TKD Sparring- Why aren't front kicks thrown?

KTricic

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While the simple answer to why front kicks aren't thrown is that the kick is usually done with the top of the foot and there isn't a scoring area for that kind of front kick. However if the toes are pulled back and the kick is executed with the ball of the foot being the point of impact would that score, especially if snapped back properly to distinguish between a pushing kick and front kick?
 

Gwai Lo Dan

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While the simple answer to why front kicks aren't thrown is that the kick is usually done with the top of the foot and there isn't a scoring area for that kind of front kick. However if the toes are pulled back and the kick is executed with the ball of the foot being the point of impact would that score, especially if snapped back properly to distinguish between a pushing kick and front kick?
I'm sure others are more insightful than me, but I'll throw in my 2 cents.

People say front kicks don't tend to score as well as turning kicks (sensors) or back kicks (more points).

I was a student previously at a school owned by a 2 time WTF world champion. He had a visitor at the school once who was a really big Korean guy. The visitor said his favourite kick was a push kick to the face. Since then, I've thrown push kicks to the body in fun school sparring; when people say that it doesn't score, I think "well, it would if I kicked you in the face".
 

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While the simple answer to why front kicks aren't thrown is that the kick is usually done with the top of the foot and there isn't a scoring area for that kind of front kick. However if the toes are pulled back and the kick is executed with the ball of the foot being the point of impact would that score, especially if snapped back properly to distinguish between a pushing kick and front kick?

Because Olympic-rules sparring is not TKD sparring. Those who use more than 10% of what TKD teaches will use front kicks.
 
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KTricic

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I'm sure others are more insightful than me, but I'll throw in my 2 cents.

People say front kicks don't tend to score as well as turning kicks (sensors) or back kicks (more points).

I was a student previously at a school owned by a 2 time WTF world champion. He had a visitor at the school once who was a really big Korean guy. The visitor said his favourite kick was a push kick to the face. Since then, I've thrown push kicks to the body in fun school sparring; when people say that it doesn't score, I think "well, it would if I kicked you in the face".

That makes a lot of sense. The sensors and points are a big draw back. Is the chin/face a valid scoring area or would it have to be the side/top/back of head that the helmet covers?
 

WaterGal

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Traditionally, the face has been a valid scoring area. But the new electronic head gear does not, apparently, pick up on face shots very well, so in tournaments that use them, it's apparently not really a valid scoring area anymore. At least according to folks on the USAT Facebook group, who complain about that A LOT.
 

Buka

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Welcome to MartialTalk, Ktricic, hope you enjoy it.

I think the answer to your question would be whether the ref saw it or not.

As to why not as many front kicks are used as opposed to other kicks in competition and/or sparring, I think it's due to the nature of a more sideways stance.
 

Metal

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I think there are two main reasons:

a) short range
Front kicks have a shorter range than roundhouse or sidekicks.

b) risk of injuring the toes
Even if people throw excellent front kicks and bend their toes back to properly kick with the ball of the foot, there is a way higher risk to injure the toes when the kick is blocked or when the opponent isnt hit properly.


Besides this, there are a few other aspects that come to my mind:

c) risk of being hit in the head with a roundhouse, hook or spinning hook kick while performing the front kick

When performing a front kick the body is upright and it gets way harder to duck, or lean back to keep the head out of the opponents kicking range. Even when keeping a proper guard during a front kick, chances of being hit or the number of accessible scoring areas for the opponent are higher compared to a roundhouse kick.

d) risk of loosing balance/falling

Due to the upright posture of the body and the position of the supporting foot/leg (with the knee facing about 45簞 away from the kicking leg) its more likely to be pushed over than when performing a kick where the supporting leg is turned further, with the knee facing 90簞 to 180簞degree from the target. If you monitor Taekwondo push kicks nowadays youll notice that nearly all athletes only use pushing sidekicks instead of the traditional push kick.

e) Scoring with the PSS

Front kicks hardly ever have been used before the introduction of the electronic Protector Scoring System though, so this isnt the main reason.
 

