The front kick is one of the very first kicks most people learn in the martial arts.
And that’s for good reason: it’s effective but also not that tough to learn – it’s the low hanging fruit of the kicking world.
But it can also be a very, very sophisticated technique; just look at how professional Thai boxers use it to gauge distance, control distance, set up attacks, counter other attacks, and occasionally KO their opponents.
I recently had a conversation and shot a video with my friend Ando Mierzwa about the front kick, and he had 3 excellent reasons that the front kick is one of the most important tools in your arsenal.
Here’s that video, with the main points summarised below:
1, The Front Kick is the Most Natural of all Kicks.
There are lots of kicks in the martial arts, including side kicks, hook kicks, round kicks, spinning kicks, jumping kicks and many more.
But of all these kicks the front kick is the most natural…
Think about it: unlike the hip and leg positioning required to throw a side kick, say, it’s very natural to bring your leg up in front of your body.
We’re very familiar with this motion from a lifetime of walking, going up stairs, or lifting our foot up to tie our shoe laces.
The front kick just takes that familiar motion of lifting your leg and adds a few extra components to it.
Because of this it’ll probably be the first kick you learn and the last kick you lose as you get older.
2, The Front Kick is Hard to See
The front kick comes straight up the middle which means it can be very non-telegraphic if you do it correctly.
It all occurs along the centerline of your body, meaning that the chamber for the kick is much harder to see.
And if your opponent’s hands are up in front of his face like a boxer then he’s often blocking his own vision, thus reducing his ability to see your foot coming straight up the middle.
Meaning that you can often land a kick to the gut, groin or chin right between his forearms and he’ll never see it coming.
3, The Front Kick is Incredibly Versatile
Different martial arts and different fighters have developed an incredible number of applications for the front kick.
For example it can be a snapping kick or a thrusting kick…
It can be used to attack the head, jaw, chest, abdomen, groin or leg…
It can make impact with the toes, instep, ball of foot or heel…
And the foot can be angled in, out or straight, and the kick can be delivered to the high, middle or low line.
The exact variation you use depends on how you’ve trained it, what your goals are in the moment, your orientation relative to your opponent, how he’s positioning his limbs, and your physical attributes including your strength, balance, flexibility, speed and age.
Ok, that’s a good intro to the front kick, but it’s also really just the tip of the iceberg.
There are lots of combinations, tactics, strategies, fakes, and training drills you need to do before it’ll be a tool you can rely on in the heat of the battle. And I hope to get to a lot of that in future articles, emails, and videos.
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Good luck with your training!