Universal Formula for Powerful Kicks

dancingalone

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This is the checklist I make my students memorize and recite on demand. It's the 4 keys that are most important in my opinion.

1) Take a full chamber on your kicks. Shortening the chamber might increase speed but it WILL lessen the power delivered.

2) Harden your foot and make sure you are using the correct part of the foot to kick with. It is a common beginner's mistake to not properly shape their striking surface so that the impact occurs over a much larger surface of your foot than it needs to be. This dissipates force and might cause injury to yourself.

3) Engage as much of your hips as you can into the kick. This is self-explanatory. Engaging the hips means you are projecting more mass behind the blow.

4) Kick with as much speed as you can. Another obvious remark. I tell my students ANYONE can kick twice in two full seconds. If they can't do that, their technique is likely flawed and will need correction.


Anyone have any comments or anything further to add?
 

terryl965

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So many just do not chamber there kicks, this to me is the one factor that can never be tought enough.
 

igillman

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I would add, "Have a good anchor point.". I see a lot of people try to side kick a bag and push themselves backwards. They do not have a very good anchor point and so when the bag puts up some resistance to being moved the force of their kick is driven backwards into them instead of forwards into the bag. If they anchor themselves properly then all of the kicking force will go forward into the bag.

I would also add, "Commit to the kick.". How many times have you seen half-hearted kicks? Or kicks where the kicker is obviously expecting some sort of counter attack and so does not put much effort into the original kick?
 

Bill Mattocks

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Also kick deeply and kick into the right target. In Isshin-Ryu, we do a lot of groin kicks. We do not kick the testicles, which people often assume is the target. We kick the groin, which is up and behind the testicles. This is intended to collapse the pelvic bone. The testicles just happen to be in the way.

We do practice the fully-chambered kick. The front kick is delivered with full power and a snapping motion, returning it to full chamber before setting down; ideally another kick can be delivered from the same position if desired. So it is fast and it retracts fast, but it is delivered deeply into the target.

Just my 2 cents as a newbie.
 

Sukerkin

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Can you chaps define for me what you mean by 'chamber' in the context of TKD? I believe I understand but it'd be great to hear from those 'in the know'.
 
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dancingalone

dancingalone

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Can you chaps define for me what you mean by 'chamber' in the context of TKD? I believe I understand but it'd be great to hear from those 'in the know'.

It's the loading motion where you raise and cock the kicking knee up before launching it out. Below is an video which breaks down the kicking process quite well for the side kick.

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You did a Chinese style for a while right, Sukerkin? It's been my observation that many Chinese styles don't utilize as full of a chamber if at all on the front, roundhouse, and side kicks.
 

bluekey88

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Proper use of tension and relaxartion.
--relax what can be rlaxe as the kick is delivered. This aids in speed/
--tense the body (particualrly) the core at the moment of impact (just like in a punch).

--Immediately relax again to quickly re-chamber and set up the next kick.

Deveolp a strong core for fast/powerful kicks.

Peace,
Erik
 

Sukerkin

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Aye, good memory there Dancing :tup:. In my old kung fu days, clear 'chambering' was actively discouraged as it gave 'the game away' with regard to what was coming next. Mind you, watching the video, things don't look an awful lot different from what I recall all those years ago, other than the turning of the supporting foot the 'wrong' way :lol:.

Thank you for the confirmation and explanation of how TKD approaches it. Much obliged.
 

ATC

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...'chambering' was actively discouraged as it gave 'the game away' with regard to what was coming next.

...things don't look an awful lot different from what I recall all those years ago, other than the turning of the supporting foot the 'wrong' way :lol:.
???
 

zDom

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Aye, good memory there Dancing :tup:. In my old kung fu days, clear 'chambering' was actively discouraged as it gave 'the game away' with regard to what was coming next.

Consider taking it to the extreme: if you don't chamber at all, you don't have a strike: you have a post you hope they run into :)

Imagine a baseball (or cricket) batter simply holding his stick out in front of the pitch :) Or swinging it forward only an inch or two.

The larger the chamber, the more the kicker (or puncher, for that matter) is engaging the muscles to accelerate the weapon to the target.

That said,

in Moo Sul Kwan we TRAIN extremely large motions. By doing so, we are training the muscle in its entire range of motion for that movement.

During the stress of combat, competition or sparring, however, I may actually end up using a smaller motion.

But on the other hand, we are talking about fractions of seconds in the difference it takes for using a maximum chamber technique vs minimal chamber technique. If you have done things well (via feint, combination, whatever) you can still land those maximized motions and make very, very big BOOM into target.




As far as the original post: something else to consider is

removing any extraneous motions which do not contribute to adding power/speed to the kick;

maintaining a pure direction of motion perpendicular to impact, when possible. For example, if a kicker is able to get his ankle as high as his knee for the chamber on a waist-high side kick, it is going straight in toward target instead of moving toward the target AND rising from lower than target to target level.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I might also say that a chambered front kick looks the same to the aggressor no matter if you are doing (sorry, Isshin-Ryu terms) mae-geri, shoba-geri, mae-konate, or shoba-konate. In other words, seeing the knee come up and chamber doesn't 'give the game away' as you might be launching any of four different kicks from it. One can even do multiple kicks from the chamber, such as a front snap kick (mae-geri) and then without setting the leg down, open the hip, pivot on the planted leg, and deliver a back kick to the front.

