Welcome to The Comprehensive Guide to Kicking, Volume #1. Today I am going to talk about the Taekwondo Front Kick.
The Front Kick is the most basic kick that you will learn in most kicking arts, such as Taekwondo, Karate, or Hapkido. It is simple, yet effective, and is very easy to perform. It has applications in both sparring and self defense situations.
How to Perform
1.) Start in your ready position. This position should have one leg in the front and one leg in the back. Your hands should be up guarding your face.
2.) Bring your knee up directly in front of your body, pointing straight forward. Have your toes pulled up as to ready the ball of your foot for striking.
3.) Extend your foot outward. The striking surface of the Taekwondo Front Kick is the ball of your foot. Push your hip forward slightly into the kick.
4.) Retract your foot back to the chambered position.
5.) Lower your foot down in front of you to a ready position.
Quick Tips for the Taekwondo Front Kick
A.) Remember that your striking surface is the ball of your foot.
B.) Keep your supporting leg slightly bent. This acts as an internal “shock absorber”, and allows you to micro-adjust your weight for improved balance.
C.) Have your elbows tucked into your body. This serves two purposes. First, it keeps our weight centered, and helps our balance. Second, it keeps us protected by any attacks to our body while kicking.
D.) Tightening your abdominal muscles while kicking will result in better balance. It also acts as a makeshift sit up exercise.
E.) Practice with both your front leg and back leg, from both your left stance and right. You never know what position you will end up in, so be prepared from anywhere.
F.) Try to keep your striking vector as straight as possible. This is a forward kick, not upward.
Applying the Taekwondo Front Kick
The Taekwondo Front Kick has several valid targets to aim for.
The easiest, and most common, is the body. This target is anywhere between the waist and the neck. In a sparring match, there is a good chance that you will find yourself against an opponent that is keeping his or her guard up. This makes it extremely difficult for you to score a front kick to the head. However, when their hands are up, they are not down. This makes for the perfect opportunity to strike the lower body. Perhaps try and keep your opponents attention high by throwing a few punches, then swiftly execute your mid section front kick.
If your opponent is keeping his or her hands low, then the head becomes a valid target. Just be warned, this will require more flexibility, and the distance from the floor to their head is greater than that of the body. That being said, the front kick to the head is a much less common occurrence, and could catch your opponent off guard.
In a self defense situation, kicks of any type are usually cautioned. Kicks are a high risk/high reward technique, and while you are protected by the rules and regulations of competitive sparring, no such safety exists on the streets.
The only target that I would recommend on the streets would be a strike to the groin. Your kick should be adjusted slightly as to strike with the instep or the shin. I would also recommend avoiding any snapping motion in order to minimize the chances of you missing your target. Rather, you should swing your leg straight up like a march step.