Side thrust kick

The side thrust kick is the signature kick of taekwondo. To be a good taekwondo practitioner, you must have a perfect side thrust kick. The side thrust kick is uniquely different from the side snap kick that used in most other martial arts styles. The taekwondo side thrust kick is the most powerful kick the human body may produce, since it uses the biggest muscles and more muscle groups than any other kick. I may be used both offensively and defensively.

In a side thrust kick:

  • Knee. The kicking knee is lifted upward and backward toward the opposite shoulder with the kicking foot parallel with the knee.
  • Kicking foot. The kicking foot is held with the toes pulled backward, perpendicular to the floor, heel upward, with the outer edge of the heel pushed toward the target.
  • Shin. Shin chambers parallel to floor, kicks outward to parallel to floor, and retracts backward while perpendicular to floor.
  • Striking surface. The striking surface is the outer, real edge of the heel.
  • Support foot. Support foot is parallel with the target with heel pointing toward the target.
  • Action. The knee move upward and backward first, and then is thrust toward the target, quickly retracting toward the opposite shoulder again. The foot only moves because it is attached to the knee.

Maintain a straight line through the body. This will put the mass of the body into the kick instead of just relying on the muscle power in the leg. Imagine delivering a side thrust kick to a brick wall when the hip and kicking leg are in line, but the body is not. Upon impact with the wall, the action force will rebound and the reaction force will travel back down the leg to the hip, and the hip will rotate the trunk and be absorbed since the leg is not aligned with the body. However, if the entire body, hip, and leg are held on the same line, all the forces will travel back and forth between the ground and the impacting foot, giving maximum power to the kick.

  • Pros. Difficult to jam. Allows hip to snap body mass into the kick for maximum power. The side thrust kick can break more boards than any other kick. From the high chamber, it is easy to kick to high, middle, or low sections. Nearly impossible to block; must be evaded.
  • Cons. Difficult to perform and perfect. Relatively easy to evade. Requires total commitment, so if opponent get inside the kick, kicker is vulnerable.

Side thrust kick tips:

  • Chamber kicking knee toward opposite shoulder.
  • Keep shin of kicking leg parallel to the floor.
  • When you thrust your kicking foot forward, use your thigh muscles, not your knee muscles, to generate power.
  • Push the knee and shin toward the target, not the foot. Since the foot is at the end of the shin, it will hit the target first.
  • When you throw the kick, roll your hips over into the kick.
  • Pull kicking knee back into a re-chamber, do not pull the kicking foot back, it will come back with the knee.
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