Describing the striking methods of the legs is greatly complicated by the fact that we do not always face the opponent in a Fighting or a Defense stance. Different possibilities exist for each stance; yet all are based on one movement. These are the basic kicks. Many of these kicks are combined to create, the misnomer, 'new kicks'; The Front and Rear kick combination being one such, the Front Snap Roundhouse being another. In all these cases they are not new kicks, they are, simply, combinations of existing kicks.
Delivered in a four (4) count movement, this kick travels along the center-line; lift the leg pointing the knee at the target, kick the target with the tip of the shoe, retract the foot to the support knee, plant forward, toward the opponent, and set it down. When barefoot use ball of the foot for waist height and above. To execute the Front Push kick, use the ball of the foot to strike; then, continue the motion to 'push' on the target, and don't retract the foot all the way to the support knee. The Front Thrust kick is delivered with the heel. The knee does not point at the target as it is elevated too high. The knee is lowered as the leg straightens in a thrusting motion.
The foot is rotated laterally, the knee bent, as the leg is lifted. The kick travels straight to the target along the center-line. The sole of the foot strikes, and the knee straightens; causing the force to be applied downwards against the target. Usually used against the knee joint.
The 45° kick is executed from the fighting position, front leg. It is used to strike the groin with the toes or instep. Since the front leg is already slightly bent, you lift the leg straight up not changing anything. Once the foot clears the knee, snap the leg straight to strike.
Delivered in a four count movement, this kick travels along the center-line; lift the foot 45° upward to the rear by bending the knee, bend forward at the waist and deliver the strike, brushing the support leg, retract the foot to the support knee, brushing the support leg, set it down. The Spinning Rear kick is executed by pivoting on the support foot; so, the heel is pointing at the opponent. Your back leg, slides on the ground to the support foot; and the rest of the kick is as above. Shift your weight forward to the kicking leg and plant forward, toward the opponent.
Delivered in a four-count movement, this kick travels in a circular inward motion to the center-line entering at a 90° angle. Executed the same as the Front Snap kick except; the foot lifts to the outside of the knee. From the back leg, the front foot does not pivot until the point and kick stage (the lift stage is separated from pointing in this iteration of the kick). The Flip Roundhouse is executed like the Front Snap kick along the center-line; except, the leg extends to the side of the target and, at the last, the support leg pivots so the foot of the kicking leg 'flips' over into the target. The Reverse Roundhouse is performed by lifting and rotating the leg, swinging the foot across the center-line, then kicking in an upward outward motion to the center-line target. Requires leaning backwards slightly to gain height.
Delivered in a four count movement, this kick travels along the center-line; lift the leg pointing the knee at the target, kick the target twisting the support foot at the last; so, the heel points towards the target and the heel of the kicking foot makes the contact, retract the foot to the support knee, pivoting the support foot to a Crane stance, plant forward, toward the opponent, and set it down. The Thrust Side kick is delivered with the leg in the same manner as the Front Thrust kick except; the foot and leg are horizontal, and the support leg heel is pointing towards the opponent. Usually used with crossing movements. The Spinning Side kick rotates to the rear and delivers the kick along the center-line in a thrusting manner. The Hop Side kick is delivered in a thrusting manner. The back foot, in a powerful movement, is brought forward and replaces, by striking, the front foot. The rear foot should land one to one and a half feet in front of where the front foot was. While airborne the kick is delivered.
Like the Thrust Side kick except; the leg circles to the outside; then, travels in a circular outward motion to the center-line, entering at a 45° angle. The Spinning Back kick is the same as the Spinning Side kick, except for the 45° angle of entry.
The reverse of the Roundhouse kick, this kick travels in a circular outward motion to the center-line entering at a 90° angle. The leg is lifted while straight then the heel is pulled into the target by the hamstrings. The Spinning Heel and Heel Hook kick is the same except; with the former, the leg is kept straight throughout the movement, with the later, the leg pulls the heel towards the buttocks to strike. While the Spinning Heel kick enters at 90°, the Spinning Heel Hook can enter at more extreme angles. The 45° kicks are so named because they enter while they are rising or descending at 45°. Vertical kicks are executed with the leg held straight; either Rising or Descending along the center-line. The descending kick is called an "Axe" kick in many systems
Knee lifts along the center-line, striking with the head of the Femur. The 45° is delivered as named; from the outside towards the center-line.
Lowering of the knee causing the body to reduce its height. Used in the Reverse Neutral Bow stance and to drop your body weight on your opponent using your knee.
Used to the front, by lifting the whole leg straight up and striking with the shin.
Like the Roundhouse kick from the back leg except; the support foot doesn't pivot past straight, the leg rises 45° with a slight bend of the leg, the hips do not shift much past straight, the guards do not change, and you strike with the shin and not the foot. Target areas are the ribs and the Trochanter of the Femur.
A low Roundhouse kick where the knee rotates downward, striking with the shin into his leg. Sometimes referred to as a "Low Kick".
Specialty kicks, these are too numerous to list. Most are combinations of kicks already listed.
A simultaneous Front and Heel kick called a 'Scissor kick' is executed against the side of an opponent's knee and ankle. Also used in an Aerial attack to take the opponent down.
