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Techniques>Kicks>Types of kicks

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Types of kicks

Intro

There are many types of kicks used in the martial arts.

Some types of kicks

  • Snap kicks. The snap kick uses a quick, flicking, striking motion that recoils as soon as contact is made. When delivering any kick, the kicker is vulnerable because kicks are delivered while standing on one leg. This is especially true when kicking toward high targets, which puts the kicker’s leg within the opponent's reach. Snap kicks overcome this to some degree because the recoil retracts the kicking foot before an opponent has a chance to block or grab the leg. The recoil also allows the kicker to draw the body together quickly and then use the drive from the supporting leg to deliver a powerful follow-up attack after the kick. Snap kicks are seldom used in traditional taekwondo.
  • Thrust kicks. In a thrust kick, the lower leg is thrust toward the target with the foot leading the way, much the same way that the fore fist and forearm are used in a punch. Thrust kicks use the large, heavy muscles of the hips and thighs, so they are very powerful. Just as with a punch, the path to the target should be as short and straight as possible.You are not pushing the target on impact, you are thrusting the foot into the target and then withdrawing it quickly. However, if the situation requires it, it is easy to thrust the kick further into the target and make the kick more of a push. The side thrust kick is a signature kick of taekwondo. A taekwondo practitioner is judged by the power and form of his or her side thrust kick.
  • Linear kicks. These are kicks that move in a relatively straight line to the target.
  • Round kicks. These are kicks that move in a circular or angular path to the target.
  • Leading leg kicks. In these kicks, the leading leg lifts and executes the kick.
  • Trailing leg kicks. In these kicks, the trailing leg lifts and executes the kick.
  • Sliding kicks. In these kicks, the trailing leg slides up to or behind the leading leg and then the leading leg executes the kick.
  • Hopping kicks. In these kicks, the kicker hops into the motion of the kick (a slight jump so that the feet leave the floor just enough to allow the body to move). The hop allows a quick way to cover a relatively small distance.
  • Skipping kicks. These kicks can be used to close the gap quickly. The kicker skips the rear foot forward quickly while performing a lead leg kick. The rear foot moves into the same position the lead foot was at. In skipping, the most difficult part is to synchronize the skip with the moment the foot impacts the target. If you kick too early, you will pitch forward off balance. If you kick too late, then all momentum will be lost. For even faster kicks, first raise the lead leg for a standard kick, and then skip the rear leg forward as you kick with the lead leg; this method can be used to extend the range of the kick to catch an opponent who leans or backs away from an attack.
  • Stepping kicks. These kicks can be used to close the gap from greater distances. The rear foot steps in front or behind and past the front foot as the front foot executes the kick. The length of the movement can be adjusted to suit the distance to be covered. With practice, a kicker can move over a large distance very quickly and overtake a retreating opponent. 
  • Spinning kicks. In these kicks, the body rotates about its vertical axis in a reverse direction before the kick is executed. The spin adds power to the kick but since the back is presented to the opponent, it may be dangerous. If you attempt a spinning kick from a neutral distance (where neither you nor your opponent can reach each other) you will not only fall short of the target, you will leave yourself open to an easy counterattack.
  • Jumping kicks. All kicks may have a jump added to their execution. The jump can add height and/or distance to the kick. However, jump kicks:
  • Jumping-spinning kicks. In these kicks, the kicker both jumps and spins to add power and height and/or distance to a kick. In a jump spin kick, you jump, spin, and then kick while tucking the non-kicking leg. Jump spin kicks are usually defensive kicks. Only use them as offensive attacks when the opponent is weakened, and you are strong. Jump, spin, jump-spin, and flying kicks look nice in practice, but when sparring, there are only a few circumstances where they can be useful. However, when you are skilled at using them, the results can be devastating. 
  • Flying kicks. These kicks are jump kicks or jump-spin kicks performed while leaping forward, usually from a running start.
  • Pushing kicks. These kicks are used to push the opponent backward rather than to strike the opponent.
  • Rising kicks. These kicks are performed with a straight leg without bending the kicking knee. The leg is just lifted straight up to the target. It’s not a very powerful kick so it’s mostly used to jam or check an attack. Rising kicks are also known as bubble kicks, bob kicks, half-moon kicks, and crescent kicks.
  • Ground kicks. These kicks are executed from a defensive position while lying on the ground.
  • Air kicks. Air kicks are performed while in the air. They aren't jump kicks; they are merely performed while the non-kicking foot is off the floor.
  • Falling kicks. These kicks are executed while in the process of dropping the body to the floor. Usually executed after one or two hands are on the floor. Most kicks may be adapted to use while falling.
  • Dropping kicks. These kicks are where the leg is swung upward and then downward forcibly onto the target, such as the axe kick.
  • Flick kicks. These kicks are where the foot is flicked quickly, forward or backward, upward to the groin or knee. It’s not very powerful but it’s is very quick.
  • Turnover kicks. These kicks are used when a kicking leg or foot is grabbed and held by your opponent. You leap into the air, rotate over and around the held foot, and execute a kick with the free foot.
  • Stomp kicks. These kicks are downward kicks to the knees, shins, foot, or a prone opponent using the bottom of the foot. They are slow but powerful.
  • Check or stop kicks. These are kicks used to jam, check, or intercept an attack before it can be executed. May also be used to stop the forward motion of an attacker.
  • Acrobatic kicks. These kicks are the flashy, extreme kicks (flips, somersaults, multiple spins etc.) performed mainly for entertainment purposes. They are rarely used in competition and never used in self-defense situations (at least none anyone has lived to tell about).

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