There are many different kinds of combat sports that utilise heavy striking ability, which includes devastating and powerful kicks. Muay Thai kick boxing, K-1 kick boxing, and Mixed Martial Arts are three of the most formidable striking Martial Arts that use kicks in the world today. The popularity of these types of combat sports have hit an all time high, as athletes all over the world are lining up to learn this comprehensive form of striking. Because of the introduction of Mixed Martial Arts to the world, all strikers can now add different components from different striking arts into one more powerful system. This is a great way to become a more formidable striker, especially if the athlete is stepping inside of the MMA cage.
What this article covers:
- How to Maximise Kicking Power
- Basic Kicks
- The Most Brutal Kicks in Kick Boxing
- The Hardest Kick in History
It is highly important for athletes to engage in kick boxing workouts in order to improve their technical ability, and to condition their bodies to meet the tough standards of professional competition. These days everyone wants to be a top level striker, and if they have a look at the traditional art of Muay Thai kick boxing, they will see just how dangerous, and formidable these athletes are. All this means is that anybody that is trying to become a professional striker must put in a huge body of work to condition their shins, and to increase their overall strength and conditioning. This is so their kicks can withstand an attack from an opponent, and their strength and fitness levels are up to scratch. Kick boxing can be extremely fun, and learning how to kick is one of the iconic Martial Arts movements in the world.
WHY THE STANCE IS SO IMPORTANT
Competing in a combat sport like kick boxing, or even facing off against an assailant in a real life street altercation, can be quite daunting. One of the most important factors before any punches, or kicks are exchanged, is the initial fighting stance. This is an aspect that can commonly be overlooked, but in retrospect it is exceedingly crucial in how an athlete will begin to initiate their striking movements. Most training academies will put significant time into how to efficiently utilise a fighting stance, inside of a kick boxing training session. Understanding how to use balance, and posture with the right set of defenses, is just as important as how they can be ready to attack.
A good defense system enables an athlete to not only stop punches by guarding their chin, and their ribs, but to check incoming kicks with their shins. This means an athlete must be standing with their feet a shoulder width apart, with an equal amount of weight on each foot. The hands should be up guarding their chin, with their elbows in and guarding their ribs, furthermore the athletes should be on the balls of their feet, and ready to use their shin to check any incoming kicks, or to step and pivot away from danger. The wrong stance, or the wrong movement can lead to catastrophic events, like stepping across the body and receiving hard kicks to the leg. The same can be said about an athlete that is trying to rush in recklessly, as they will soon learn that their guard is down, and it can be easy for an opponent to pick them off with punches.
HOW TO MAXIMISE KICKING POWER
Maximising kicking power is an aspect that any combat athlete needs in their repertoire. Using efficient methods of kicking include stepping out their opposite leg, and pivoting using the rotation of their hips to use the correct amount of force through the shin. The shin itself is where an athlete should be landing on their opponent, as opposed to the foot, and this is because the shin is a larger bone that can do more damage to their opponent. Hip rotation is extremely vital in kicking power, and athletes must train this comprehensively while they are at training. Utilising kick boxing drills, like kicking the heavy bag numerous times, is a good way to condition the shin, and generate enough force through these fundamental concepts.
Aside from working on the heavy bag, and the Thai pads, where the athlete will work on kick boxing combos to master their kicks. There are other exercises that an athlete can do to increase their ability to land more powerful kicks. The squat is one of the most fundamental ways to improve the lower body, and an athlete's core strength. Squats have many different variations like squat jumps, cossack squats, or squatting with weights, and all of these methods can help exponentially with kicking power. Lunges are another exercise that builds strength in the quadricep, and the glute muscles. Lunges will also give added strength to the abdominal muscles, which can help an athlete improve their balance, and their posture, which can also add another level to their kicking power. Burpees are another great way to do a full body workout, which is a cardiovascular exercise, at the same time as burning all of the relevant muscles. If the athlete trains predominantly in these exercises, and adds in all of the technical kicking drills, they will effectively increase their kicking power.
The roundhouse kick is one of the most iconic kicks in the industry of combat sports. The first important step is to have a good kick boxing stance, with an athlete's left foot forward in a traditional orthodox stance. To accomplish a roundhouse kick the athlete will start by lifting their right knee, as they rotate their hips. This will enable their right shin to turn more horizontal, as they land their shin across their opponent's head, or any other target they have chosen. It is important to remember that once the athlete begins to turn their hips that they pivot on their left foot, and this will help them apply the power they need to disrupt their opponent's balance.
The front kick is one of those highly successful kick boxing moves that can take the wind out of the opponent, or even break their ribs. The front kick has a simple application, and involves lifting the knee up high straight in front of an athlete's body, as they extend their leg straight into their opponent's abdomen by connecting with their heel. It is important to be fast with this kick, and retract the leg before the opponent can catch hold of the foot, otherwise they may wind up being foot swept. Another version of the front kick is the teep, and this is a Muay Thai speciality that is used for pushing an opponent backwards. The teep is the same as the front kick, but instead of a hard snapping impact, it is used as more of a push kick. This means the athlete will drive their weight into their opponent's abdomen.
