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Head Kick 101 – Part 1: Body Mechanics

Most of us have seen Cro Cop clipping countless victims in the head, rendering them into darkness. Likewise, we all remember the not so subtle irony when Mirko laid corpse like and folded in half, with his toes facing the wrong way. We can’t help but remember Pete Williams clipping Mark Coleman in the chin from a perfect angle with the top of his wrestling shoe. A lightening quick Wanderlei Silva switch kick dropping Kanehara. Josh Thompson turning into Yves Edwards leg and falling to the mat. They all had that stunned look in their eye. A look that could only mean one thing; a shin bone has just flipped that invisible on/off switch.

Part 1 – Body mechanics

Full body kicking

When throwing any kind of round house kick, body mechanics are extremely important. The Thai kick gets power from the entire body, not just the leg.

Getting your leg off the ground

My trainer, Chris Kew has always maintained that you should start your kick from a fairly wide stance. Let’s face it if your legs are too close together there will be no power. Distance times acceleration equals velocity. The farther something travels the harder it hits, so keeping your kicking leg back a bit will increase your power. To start your kick, push off of your back leg and lead stabilizing leg at the same time to get the kick going.

Keep high on your toe

When Jongsanon Fairtex teaches the head kick he tells you to push up high on the tip toe of the stabilizing leg, since he added in this small adjustment I have found it much easier to begin the launch of my head kick.

Swing your kick through your target

Turn your body completely to maximize you power. If you missed this kick or were simply practicing in shadow boxing, you should completely turn around in at least a 180 degree turn. Some gym’s teach their students to spin all 360 degrees. If I was throwing my right high Thai kick, at the point of contact with the neck, temple, or jaw, I would be in a position where my left heel (remember high on the toes), my right hip, and my right shoulder were all pointing directly towards the point of impact. The torso should be upright. Far too often you see fighters bending or dipping their upper bodies sideways or backwards to compensate for inflexible hips. If none of this makes sense to the new comer, simply YouTube the word “Buakaw” and it will all become incredibly clear.

Get your arms into it

The last key to getting your full body head kick off the ground and into your opponent’s face is arm movement. Quick question; could you sprint the fastest with both of your hands up? Or could you propel your legs faster by pumping your arms to help generate acceleration… The same concept applies to the throwing Thai kicks. Momentum of the arm will drive the leg more explosively into the target. Use your arm on the kicking side to counterbalance your leg and maintain your balance while creating power by bringing it down toward your hip as you kick. This will assist you in getting the proper torque necessary to generate knock out power. The other hand should be used defensively by remaining either pressed against the temple, or brought across the face to cover the chin. Make sure after you connect to bring your kicking leg and both hands back to their original position to either defend a counter attack, or unleash another strike.

In conclusion of part 1, I would like to stress that there is no such thing as too much practice. I always tell my students, whether they are beginners or world champions… if you want to learn to swim, you have to get in the water. If you want to learn to kick you have to kick. Kick correctly, kick often, and kick strong. Part two -Strategy, targets, and training tips coming soon.

Article courtesy of MAS Thai Academy

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