Friday, August 8, 2014

Kicking Some More

By Erik Albrechtson, 5th dan

Taken from a kicking class for upper belts at the AMASEA National Convention.

Black Belt Jump Kicks in New Zealand
Taekwondo is the Korean art of smashing with the bare feet and hands.  In Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo we do a variety of strikes and blocks with our hands, but we still love to kick.  Our legs are bigger, stronger and longer so they are wonderful tools for our self-defense arsenal.  Unfortunately, they are further from the brain so they are harder to use; fortunately that means we get to practice more to master them!

Each time you kick, you are using muscles from your legs, hip and core.  Developing and learning each kick will take many repetitions as you train your body- there are 13 muscles in your leg alone!   Many tens of thousands of repetitions will be need to be performed to master each kick, and even then constant practice will be needed to remain in top form.

In Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo, we have three basic kicks: front kick, roundhouse kick, and side kick. These three kicks are practiced in every class we do and provide a solid foundation for all of our other kicks.

In addition to the three basic kicks, there are a handful of other kicks we perform, including: back kick, hook kick, crescent kick, ax kick, and twist kick.  These kicks are built off the solid foundation laid by our basic kicks, and give us a greater variety of kicks that vary in speed, power and direction.

In further addition, we can modify each of our basic and advanced kicks to another level to accommodate a variety of situations.  These alterations include: defensive kicks, spinning, jumping, switching, flying, double kicks, twin kicks, and kicking from different angles (e.g. downward hook kick). Just adding one of these modifications to our basic and advanced kicks gives us nearly sixty four kicks at our disposal.  And this doesn't count using two modifications (e.g. jump spinning back kick)!

So what does this all mean?  We need to practice! As with anything, you should always start easy and build your way up.  Start by doing your kicks on the floor.  Then stand up and use a chair to help with balance and eventually get rid of the chair.  Next move on to practice by kicking a soft target.  Only then once you are proficient should you move on to breaking boards (with your instructor's supervision of course).  Do repetitions each day and slowly perfect your kick!

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