Hello martial artists from all around the world! I am training in Kickboxing.

I have a problem with my front leg and my kicks, for which I would like to get your help.

  1. Two months ago or so, my coach told me to work kicks with a guy who was the same age as me, but a lot shorter. This meant I couldn't really practice my kicks(he was very short, that my high kick became in between a middle and a low kick in order to hit him properly). Can you come up with some tips? I have a very good mobility. I can do the splits with no problem. But somehow I'm feeling like it's difficult to raise my leg.I'm also not very good at setting the distance for a kick, and I'm either extending it too late or too soon.

  2. I also need to improve my balance on my front leg. I am an orthodox, so I keep my left leg forward. The idea is that when I get a low kick, and I don't check it, I need my leg to be stable, and not to flinch.Should I put my weight on it?

  • 1
    Welcome to the site. Unfortunately, I don't know if we can answer this as it is very broad, and the only information that we have is "I feel worse". The second item is also vague, and should probably be its own question. What has your instructor said when you asked him/her about this? – JohnP Dec 3 at 18:30
  • Can you explain why you were unable to practice kicks on this shorter guy? And how long were you working with him? What sort of problems are you having? – Sean Duggan Dec 3 at 20:26
  • @SeanDuggan He was very short compared to me, like, my high kick became a kick in between the low and the middle kick. He was blocking and I was kicking, and then we would reverse the roles. The problem is that I got used to doing it, and now I'm not kicking how I used to. The problems are: -Distance problems -I'm either extending too late or too early -Power problems(but i think this is caused due to the first and second problems) – DarX Dec 3 at 20:49
  • @JohnP My instructor is not the kind of guy that would try to correct every mistake of yours.He would just say "You are not good enough" I will try to correct the question because I am also feeling like it's vague. – DarX Dec 3 at 20:52
  • @DarX: Are you only able to train with this one fellow? – Sean Duggan Dec 3 at 21:11

It'd be nice if the question actually said, but I'll assume you're struggling with roundhouse kick.

But somehow I'm feeling like it's difficult to raise my leg.I'm also not very good at setting the distance for a kick, and I'm either extending it too late or too soon.

I think you should take a good look at your stance. You want the stance to be reasonably square on (so you can comfortably rotate your back hip past the front hip when throwing a cross/reverse punch, and rotate the hips back for a jab, without losing balance). The back foot should be facing about 30 degrees clockwise from a straight line to the target (NOT sideways, which tends to leave the hips too side-on to the target). You want your weight settled downwards with knees bent. When you raise your kicking leg, the knee should be able to arc comfortably towards the target as the hips rotate. Think about that knee arc into the target, not just lifting the leg for its own sake: you should not be lifting the knee vertically behind you then trying to rotate the hips. It's perfectly fine (even encouraged in many kickboxing / MT schools when kicking for power), to step the front foot slightly forwards and out (say 20cm, 45 degrees counterclockwise from a line to the target) before starting the kick, which creates some momentum to drag the hips and kick through (this does telegraph your kick though).

With all those things in mind, turn to Sean Duggan's advice and find a heavy bag. Make sure you're making solid contact through the bag.

More generally, in martial arts/sports it's an oft-useful practice to consider how you want a technique to land, and work backwards from there to understand how the stance should be to comfortably launch you into the correct motion. You can do this quite literally (start with the striking limb out and return to the fighting stance). Keep the movement minimal, strong and balanced.

Don't get fixated with this training partner. The problem is obviously with your technique, not him. If anything, it's probably good that he's forcing you to work on the body mechanics for the lower kicks, because all this "I can easily do the splits thing" suggests you might be more inclined to focus on high kicks and ignore the lower ones. Given your flexibility is already good, you should work on your strength and stamina - try to get comfortable throwing say 20 kicks into the bag in rapid succession (then do the other leg, rinse and repeat).

Sean's also right that your instructor's "you are not good enough" is a huge red flag.

I also need to improve my balance on my front leg. I am an orthodox, so I keep my left leg forward. The idea is that when I get a low kick, and I don't check it, I need my leg to be stable, and not to flinch.Should I put my weight on it?

Most martial arts similar to kickboxing recommend somewhere between a 40/60 and 20/80 split between front and back leg, so yes there should be weight on the front leg, but not so much you can't lift it easily to check or kick. You should make sure it's comfortable to quickly thrust into the ground to drive your body backwards too. (In MT in particular, you will sometimes see fighters put less weight on their front foot - bouncing that leg up and down as they consider throwing a teep or front leg roundhouse to an opponent on the edge of kicking range, but that's movement's not used once the opponent's closer).

A recurring theme in martial arts (and really, in life) is that whatever you train to do is what you're going to fall back on. If you only trained with this shorter fellow for a brief time and have since experienced a greater variety of training partners, it is unlikely that he is the source of your problem. In fact, it is a good idea to train against a wide variety of sizes of opponents so that you learn to adapt. The principle is the same, but the practice always varies a bit. This includes sparring against people shorter than you. After all, you don't want to wind up in a fight with a shorter person, and have your reflexes whiff the kick above head level. In the absence of a partner, you can always practice kicking drills against marks on a heavy bag. For more advanced practice, some gyms have training dummies with arm extensions to get you used to striking outside of guard.

As regards leg stability, it basically comes down to, well, making it stable. That involves putting enough weight on the supporting leg, pivoting it to fit the kick in question, and not introducing instabilities by doing things like keeping the supporting leg completely straight, or going up on your toes. This site has some solid advice:

Fighting stances vary among the different martial arts, but there are certain principals that need to be applied regardless. Usually, a fighting stance involves placing the kicking leg behind the leading leg.

The leading leg serves to support the kicking leg and is often used to block, or for executing kicks off the front foot. Keeping the supporting leg slightly bent and springy, with the supporting foot firmly on the ground, is important if you are to exert maximal power.

Rather than being rigid, the supporting leg must be soft and supple in order to allow the supporting foot to pivot effectively, to enable the fighter to move forwards and backwards with relative ease. Since a large percentage of kicking power originates from the hips and pelvis, it is important to keep this area stable when standing in fighting stance.

Developing strong abdominal muscles through the various crunch variations will help in this regard. Keeping the supporting leg too straight or rigid will restrict ones ability to exert power and kick freely.

Lastly, you indicate in your comments that your teacher can't describe what you're doing wrong, but simply says that "You are not good enough". Frankly, he doesn't sound like a very good teacher. Unless I'm missing some way in which he is imparting greater knowledge to you, you should probably try to find a teacher and school that actually tries to help you more in your journey to become a martial artist.

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