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I'm trying to figure the 540 round kick as a personal challenge approaching my taekwondo black stripe exam.

I've been practicing for a while so I got a good grip over standard kicks, my flexibility is quite good and I got a solid 360 kick. The thing is, I'm blocking when it comes to kicks like the 540 because of the longer airtime. I feel like there's more chances I get hurt and this plays in my head, I'm unable to practice the kick properly.

So I was wondering, are there any good exercises/tips that could help me be more confident so I can practice my 540 with more effectiveness?

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The 540 kick causes a lot of problems for people who are confident with the 360. This is often due to starting with the opposite leg forward to the 360.

As backwards as it may sound - practice the 180 kick: this will get you more used to jumping with the kicking leg at the back.

Progress that to a 360 reverse turning kick with the opposite leg. This will get you more used to having the backwards facing part during the jump (whereas 360 kick the backwards facing is first). If you struggle with the 360 reverse turning kick then practice a 360 back kick first.

Building enough of a jump to manage a 540 spin is the next trick. If you are doing ITF style in Choong Moo you do a standing 360 degree jump - so we get used to these. To build up to the 540 kick, practice a 540 jump (if you can do it standing then that's amazing - most people will need to be moving forward to get that spin). This will seem much more difficult than the 360 jump - part of this is that we start the spin on the floor (maybe get as much as 90 done) and finish the spin with how we land (possibly another 90 degrees here) for the 360 this means that we can get away with only spinning 180 degrees in the air - meaning that for the 540 we actually have to spin roughly twice as much.

Once you can jump 540 and land comfortably then 'just add the kick' to the end of it. Again: many times we see spinning kicks the kick itself is not technical. We generally aren't going to be using this for self defence or breaking so don't be too worried if the kick is more of a crescent.

Don't over do practice of these kicks - they can be fun and fantastic for demos and showing off - however, they aren't useful for self defence and landing them can be a nightmare for your joints.

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If you feel like there is a greater chance of injury for 540 degree kicks over 360 degree kicks, that's good, because there is a greater chance of injury. If you want to develop techniques like a 540 degree spin kick, you have to understand this is a fact of life.

The physics of rotation is a good place to start. Your moment of inertia is your resistance to rotational acceleration, which is the rotational analogue of mass, which is resistance to linear acceleration. If you apply the same torque (you use same force at same location to initiate rotation), you will spin faster when you minimize your moment of inertia.

What does this mean in practice? You want your mass as close to the rotational axis as possible.

  1. Don't lean. This moves your body mass off the rotational axis, which will slow down your rotation. Try to keep your body upright.
  2. Bring your arms in to your body.

Also, jump up, not out to the side. This will maximize your air time.

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