The front kick is usually the first kick you learn how to throw in the martial arts. Here’s an exercise to help you throw it faster and stronger!
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I call this the Free Fall Front Kick Drill. The challenge is to kick with your front front without shifting your weight to the back foot.
WARNING: If you have issues with your knees or your ankles, keep your feet close together. This is an explosive move!
Throw the front kick at whatever height you feel comfortable. But remember–no leaning, standing or pulling back!
The goal is to create a “free fall” feeling, like you’re at the top of a roller coaster. You can’t do this in slow motion. It’s all in!
The back foot can either drag behind or drive forward to add the power of your body weight. If you want to practice standing in place, that’s fine, too.
If you can handle it, the next challenge is to widen into a front stance or bow and arrow stance and try the same thing. When your back leg is locked, you can’t cheat.
One visualization that might help is pretending you’re stuck in mud. Imagine you’re tugging your foot straight up and kick it forward as fast as you can. That’s the feeling you want.
Ready for a real challenge? Throw your front kick standing on one leg! Even kicking at ankle height is a killer.
For a real burn out, try 4 sets of 10 kicks on each leg. 10 and 10 with your feet close, 10 and 10 in your fighting stance, 10 and 10 in a front stance, and 10 and 10 on one foot. WHEW!
Because it’s not easy to front kick with the front foot without shifting back, you’ll see a lot of kickers, like in Muay Thai or Taekwondo, using a tall, narrow stance. You’ll also see martial artists jumping around and constantly switching their feet. All great tactics! Those moves help to hide their weight shifting and make lifting the foot much easier.
But don’t limit yourself! Training for self-defense means I want to be able to kick with either leg from any position, high or low. And even if I never need to throw a front kick from a low, wide stance, training to do it is still a great workout and builds great habits.
Give it a try!
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