Welcome to week 1 of our 3 Part Fundamentals series. I believe styles will dictate the way a fighter controls and attacks his opposition in the ring. As goes the adage, “Styles make fights”.
Counter fighter, slugger, southpaw, orthodox, busy, speed..whatever your style or stance, thereare key fundamentals to throwing a quality round kick.
Step #1: Start with a Strong Stance
Stance, just like the foundation of a building, needs to support everything built on top of it. Uneasy legs, poor balance, and improper positioning of feet will not help your kick. Your lead foot should point directly at your target. Back foot should point at a 45 degree angle away from your target. Both feet should be shoulder width apart and arms and hands should be up in the guard position.
Step #2: Footwork Begins Momentum
Your lead foot should step out on a 45 degree angle to create a shift in body weightfrom your strong stance. Land on the ball of the foot to secure your pivot point while your force and energy build. The build up will happen as you start to elevate, extend and rotate/spin on your lead leg. Make sure your first step is quick, controlled, and aggressive.
Step #3: Whip Your Kick From The Hip
Just like every other technique in Muay Thai, the majority of power and movement will be your hips and torso rotating your limbs for collision. Don’t just throw your hips TO the target, throw them TROUGH the target. This will ensure follow through and quality on impact. Brace your abdominals to give stability to your hips, as all your muscles in the core fire your limbs (glutes, hip flexors, obliques, lats, abs, and deep interval muscles).
Step #4: Use Your Upper Body To
Balance, Torque, and Assist The Rest Of The Kick As your lower body is doing all the initial movement, your upper body will put the finishing touches to facilitate the landing. Your shoulders will follow the same path of rotation as your hips so that your entire trunk/torso causes your kicking leg to catch up with the body. Your opposite side arm will guard and stabilize the counter torque, as the same-side arm will also violently whip and extend. This same-side arm has a few jobs: deflect incoming counter-attacks, assisting in counter torque, or helping to distract your opposition.
Step #5: Landing the Kick
Whether you are aiming for pads, a heavy bag, or your opposition, what separates the round kick from all other styles of kicking is what you want to hit with. If your distance, timing, accuracy, and all your other steps are in order your shin will be landing on it’s target causing a thud on impact. Specifically, the lower half of your leg, (mid-shin down to the instep). The last part of the kick (sometimes misunderstood or not even realized) is “the crack of the whip”. If and when your shin lands on target, your foot will whip around afflicting a second hit on the pads, making that final slapping sound. It is also that slap on the bicep/tricep of an arm in the way of smashing the body. Or the foot finding a home on the back/lats, immediately after your shin has collided with the smaller ribs at the bottom of the rib cage.
Your whole body is alive and firing when you ramp up to throw the Muay Thai round kick. Imagine every muscle, sinew, and bone getting in on the action. As one of my instructors/mentors would say, “perfection is an illusion but to be strived for on a daily basis”.
Be sure to check back next week for 3 Steps to A Respectable TEEP!
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