No offense to anyone's style, but it does not seem to me that a chambered kick gives anything away. For me, being slow and sloppy gives away a lot, but proper technique in chambering doesn't. I just work on being faster and cleaner in my application of the technique.

My biggest issue with kicking is distancing myself. We practice and because kicks can be so devastating, we kick hard against a bag or lightly against an uke. When sparring, I find my kicks to be weak and ineffectual, even though I am a big guy with strong legs. Mostly because I'm not getting into the target area, I'm aiming too far out. A 'gi pop' is not really the goal when kicking in self-defense!
 

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... I just work on being faster and cleaner in my application of the technique....

I agree with Bill. I think good chambering makes you faster and cleaner.

Poor chambering leaves kicks unable to reach, underpowered, slow, awkward, and possibly damaging to the kicker's joints and tissues.

Correct chambering is simply the most mechanically efficient and sound way to load the kick to the point of explosion. It is NOT extra or inefficient when done right.

Carl
 
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Marginal

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No offense to anyone's style, but it does not seem to me that a chambered kick gives anything away. For me, being slow and sloppy gives away a lot, but proper technique in chambering doesn't. I just work on being faster and cleaner in my application of the technique.

It's also been my experience that at close range, a chambered kick is fairly hard to see. (Especially if you're setting it up with your hands or not showing obvious telegraphs like flopping backwards etc *before* you throw the kick.)

My biggest issue with kicking is distancing myself. We practice and because kicks can be so devastating, we kick hard against a bag or lightly against an uke. When sparring, I find my kicks to be weak and ineffectual, even though I am a big guy with strong legs. Mostly because I'm not getting into the target area, I'm aiming too far out. A 'gi pop' is not really the goal when kicking in self-defense!

Always aim for the spine. Unless you're kicking them in the back. Then aim for the belly button.
 

Touch Of Death

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So many just do not chamber there kicks, this to me is the one factor that can never be tought enough.
Not to argue :)ultracool) but chambering kicks is for the location of the target and placement of your weapon at that target. Chambering will create a larger circle for development of speed and power but do you need that big circle everytime?
Sean
 

Touch Of Death

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I might also say that a chambered front kick looks the same to the aggressor no matter if you are doing (sorry, Isshin-Ryu terms) mae-geri, shoba-geri, mae-konate, or shoba-konate. In other words, seeing the knee come up and chamber doesn't 'give the game away' as you might be launching any of four different kicks from it. One can even do multiple kicks from the chamber, such as a front snap kick (mae-geri) and then without setting the leg down, open the hip, pivot on the planted leg, and deliver a back kick to the front.

No offense to anyone's style, but it does not seem to me that a chambered kick gives anything away. For me, being slow and sloppy gives away a lot, but proper technique in chambering doesn't. I just work on being faster and cleaner in my application of the technique.

My biggest issue with kicking is distancing myself. We practice and because kicks can be so devastating, we kick hard against a bag or lightly against an uke. When sparring, I find my kicks to be weak and ineffectual, even though I am a big guy with strong legs. Mostly because I'm not getting into the target area, I'm aiming too far out. A 'gi pop' is not really the goal when kicking in self-defense!
My only retort to this is that you don't need to bring your knee high to chamber; so, I agree with you about chambering but we probably disagree about how to chamber a kick.
Sean
 

seasoned

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Pertaining to the front kick and the round house kick, the chamber is also a knee kick. This is how I teach it to beginners. The chamber also serves as a cover just before your kick. Going back to the OP, low kicks are stronger then higher ones.
 

Bill Mattocks

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My only retort to this is that you don't need to bring your knee high to chamber; so, I agree with you about chambering but we probably disagree about how to chamber a kick.
Sean

Since this is in the TKD forum, I can't possibly dispute how TKD kicks should be. I only happened to read the OP and responded to it based on my own (beginner) understanding of Isshin-Ryu chambered kicks.

I found this description of the chamber for Isshin-Ryu kicks online, and it quite resembles what I've been taught. I post this only for explanation, not to claim it's the 'right way' to chamber a kick for anyone else:

http://www.fitzgeraldisshinryu.com/contentpages/Basics.html

Front Snap Kick: Bring the right leg up so the knee is at groin level. The right leg is snapped out and back with the toes curled back, striking with the ball of the foot. The leg is never fully extended. The kick is brought back to the chamber as fast as possible.

Our sensei teaches us that during the 'chamber', the leg is tucked as far in as possible, or as he puts it, "Try to kick yourself in the rear with your heel." We don't hold it that way; the moment it's chambered, it's delivered with force. We also do not kick above the obi, so that may have something to do with it.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Pertaining to the front kick and the round house kick, the chamber is also a knee kick. This is how I teach it to beginners. The chamber also serves as a cover just before your kick. Going back to the OP, low kicks are stronger then higher ones.

My sensei agrees. Also says that low kicks are harder to see coming, harder to block, and easier for the kicker to recover from.
 

StudentCarl

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3) Engage as much of your hips as you can into the kick. This is self-explanatory. Engaging the hips means you are projecting more mass behind the blow.

Going back to the OP: I totally agree with the focus on hips, but want to add a comment. With team members sparring, the weak kicks I see are often from poor balance, often from bad stance or posture (leaning).
Hip power comes originally from the ground, so balance (stance and movement) is fuel for the hips as you learn to use 'em.
 
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