Just like a bicycle, one leg moves up while the other goes down. In this case there are two different actions available. The lower foot hooks the ankle/foot and pulls up while the upper foot pushes on the knee to cause him to fall backwards. The second reverses the process with the lower foot pushing against his ankle while the upper foot hooks and pulls on his knee, causing him to fall forward into your arms. Both are best executed just before his advancing foot touches the ground.
A word of warning. Proper use of the strikes described here, is critically dependent upon proper lower body adjustments. You must learn these adjustments to be able to utilize these strikes to their fullest.
Executed from the front hand, this punch travels straight to the target, with no previous movement; then, returns, straight back, without dropping, to the front hand guard position of the Fighting posture. The Uppercut Jab is executed from a Slip.
Delivered with the back hand from the guard position of the Fighting posture, the arm travels forward, elbow down, hand shoulder height. At impact, the arm is in proper position with the elbow slightly bent. The fist rotates (a few degrees over vertical, the 2nd digit fore knuckle first to impact) with the wrist held straight in both planes (the wrist bends downwards on impact with the target. The shoulder lifts, protecting the chin.
This punch can travel like a fish hook; first downward, circling to the outside, then, upward inward and forward at a 45° angle, the elbow always inline behind the punch. The hand is rotated to allow proper contact with the fore knuckles. Or: it can move horizontally; reserving any downward movement to the end of the strike. It can, also, be pulled into the target by the biceps, again, rotated to allow proper contact with the fore knuckles.
The reverse of the Hook punch. The Uppercut moves from the outside; first downward, circling to the inside, then, upward and forward. Normally used to strike body height, it can shoot straight up between his guards to hit his head.
Many times called the "Vertical" punch, is delivered brushing the ribs, with your elbow down all the way to the impact with the wrist held straight in both planes so the 2nd digit fore knuckle is first to impact. The forearm rotates the fist a few degrees past vertical before impact. The Kata punch is delivered like the Middle punch except; your forearm rotates the fist (elbow remains pointing down, not rotated to the side) to a horizontal, palm down position (pronate). This punch is used in kata only.
Another punch used only in kata. The punch travels across the body solar plexus high. The elbow never loses contact with the body. The fist rotates to a horizontal palm down position, one hand's distance from the ribs, like the Kata punch. The Side Double punch (a misnomer), again, is used, exclusively in kata. The back hand executes the Side punch at solar plexus height; while the front hand executes a Hammer Fist strike, shoulder height, to the side. The forearms are parallel.
Both hands simultaneously punch forward in conjunction with stepping forward. The back hand strikes high, to his upper pectoral area; the front hand strikes low, under his opposite pectoral muscle, similar, to an uppercut. The hands are held apart 45°; by one and a half to two hands distance.
Strikes straight forward, penetrating the target area; Or, utilized with the Twisting Back Knuckle. The Whipping Back Knuckle strike utilizes a rapid straightening of the arm in conjunction with an outward movement by the shoulder, similar, to a High Rear Elbow strike. This causes the forearm and hand to accelerate in an arcing motion. The Dropping Back Knuckle is executed from an overhead position, descending like a Low Rear Elbow strike but with a whipping motion.
Executed from a Crossing stance, the Hammer Fist is used not the Back Knuckle for your safety's sake.
Strikes with the radius bone. Used to "clothesline" the neck and throat, bend the elbow, strike the biceps and calf muscles.
Strikes with the ulna bone Used to break the elbow, strike the neck and throat, stop or redirect the arms and legs.
The direction of a strike either rising or descending. Used with a twist and the ulna bone.
Position of the forearm in relation to you.
Internal rotation of the bones during impact.
A 'shaking' kind of motion in conjunction with the strike. Used with the ulna bone, a twist, and with the hand open.
Forward and back movement of the bone against his target after the strike.
Used with stepping forward, the Front Elbow strike moves in an inward direction towards the center-line. At times, the point of the elbow is used to strike. This is more of a poke. Stepping forward the elbow is raised to chest height with the forearm on top, palm to the ear and driven into the point by the body's forward momentum. The Rising Elbow lifts straight up to over the head; and again, the hand is close to the ear. It is done to the side, also. The Dropping Elbow descends from overhead; and, is, usually, combined with lowering the body height to increase the power. The Circular Elbow inscribes a 360° arc crossing the center-line. Usually used to trap his arms.
When the elbow moves in an outward motion above the solar plexus it is called a High Side elbow and it, can be mistaken for a Rear Elbow. When the palm of the other hand is used to apply more power to the strike, it is called, Supported. Below the solar plexus level these two strikes are called Low and Low Supported.
When the elbow is not only directed towards the rear, but, crosses the frontal plane of the body it qualifies as a Rear Elbow strike. The 45° Descending strike starts with the arm lifted overhead to the front or side. As you pivot it strikes into the target. The 45° Rising is another. Both can be Supported. Circling the arm Overhead and downward is usually used to trap his arms. The Low and Low Supported is below the solar plexus level. The Rising Rear Elbow is executed with the forearm vertical, hand below the elbow, palm turned to the rear. The elbow lifts straight up.