In my last post, I declared 2015 the Year of the Kick. Each week, I've focused on one kick, or one aspect of a kick with a simple goal:
Make Kicks Suck Less.
First kick up was Front Kick.
I love front kick. It is a simple kick that everyone can easily do, and it can be used as a theory workhorse, carrying all kinds of great lessons that can be applied to our training. At a class for senior instructors, I was asked to lead kick drill. At a time when many people in the group didn't know who I was or what I was all about, I chose to do an entire drill of front kick and it's many variations. As many people who have quit my class due to sheer boredom can attest, I am a fan of the basics. Regular front kick, front snap kick, front leg front kick, push kick, heel kick, toe kick, jumping front kick, double jump front kick, triple front kick and various combinations of the above. A great way to fill a class, if you ask me.
Four count kicks were the first concept I wanted to review. Have you ever tried to make kids do four count kicks? I mean slow kicks where you focus on the chamber, hold the extension, retract and set down? It's an excruciating drill and the kids hate it as much as the adults. The only difference is in how much the two groups audibly complain. But since their kicks sucked, something had to be done. So I gave it my best effort to make it fun, and that usually means one thing: Letting the kids try to hurt my assistants.
4 count kicks, I explained, were super important because all 4 parts make the kick better, but all 4 kicks also have individual functions. When you practice kicking a bad guy (at this point, I call for a helper, who inwardly shudders at what they know is coming) we aren't just kicking them (bam!) but also kneeing them in the groin (bam) ribs (bam) or inner thigh (bam!) THEN we kick them (bam!) hook their leg with the retraction to bring them down (bam!) and just in case, we stomp on their bellies (bam! bam! bam!)
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Now that the kids were excited, it was time to bust out the targets. Work the target with knee strikes and stomps and finally the kick itself. End goal of kicks sucking less accomplished, and at the same time, was able to add some practical understanding of the mechanics (and still save some more for next time!)