I have been training Karate-do for few years and I have realized that my kicks are not as good as they should be, even more, I can't give a proper high kick.

I was thinking about training some Taekwondo so that it will improve my kicks but I don't know if it will make my kicks too different from Karate-do kicks. Will it change the way I kick too much? Or will I be able to keep the Karate-do technique?

Do you know some other way to improve dramatically my kicks?

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    Quick recommendation: look up Bill "Superfoot" Wallace's videos on stretching for kicks. He is well-known for his flexible, high kicks, even into advanced age. Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 14:23
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    As a Karate-ka, I definitely find some cross training with Taekwondo practitioners to be beneficial. Less for the technique of individual kicks, more for the applications and uses of kicks. I would recommend sticking to the actual kicking technique taught in your style. Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 17:47

4 Answers 4


Karate and Tae Kwon Do have a lot of overlap. So many of the techniques will be very similar.

However, the slight differences cause more issues as you get to a higher level.

The best way to improve at something is usually to practice that thing. For kicking start low and make sure you are getting the technique right (it is more important that you generate a good-powerful kick than a kick that is high).

Kicking in slow motion will help build up the muscles - make sure you lock the technique in its finishing position briefly so that your muscles remember that finishing point.

Use a target to see your progress - I have a kickshield attached to a wall - every few days/training sessions I move it up a little (provided the technique is still correct at this new height). If you train on a bag then tie your belt (or an old belt) around the bag and aim at that - this will again help with accuracy and allow you to slowly move the belt up as you improve.

Stretch! kicking high requires a certain level of flexibility. If you want to improve a certain kick in particular ask your instructor which stretches will help for that kick. Stretching after every session is a must - you can also do a little bit at other times (I stretch whilst watching TV/reading).

Go at your own pace. This last one is important, some people are naturally flexible and some people aren't. People will find certain movements easy and others difficult. It can sometimes be hard to watch another student kick above head height with ease whilst you are struggling to kick at belt level (story of my life*) but a little bit at a time you will improve and eventually you look around the class and realise that others are now looking at your kicks and thinking "wow I wish I could kick that high/hard/accurately".


You shouldn't need to train in a different art to improve your flexibility. A fellow black-belt in TKD improved her kicking through regular stretching; she had a routine that she completed (possibly still completes!) several times a week.

I'm afraid I don't know what her routine was, so I can't describe it for you; equally, the stretches that worked for her might not help you! However, if you do a web search for "martial arts stretching kicking", you should find lots of information. Your instructor may also have some good advice on stretching for flexibility/kicking.

Remember, though, to be careful, listen to your body and accept that it will take time and discipline to improve (though as you already study a martial art, you're probably used to that!)


I had similar thoughts.

The issue is complicated.

The best stretches are not what we would normally do on the dojo floor.

They might work fine if you started as a toddler, and did them daily for the rest of your life, but they seem less effective as an adult.

So, find a partner, and do "active stretching". There are loads of videos on the web for this sort of thing, and you shouldn't have many problems.

The bigger issue, though, isn't always flexibility... it's a lack of strength in all those ancillary muscles that need to work very hard to lift your leg up higher.

The only answer to that is to actually try and lift your leg up higher, and build up the core strength you need to be able to kick well with your knee pointed higher.

So, to sum up...

If you want to kick higher, you start by kicking higher, and continue to kick a little higher, daily.

There's no magic in Tae Kwon Do; they just make you do it sooner.

Personally, after finding I could kick higher, I still didn't use the kicks all that much.

Truth is, I felt off-balance, and the kick seemed much slower than a nice belly high side kick.

Hope this helps,



Lots of good answers here already, but I'll add that kicking high is probably 50% flexibility, 50% technique. You very often see people focusing entirely on what the kicking foot is doing. Equally important is what the supporting foot is doing. For example, if you pivot your supporting foot to point sideways during a side kick, then unless you're very flexible, you'll get about waist height and put massive stress on your hips. Get that supporting foot all the way round so it's pointing almost behind you, and suddenly you unlock loads of range, and head height becomes easy. From there, lots and lots of practice, and it will start to look like you mean it.

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