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Why does Karate and Taekwondo side kick have the foot tilt sideways or even downwards? In Muay Thai, the side teep foot is held diagonal. Is there a functional reason between the two? Curious as I have experience in both martial arts.

Resources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98boTtEjgfw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0l8U9E9e9c

Karate:

enter image description here

Muay Thai:

enter image description here

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The answer is similar to the ones to earlier questions: It is mainly practicality in full-contact sparring vs. ideal technique.

Theoretically, fully opening the hip by more pronounced foot rotation offers you two things: Firstly, you can do a powerful roundhouse kick just as well, with the very same opening, which makes you less readable. Secondly, it is supposed to allow for slightly more stability against forces in that direction and thus help against toppling backwards.

Practically, this is slightly slower and needs immense hip flexibility and strength in order to not actually weaken the kick due to structural instability. You can actually see how the karate guy's structure is compromised in the picture as he only stands on the ball of the foot to make up for his lack of hip strength/flexibility.

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  • hi, for second paragraph are you referring to karate or muay thui? Muay thai roundhouse and side teep all extend leg to come at 45, additionally, by rotating the foot more in karate, doesn't it offer less stability for backwards, since a person has to lean back more, to rotate foot more?
    – mattsmith5
    Jan 13 at 16:47
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    @mattsmith5 That is kind of my point: Given extraordinary flexibility and strength (hip flexibility partly has an anatomical component; Asians and especially east-asian people tend to have the hip joint slightly less deeply embedded in their pelvis compared to "Caucasian" physiology, allowing for greater range of motion), this hip opening allows for even stronger roundhouse kicks as they have more pre-tension and a longer way of acceleration without the leaning. I know that the side/roundhouse option is possible without that much rotation as well, you just give up a bit of power potential. Jan 13 at 16:53

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