DaveB

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While the simple answer to why front kicks aren't thrown is that the kick is usually done with the top of the foot and there isn't a scoring area for that kind of front kick. However if the toes are pulled back and the kick is executed with the ball of the foot being the point of impact would that score, especially if snapped back properly to distinguish between a pushing kick and front kick?

Because the chest protector makes lifting the knee high enough awkward.

At least that's how it felt to me. Swinging the knee up for a push or chop was awkward but because of the imprecise and powerful nature of the swing it was easier to manage.

Before my back went, front kick was going to be my secret weapon at the London Olympics...
 

skribs

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For me, it's a few reasons (some of which were already mentioned):

1) Roundhouse kick is simply easier to use. It has longer range, it has a much bigger weapon to hit with, and it's easier to get your hips out the side of the chestguard.
2) Roundhouse kick combos better with other kicks, while front kick combos better with punches (in my opinion). Front pushing kick combos well with points, but pushing kicks don't score.
3) Roundhouse kicks tend to score based on sound, while front/side kicks score on sound and impact. A pushing kick or blocking kick doesn't usually score for a side kick. A side kick that makes a proper impact sound and knocks the opponent off-balance does. You would need to generate this kind of impact for the judges to rule a point.
4) Front-kick is a good kick on a soft target, like the nose, stomach, or groin. It's not as good on a padded target.
5) Roundhouse kick only has to defeat one hand. Front kick has to get between the hands.

Overall, I guess you can use it, and if you find a good opening, more power to you. But I'd rather use a punch (quicker and easier) to knock the wind out of the opponent and follow up with a roundhouse-back kick combo.
 

Balrog

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While the simple answer to why front kicks aren't thrown is that the kick is usually done with the top of the foot and there isn't a scoring area for that kind of front kick. However if the toes are pulled back and the kick is executed with the ball of the foot being the point of impact would that score, especially if snapped back properly to distinguish between a pushing kick and front kick?
If the front kick is hitting with the entire bottom of the foot, it's being done wrong. And front kick is one of my favorite sparring techniques.
 

granfire

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Hmm....
well, back in the day (have not trained in years, sooooo I am beyond rusty)

My school did not spar with chest protectors, so no limit on that end.
Front kicks were very well used - but a back leg kick has more power, as you swing it around.
But it is usually also telegraphed from all the way back there.

I used front kicks a lot
Actually disabled my sparing partner - unintentionally - one time, catching her with my big toe right there in the soft spot on the throat, below the adams apple, between the two collar bones.
She choked and coughed for a minute, scaring the life out of me!

It's a distance game:Front leg, back leg, hands.

But the olympic style seems to be more like a round house kick match.
Not much finesse.

BTW, the face , while a good target in real life - especially the nose (ask how come I know), we do have to go to work in the morning, getting your face smashed in playing isn't a valid option for most.
Head gear was a valid target, face not.
 

13thhr

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Front kicks always got a bad rap back in the day (at least in WTF style TKD) for, I think, a lot of the points that have been mentioned - no sound, toe mangling, leaving you square with your chest and face exposed, etc, but it always seemed to me that it was more political than anything - I.e. the referees wouldnt score it. Same with side kicks, even if they delivered the trembling shock impact you had to deliver before the electronic system was put in place. However, the push/cut kick was helpful in setting up other techniques. I always liked to aim for the leading hip to get the opponent turned a bit so his abdomen was more open.

So I think if you like it, train it anyway, since its not all about scoring points in matches. Figure out how to work it in to create your own signature. Mason Gibson made a career out of using things like lead leg side kicks, back kicks, and spinning back fists in kickboxing matches when many others jumped ship and went with a more Muay Thai approach. The front kick and push kick both have the advantage of being able to be done if if you dont have a lot of groin flexibility or are wearing pants that might limit range of motion of other kinds of kicks. Plus, the variations, like scooping and twist kicks are good to add to your arsenal.
 

pdg

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As alluded, I think it depends on your ruleset.

We use front kicks (snap and pushing), as well as side (pierce or push) and downward kicks too.
 
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