Kicking is hands down one of my favorite things to do. It’s just so versatile. Once you learn how to use your legs, a whole new world of possibilities opens up. And it is a beautiful world. But this world is full of complexities and a ridiculous amount of different kicks. Not to mention the fact that almost every martial art will perform each kick slightly differently. These two facts combine to make learning kicks more difficult than it needs to be, but we are here to help clear some of that confusion. The Kickers Guide A-H (Part I) is a nearly comprehensive list of kicks known to the martial arts world:
The Kickers Guide A-H (Part I)
An axe kick is usually preformed either to someone already on the ground or to the collarbone/sternum of a standing opponent. Use a straight leg to come in a downward motion striking with the heel. The two biggest variances are in the load of the kick: some people perform axe kicks by swinging a straight leg up into the air and back down again, while others bring their knee to their chest, kick up, and then drive down. The first is easier to perform and more common. The second offers a more controlled technique and is better for attacking a standing opponent.
Also known as a donkey kick, this kick attacks an opponent that is directly behind you. This kick is more commonly used in fights where there are multiple opponents, as for a general rule you would not want to turn your back on an opponent.
This kick is often more for demonstration than practical self defense. It comes from either standing, or a running step in. The body twists as both legs come off the ground, one after the other, with the entire body more or less parallel to the ground. Striking occurs with the heel coming down on the opponent. A very beautiful kick.
A flick like kick done with pointed toes, typically aimed at the groin. The kick comes up in a snapping motion, with the strike occurring somewhat like the flick of a fish’s tail. This kick also targets the head during fighting combinations that end with the opponent being pulled down to knee height.
Front Kick (Push/Snap)
A front kick refers to either an upward snapping motion (striking under the chin), or a forward thrusting motion (pushing with the ball of the foot). Either way, the kick comes in a direct line in front of the body, usually with the hips squared. This kick is often used to push opponents away, or as an entry move to a follow up technique.
Half-Moon/Crescent (Reverse Half-Moon/Crescent)
This kick starts with the knee brought up and into the chest. The foot is then thrust out and around, from the outside of the body in. The reverse kick comes from the inside out. This kick is primarily used as an entry move to get past an opponent’s guard, but can also strike to the side of the face or body.
Half Crescent/Tong Kick
A forward thrusting kick done with the foot and knee tilted at a 45° angle to the outside of the centerline. Directed toward the knees, hip, or ribs. The Tong kick is similar to the Half Crescent Kick, except the foot and knee are tilted at a 45° angle to the inside of the centerline. This can be aimed at the diaphragm or chin.
These kicks and more make up the bottom half of our martial art strikes, keep an eye out for our next article on the second half of these kicks!