Front Leg Front Kick With The Machida Brothers
Front kicks, similarly to calf kicks, are a kicking technique that is becoming more widely used in MMA and combat sports in general. While push kicks have been well known and in use for a while, front kicks are coming into prominence. While these two techniques look similar and can even be used in similar situations and ways. This leads to a fair amount of fighters, coaches and analysts basically using the terms front kick and push kick interchangeably.
There is a difference between these two techniques and it is important to keep note of. While the push kick’s main job is to literally push your opponent backwards or at least stop them from coming forward, this is not the case for the front kick. The front kick, while it can stop an advancing opponent, is more about dealing quick damage. In that way this technique can be compared to a jab, especially if you use it off of your lead leg.
The problem is that kicking with the lead leg can be a struggle for some fighters. This is especially the case for MMA fighters and even some Muay Thai guys or kickboxers. One style that does excel at front leg kicking is traditional Karate and we have two of the best Karate fighters in MMA in this video to show you how to do it.
In this video, both Lyoto and Chinzo Machida are going to show you how to use the front kick off of your lead leg and some drills to help in its development. The Machida brothers are arguably the greatest combat sports sibling duo of all time. Both of them have been trained pretty much since birth by their father in traditional karate. Lyoto Machida is even a former UFC light Heavyweight champion!
The video starts off with the brothers showing a drill that they like to do to improve their lead leg front kick. You’ll need something to put your foot on like a chair or a plyo box for this drill. With your lead leg on the chair. This drill will help develop the quickness, coordination and balance that you have with this technique.
Before demonstrating this technique, the Machida brothers talk about how most fighters that aren’t experienced with this technique will lean back when throwing it. This is bad because this will cause your technique to have less power as your weight is going backwards.
Using a chair will help develop the balance you need to throw this kick hard. The drill is very simple, you will start with your lead foot on the chair and that legs knee bent. From there you are going to quickly snap out front kicks. You can do this to the air or have a partner hold a target for you.
Once this gets easy, you can move your rear foot back more to make your stance wider. This makes the drill more difficult by moving your center of gravity forward. This will make it tempting to lean back to throw the kick. Don’t do this. The point of this drill is to kick from where you are and quickly return back to that position without leaning back. To do this you are going to be forced to activate your glutes and hips.
From there you are going to get rid of the chair or box and just do normal lead leg front kicks to the air or to a pad. Doing the previous drill will make the front leg kick more dynamic and unpredictable and having those qualities makes it hard to defend against.
Machida Bros Instructional
If you like this technique and want to learn more from the Machida brothers Loyoto and Chinzo, then check out their complete striking video series “Fundamentals of Karate Power Striking For MMA by Chinzo & Lyoto Machida” available exclusively on Dynamic Striking!