Step Up Your Front Kick Game With The Machida Brothers
A good front kick is paramount to delivering devastating body blows and heart-stopping head shots while trying to keep your distance in an MMA match. When done correctly, different front kicks can be executed fast and without much energy-draining effort. They are also great because front kicks can be used for both offense and defense to help give the fighter the upper hand when engaged in combat.
The Snap Kick
The snap kick is the most traditional front kick there is. It’s easily the most recognizable front kick to people unfamiliar with martial arts. The kick is done in one fluid movement, bringing the kicking leg from the ground straight to the target, according to Lyoto. Both brothers are adamant about using the ball of your foot when making contact with your opponent. Lyoto compares the contact used to that of “stabbing your opponent” with the ball of your foot—the movement should be swift and hard.
Check out the complete Machida collection of instructionals! Click Learn More!
The other thing to keep in mind is your hip placement when kicking, said Lyoto. When kicking, start from an angled stance while the top part of your torso facing your opponent and try to keep your elbow and body in the same spot, kicking directly at the target with the ball of your foot.
“He’s going to stab, he’s going to hurt, he’s going to knocking him out with the kick. It’s very important to know how to use it and when to use it,” said Lyoto. “In snap kick, you keep your hips and elbow in the same spot and try to not cross the line to the other side of the hips.”
The Push Kick
The push kick is different than the snap kick in approach and movement. While the snap kick is one fluid movement, Lyoto recommends viewing the push kick as two movements—from an angled stance, bring your knee up to your chest and then kick outward while pushing your opponent.
“Push kick, you have to bring your leg [up] and push where you can use the whole foot. You can be very free to use the whole foot or the ball of the foot,” Lyoto said.
Another difference between both kicks is hip placement. When performing the push kick, you want to rotate your hips to the other side while kicking to generate power to make the push effective, according to Lyoto.
“In push kick it’s different. In order to use the whole body, the whole weight over him, I have to cross the line of my hips, Lyoto said. “I turn my hips a little bit to the other side which puts all the power of my weight here over Chinzo’s body,”
In the video, Lyoto’s brother, Chinzo reminds us of the fundamental difference between the two kicks—the movement of the push kick is up and then down [or out] and the snap kick is simply down to up. He also reminds us to turn our hips with the push kick, but keep those hips square when delivering a snap kick. Lastly, Chinzo stresses using only the ball of the foot when delivering a snap kick. However, you can use either your whole foot or the ball of your foot during a push kick.
“In push kick, usually you will use the whole of your foot but you can also use the ball of your foot,” Chinzo said. “But in snap kick, you always use the ball of your foot. Your goal with the snap kick is to hurt your opponent. Knock him down or knock him out.”
Who are the Machida Brothers?
Lyoto and Chinzo Machida are professional MMA siblings from Brazil, who started training in martial arts at a young age due to their father, Shotokan Karate master Yoshizo Machida. Younger brother Lyoto is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and currently ranked #6 in the light heavyweight division at Bellator MMA. Older brother Chinzo fought for Bellator MMA for years and is regarded as one of the greatest Shotokan Karate competitors from his native country.
Want to get your MMA IQ to the next level by adding world-class karate to your training? Check out “Fundamentals of Karate Power Striking For MMA” by Lyoto and Chinzo Machida and other great instructionals available at DynamicStriking.com!