Currently, the only kick that seems safe for the kicker to me, is a side kick with the heel or the balls of the feet. A kick with the back of the feet, like I see in taekwondo is really only for the head right? Otherwise if I kick something that doesn't move, then something below the shin area, I know only from experience, gets pulled hard and it hurts for days. Also, my friend showed me some videos of professional fighters kicking with the shin and accidentally hitting the opponents knee, resulting in the kicker's shin being broken into two, which is a major no-no for cowards like me. With which part of the leg do I kick, and when I kick with that part, where do I want it to hit?

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    Your current question is really unclear: What martial art is this about? What type of kicks are you doing? In addition, anecdotal evidence is worthless. Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 8:41
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    Thanks. Well, this isn't about one particular martial art, but more about the human body, and how would the force of the kick damage the leg of the kicker.
    – holyeyeolo
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 8:47
  • Anecdotal evidence is not evidence, but a way for me to show what worries me. Perhaps I put it in a wrong way
    – holyeyeolo
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 8:49
  • @holyeyeolo, when you say "back of the feet", do you mean the part where your shoe laces are?
    – Mike P
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 16:24
  • Yes, that's what I thought I meant, but I guess it's the tip of the toes
    – holyeyeolo
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 18:22

2 Answers 2


From my years of ITF TaeKwonDo.

A turning kick should impact with the ball of the foot - it is important to straighten the ankle and pull the toes back. The attacking tool is important - because we walk around all day on our feet the ball and heel are conditioned to the impact already.

This does mean that the opponent is more in-front of you than most beginners think. (think diagonal forwards - not to the side). We can still attack opponents with this kick who are not in this position by turning our body - this act can add additional power if it is in the same direction as the kick.

As for the target areas >> most vital spots are acceptable targets and this will depend on what is visible/accessible and how flexible you are. Knee/Groin/Abdomen are typical targets (none sparring) - anywhere in the body with lots of nerves close together - or a weak joint.

In sparring it is common to use the top of the foot - this allows a little more range. However this is sacrificing power/damage (which sparring isn't really about anyway) and should obviously be kept to scoring targets (not vital spots).

  • But, even if I pull my toes back, all the opponent has to do is go a few centimeters forward, even if unintentionally, and my toes would hit him. It would hurt him more if it lands in the right area, but no doubt I'll take damage too, right?
    – holyeyeolo
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 10:53
  • It will help if you re-visit the kick - you kick on a 45 degree angle -> but the direction of the kick is parallel to the direction you face. so the kick travels forward and your foot should be fine over several inches (you can adjust your foot backwards as well). In shoes the foot position is harder to make -> but the shoes themselves will offer some support (and extra weight). My adult students have to break with this technique for blue belt - we have very few injuries even when they get their distance wrong
    – Collett89
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 11:28
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    Honestly, a big confusion was caused to me when I saw taekwondo martial artists on YouTube kick with the tip of their toes and it seemed extremely unfitting for actual combat. your answer cleared that away. I'll try kicking with the ball of the feet when I get the chance (You hit the spot with the shoes part more than you know lol), and get it what I deem perfect, before I argue further. thank you
    – holyeyeolo
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 12:09

Hard on soft is a good general rule.

The hardest parts in the human body are the ones with a bone directly supporting it. For example take a fist vs the heel of the palm. The palm aligns directly to the bone whereas the fist has many small bones in the way. This is why it is easier to break the bones in the hand when punching unless they are well conditioned.

Knowing this then you can understand that the heel of the foot when thrust in line with the bone will be harder than the toes or the ball of the foot (unless of course there is conditioning).

The shin has no supporting bone and impacts with a shear force (which is more damaging) and relies on momentum. To avoid fracture it needs to be conditioned to be effective or hit on a soft part only. Knees are defintely not soft.

So using the heel aligned to the tibia will require less conditioning than using the other parts of the foot. The best method of using this part to kick will be to thrust in. So the kicking options are front, side, rear or a spiraling mix of these.

The target is important to apply hard on soft. For a front on opponent the targets are the face, solar plexus, bladder and groin. With a little conditioning though these thrust kicks can be applied on the chest, thigh, knee, shin and foot with a lot of effect.

  • So I'm guessing my next research would be the best way of conditioning my bones. But, tell me this, if I keep training my muscles and kicking my punching bag, wouldn't that be enough? Wiki says that the more pressure you apply, the more the bone will adapt (I can't mark 2 answers, but thank you very much)
    – holyeyeolo
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 10:58
  • Yes conditioning comes with the bag. Especially a heavy one. It is a last resort but if you dont have, when you need it you will wish you had it. The focus in training should be on getting it right which is all about timing, speed, non telegraphing, accuracy, coordination and power. Not to condition because that is a by product of doing 100s to 1000s of kicks.
    – Mrx
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 20:59

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