting used to them was interesting. But against others going forward, especially in competitions, it almost wasn't fair. Almost. :)
 

isshinryuronin

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The first thing I noticed was what Buka pointed out - you're kicking too high for your current flex ability - simple height won't impress those who know better. Lower your kick for now and work on quality of power and better form. I also agree with dvcochran (the second thing I noticed) that you need more rotation, especially in the hips, for the reasons he mentioned.

Moreover, you need to lock that hip after rotating it - that's the "thrust" in a side thrust kick.

These deficiencies are glaring to an experienced eye. But, your post shows you suspect you have them which is the first step in correcting them. Objective self-evaluation and lack of ego are two of the most important things in learning karate (and most everything else, I imagine.) Take the pointers you've just read from the above posts and apply them. Good luck on your continuing journey.
 

Buka

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If I may point something out. When throwing the lead leg side kick, you have to be careful of the thrust and the turning over of the hip and shoulder.

Its fine when you KNOW you got him. But if youre just throwing it and thrust and turn over and DONT land it...a good counter fighter who has a quick close is going to eat you alive.

As they used to say on Hill Street Blues...lets be careful out there!
 
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Ivan

Ivan

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You have to pay attention to the pivot of your base foot, it needs to pivot on the ball only. The video shows that your feet really don't want to pivot that way yet, but you have to make them.
I have a follow up question on this. YYou mention I should only be pivoting on the ball of my foot. This is actually my natural habit. I spring up on the ball of my foot, like im walking tiptoed, and then pivot. However I like to chain multiple kicks, with one lift of the leg i.e. I lift my leg up, sidekick, hook kick, round kick, and then put it back down. I feel like it is easier to maintain balance while my foot is flat on the floor. Would you think it's a better idea to continue like this, or to instead pivot on the ball like you said, and learn to balance better?
 

dvcochran

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I have a follow up question on this. You mention I should only be pivoting on the ball of my foot. This is actually my natural habit. I spring up on the ball of my foot, like im walking tiptoed, and then pivot. However I like to chain multiple kicks, with one lift of the leg i.e. I lift my leg up, sidekick, hook kick, round kick, and then put it back down. I feel like it is easier to maintain balance while my foot is flat on the floor. Would you think it's a better idea to continue like this, or to instead pivot on the ball like you said, and learn to balance better?

I realize this was directed to Buka but this is a very interesting topic for me and I could not resist jumping in. My apologies to the both of you.

To be clear;
You pivot on the ball of the foot, throw a Rear leg kick, then put the root heel on the ground, and throw 2-3 successive but different kicks with the same leg while it is still in the air? Have you done this in application? There is a very limited set of circumstances that would make that applicable, the most common would be if your opponent is coming in hard. In other words, 2-3 successive kicks (not setups, fakes, or different targets) from a static position has very low usability. IF you are sliding the root leg, this is a different situation.

IF you are doing this for other practice reasons such as balance and leg strength/coordination it is a valid exercise. In this case, and with any kick for me, after I have completed the pivot, the heel usually lands back on the floor due to the counter-force of the kicking leg. Nothing at all wrong with that and quite normal.
It should never be too high off the floor in the first place as this increases the chance of an ankle twist and is bad mechanics. This makes me worry when you say you "spring up on the ball like walking tiptoed". This is Way too high and very prone to a twist/sprain. Remember, you are looking for Rotation Not Vertical movement. So the rotation and the 'spring' should be happening simultaneously. Actually. the chambering leg and torso should have already started the rotation just Before the heel is leaving the floor.
Also after rotation, with the heel lightly back on the floor it can create reach for the kick.

Chaining kicks is great; very good for sparring strategy but like I said there are few times you can kick the same leg from a static position, and it almost always requires some sort of setup from the kicker or is an opportunity created by the opponent.

Can you elaborate more about what you are doing/thinking?
 
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Ivan

Ivan

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I realize this was directed to Buka but this is a very interesting topic for me and I could not resist jumping in. My apologies to the both of you.

To be clear;
You pivot on the ball of the foot, throw a Rear leg kick, then put the root heel on the ground, and throw 2-3 successive but different kicks with the same leg while it is still in the air? Have you done this in application? There is a very limited set of circumstances that would make that applicable, the most common would be if your opponent is coming in hard. In other words, 2-3 successive kicks (not setups, fakes, or different targets) from a static position has very low usability. IF you are sliding the root leg, this is a different situation.

IF you are doing this for other practice reasons such as balance and leg strength/coordination it is a valid exercise. In this case, and with any kick for me, after I have completed the pivot, the heel usually lands back on the floor due to the counter-force of the kicking leg. Nothing at all wrong with that and quite normal.
It should never be too high off the floor in the first place as this increases the chance of an ankle twist and is bad mechanics. This makes me worry when you say you "spring up on the ball like walking tiptoed". This is Way too high and very prone to a twist/sprain. Remember, you are looking for Rotation Not Vertical movement. So the rotation and the 'spring' should be happening simultaneously. Actually. the chambering leg and torso should have already started the rotation just Before the heel is leaving the floor.
Also after rotation, with the heel lightly back on the floor it can create reach for the kick.

Chaining kicks is great; very good for sparring strategy but like I said there are few times you can kick the same leg from a static position, and it almost always requires some sort of setup from the kicker or is an opportunity created by the opponent.

Can you elaborate more about what you are doing/thinking?
For starters I like doing this because it requires a certain level mastery. I rarely use this in an attempt to land all the kicks. It's usually an adaptation to having missed a kick in sparring. So if I miss a sidekick to the head because the opponent dodged it, ill just retract my knee and turn it into a hook kicks. It's also good for double kicks like a double round kick or a hook kick into a roundhouse. It's also good for, as you mentioned, feints, which I love - my most succesful feints are the application of the question mark kick, front kick feint to round kick, and inside crescent kick feint to side kick.
 

Yokozuna514

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I'm a little late to this party but I watched your video and noticed a few things not mentioned above (all very good points by the way). If you look at your kick in the video there are two things that stand out to me:

The angle of your kicking foot is pointed slightly upwards instead of parallel to the floor or slightly downwards (preferable). This tell me that your hips are not in the right position and that your pivot foot is also not in the correct position. I think you will find if your pivot foot is pointing directly behind you in the opposite direction of your kick, your hips will get into the right position and so will your toes. This will allow you to hit the target with your heel or the blade of your foot.

The second thing I noticed is that you do not raise your knee high enough before you throw the kick. Try to think of raising your knee in front of you first, then extending your leg. That should help with the sequencing and eventual power of your kick.

As Buka and Isshinryu said before, waist height is a good place to practice this kick. Good luck.
 

paitingman

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Looking good! Keep stretching and drilling!
I recommend paying extra attention to how you chamber your knee. The first two kicks shown have sort of a downward facing knee, or you draw the knee backward. This almost always telegraphs a slow side kick or hook kick based on this chamber with upper body position.

I would try drilling the kick from a much higher chamber with your knee pointing more toward the ceiling, maybe holding the shin in front of you near 45 degree angle. Basic chamber. Hard to tell whether you're going low or high, going to throw out a roundhouse, axe kick, hook kick, side kick, some sort of stomp who knows. You can execute side kick from here with proper pivoting and upper body motion depending on how far you want/need to turn your foot over. Even if it's not for you, still good to practice kicks with your knee in different starting positions.

I've always like drilling while holding a chair or the wall and just keep repeating with rhythm or never placing the foot down. You can really play with what hip and upper body motion will deliver the kick from various position AND the subsequent motions to recover or rechamber.
 
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