The side kick is instrumental in attacking an opponent, and this kick is predominantly used from the southpaw stance, and this is because they can use their power leg. The athlete will be standing with their right foot forward, and their hands up guarding their chin. The unique part about this kicking technique is that the athlete will almost give up their back to their opponent, as they attempt to throw the side kick. The first step is to shuffle their left leg across their body, and behind their lead leg. This will give them the angle to lift their right knee up, as their body turns to almost a backward's position. From here the athlete will extend their right leg out in a sideways angle, and connect into their opponent's abdomen. It is important to note that once an athlete makes contact with their opponent, they must bring their leg straight back down to the mat, and step their opposite leg backwards to square up to their opponent. This is important so the opponent does not have an opportunity to counter attack, while the athlete is off balance.
THE MOST BRUTAL KICKS IN KICK BOXING
There are quite a few devastating kicks that can be used in a kick boxing match, and one of the most formidable is the question mark kick. This kick begins from the traditional orthodox position, and can usually fly under the radar if an athlete baits their opponent the right way. The athlete may try a simple rear body kick, as their opponent parrys, or blocks. Trying this kick a few times will make the opponent think they can defend the strike. The beauty of the question mark kick, is that once they start the technique the opponent won't see it coming. The athlete will shoot their leg in for a mid section kick, and as the opponent goes to parry, the athlete will pivot on their back leg, rolling their hips over to the side, and lifting their leg above their opponents guard. From here they will bring their shin across the face of their opponent on a downward angle. When this kick is done properly it does look astonishingly like a question mark kick.
The spinning back kick is a dynamic, and exciting style of kick, that can only be done with speed, and precision. If an athlete does not land this kick correctly it can be highly dangerous for a counter attack from their opponent. Some athletes take their lead leg, and step across to the other side of their body, before they execute their turn. This can be dangerous, and can leave their leg exposed to a Muay Thai low kick from their opponent. A good technique is to simply take their lead leg, and pivot until their heel is facing their opponent. From here they can begin to rotate their hips, as they execute the spinning back kick with their opposite leg. This is a highly dynamic, and formidable kick that can catch an opponent off guard during the middle of a punching exchange.
The low kick, or the leg kick can be one of the most brutal kicks in all combat sports. Muay Thai fighters are well known for their devastating power they can bring into their opponents thigh from a low kick. Some athletes have the power to actually cut off the circulation to an opponent's leg with pure shin conditioning. The athlete will start in a traditional orthodox position with their left leg forward. The most important step of a low kick is to step their lead leg out marginally sideways, and begin to pivot. This will help to generate the power they need for their rear leg to come across on a low sideways angle thudding into the thigh. It is vital that the athlete lands their shin across the thigh, rather than their foot, and this is because the athlete will break their foot, compared to applying significant damage with their shin. When this kick is done correctly it can literally chop the leg out from underneath an opponent, and send them to the canvas. The low kick is one of the most damaging kicks in Martial Arts, and can seriously inhibit an opponent from stepping in after receiving shots to the leg.
Another formidable kick that was originally created from the Taekwondo arsenal of kicks is the spinning hook kick. This kick begins from the traditional orthodox stance, with only a slight variation, as the athlete needs to be a little bit more side on when they are executing high calibre kicks like this. The first step is to do what is called a back turn, which is when the athlete will pivot on their lead leg, and turn to expose their back. The rear leg will now lift up at the knee, and start to kick out in a more sideways angled motion. As the athlete completes the turn by spinning around, and maneuvering their elevated foot around in a fluent motion, and hooking across the head of the opponent. It is important to use a full three hundred and sixty degrees of rotation, and land back in a postured position.
The rear body kick is an important tool in all kick boxing Martial Arts, and this is executed from the orthodox Muay Thai stance. This kick starts with the athlete stepping their lead leg out, and pivoting, while the rear knee is raised, and extended into the body or head of the opponent. This can be an extremely powerful kick, and is symbiotic with the switch lead kick. In this kick the athlete will start from the same position in the orthodox stance, where they can shuffle their lead leg back, while bringing their rear leg forward into what is called a switch. From here the new rear leg will instantly come up and strike the opponent's mid section. The power in this kick comes from the rotation in the hips during the switch. This is another iconic kick in the kick boxing arsenal, and can be an extremely brutal kick if left unchecked.
THE HARDEST KICK IN HISTORY
Measuring the hardest kick ever thrown in the history of fighting can be an extremely hard thing to work out. After looking at different kicks from different combative arts, the results were astonishing, as a professional striker could generate up to 9,000 newtons with one devastating kick. This is equal to nearly a ton of force, and studies have shown that a strike that can deliver 3,300 newtons of force has a high chance of cracking the average person's rib. So when a professional athlete gets kicked in the shin, or the ribs by a Muay Thai boxer it is crazy to see that the opponent is still standing. Mauricio Shogun Rua is a former Pride fighting, and UFC legend, who has a devastating Muay Thai style of fighting, and during a sports science episode, he recorded a 2749 pounds of pressure force on one of his kicks. This is a devastating amount of force which can easily break the bones of an opponent.
Astonishingly, Shogun Rua's kick is not the hardest ever recorded kick, and that honour belongs to the man Joe Rogan himself. Formerly the UFC Champion Francis Ngannou held the record, as he had a whopping reeding of 129000 on the power cube machine. Joe Rogan is a world famous podcaster, as well as one of the UFC commentators. Joe is also a well known formidable striker, with a strong background in Taekwondo, with many of his instructional videos available online. Joe Rogan smashed Francis Ngannou's record, and now holds the record of 151000 on the power cube machine. This is a tremendous feat, and after watching Joe Rogan kick the boxing bag with a spinning back kick it is definitely a scary site to see.
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