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When training outdoors, it is inevitable that I'll do some kicking practice; using an actual target is much better practice than just air kicking.

It turns out that it is often easy to find a tree with a trunk with a size similar to a kicking bag, but not only can the hard trunk be bad for your feet, rough bark also won't be kind to your training shoes.

What are good options to overcome these issues?

I have tried putting a Taekwondo body protector around the trunk, but didn't like the result; it isn't easy to fasten it to the tree, and with each impact, the bark can make holes in the body protector.

Perhaps using a (cheaper) foam gym mat fastened to the trunk with an elastic band could work?

Or maybe this is not such a good idea (yes, a part of me tells me that it looks weird)?

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My preferred method is to take a kick shield and tie it around a tree with a belt (loop the belt through the shield handles).

This has a couple of advantages

  • The kick shield should offer adequate padding to not hurt your feet/shins etc.
  • Up to a certain point the size of the tree doesn't matter (I have a 3 metre belt so a huge tree would cause me an issue).
  • This also works with other sturdy fixed objects such as lamp posts.

Unfortunately this does mean carting a kick shield around with you - but if you are already carrying a Hogu then this is barely less convenient.

From the comments

You can replace the single kick shield with small round pads in my above suggestion. example pads. Chaining a few of these along the belt gives you several smaller targets to kick.

  • Better for kicking with both legs
  • Smaller target enforces accuracy

Drawbacks of this being - you now need to buy/carry even more pads - they don't offer much variety in height unless you bring several belts or find another creative way of attaching them.

An issue I have with switching legs is the tendency to trip over the tree roots switching feet - it may just be me being clumsy - but you have been warned.

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  • I'm curious about the type of belt you use. Can you share a picture? You approach is nice but you are limited on the combinations using both legs you can practice, so you would mostly practice one leg at a time. Maybe using the the foam gym mat with your belt is a winning combination? – Daniel Reis May 22 '18 at 8:36
  • @DanielReis the belt is one of my spare (/old/) black belts. A foam gym mat might be alright - (I haven't tried it - just trying to work out if the cushioning would be adequate). I have also strung several small round pads to my belt - which is better for both legs but requires more accuracy. I will edit that option into the answer. – Collett89 May 22 '18 at 9:06
  • I will try to grab a picture next time we are doing some outdoor training - Tempted to use a couple of belts and smaller pads for middle/high sections and use both legs - just need to find a decent tree. – Collett89 May 22 '18 at 9:17
  • I already get what you are doing, thanks. If you can get a photo it would surely add some colour the the answer :-) – Daniel Reis May 22 '18 at 10:40

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