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I am a brown belt in Higashi karate and I'm being put up for my black belt grading this year. However, one of the things my coach keeps mentioning to me is my poor roundhouse kick. I have always had trouble getting enough height and my calf and thigh are never in line.

I have a distorted femur head and a slightly flattened socket so this is obviously causing some impingement, but I'm almost certain that the muscles are all tightened up because of this and with proper stretching I think I should be able to improve things.

So basically I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this or any advice regarding stretching?

  • Welcome to the site. I removed some of your post to make it more tidy. Good question! – Sardathrion - against SE abuse Oct 4 '16 at 21:11
  • please clarify what level of roundhouse kick. lower, middle, upper? – Kristina Lex Sep 10 '19 at 3:53
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As a brown belt you have already got a number of years of stretching behind you - did you notice any improvement that was related to that stretching (and wasn't a result of co-ordination improvement)?

I would suggest that due to this being a skeletal issue your muscles will already have adapted to it - while you may be able to improve your flexibility there will be limits.

I would also suggest that your instructor needs to take your impingement into consideration during your grading. If he was grading a paraplegic in a wheelchair would he fail him because he couldn't do a roundhouse kick? Would he fail a one armed person because he couldn't punch with both hands?

The reality is that while your roundhouse kick doesn't match his interpretation of aesthetically perfect it can still be very effective. Doing it to the best of your physical ability, and understanding how and when to use it should be sufficient.

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I'll assume you're already doing a good amount of stretching for hip and thigh muscles. The next thing to work with is core muscles - tight quadratus lumborum, psoas, and serratus muscles can also impact getting your leg height. Then beyond that is strengthening your core muscles because those impact how high you can get your leg up and hold it.

Beyond that, you may want to look into finding a good sports medicine doctor or massage therapist who can help you with assisted stretching (PNF stretching, neuromuscular work, etc.) who can help you find out how much is a matter of tissue issues (restriction, needing more strength, etc.) and how much is simply the shape of your hip joint (which basically, you're stuck with).

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    A physiotherapist would be a good source, too. – Mike P Oct 5 '16 at 8:24
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Asking the Internet for advice on something like this isn't the best approach, because we don't know enough about you and your limits. The best thing would be for you to find a physiotherapist, or other sports therapist, who can spend time developing a scheme to help you (and only you!).

With regard to your instructor repeatedly mentioning your poor roundhouse kick, is he aware of the issue with your hip? In my school, a student isn't marked-down if they can explain the technique correctly and have a good reason for less-than-perfect execution.

Good luck with your black belt!

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