The Side Kick is Highly Adaptable and a Good All-Around Kickboxing Technique
One of the classic power kick techniques in any kickboxing school is the side kick. As might be expected from the name, the side kick is delivered in a fashion that is sideways to the direction you are facing. This makes it highly adaptable, and is the basis for many more advanced kicks. This is also one of the more fundamental kicks, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t effective in many situations. While it is a beginner kick, it does require a greater degree of flexibility and balance than the previous ones mentioned. This is because this kick is best if aimed at the torso or head, and for these reasons should only be performed under trained supervision.
The side kick starts off from your basic stance. Bring your lead knee up until it is parallel to the ground, rotating the hips so that you are actually facing to the side, not directly at the opponent. While you are doing this, you’ll notice that you have to rotate the planted foot in order to maintain balance. Now that your kicking foot is “chambered” as many teachers would say, you need to extend the leg out parallel to the ground, making sure to pull your toes back and strike with your heel into an opponent’s chest. After a high kick like this, you can’t simply plant your foot down in front of you, because this transfers your weight and momentum onto the leg, leaving you vulnerable to a sweep attack or counter kick. Instead, after kicking the enemy, bring the foot back to the “chambered” position, and then resume stance from there.
This extra step means you won’t ever be open to a counter, because if the opponent decides to strike back before you’ve placed your feet back into your normal stance position, you are already positioned to block or even kick them again. Additionally, many other kicks are thrown from this same chambered position, including the snap and front kicks. This chambering means that an opponent cannot guess what kick is coming next, giving you the upper hand by hiding your tells. Many variants of this kick are used in martial arts all over the world, and for good reason. Even if a side kick should miss because the opponent has managed to slip or dodge the attack, you can turn a side kick into a hook kick. This means that after the extension, if your kick has missed, you can hook the leg backwards, using the heel to strike an opponent’s ribs and kidney.
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