The Lead Leg Front Kick With Lyoto & Chinzo Machida
The front kicks impacted the martial arts world like no other kick; it is the equivalent to the jab in boxing but performed as a kick. All striking martial arts have some kind of front kick ingrained in them - Muay Thai, Karate, Taekwondo, Kung Fu, and of course, fighters from an MMA or Kickboxing background learn it as a fundamental strike too.
In MMA, we can see all Martial Arts on display, and it’s an excellent place to gain a deeper understanding of the types of front kicks and their effectiveness. The most popular front kick seen in MMA is the Muay Thai kick trained in many fight camps to keep the distance and set up the different shots, but what is it lacking?
The second famous front kick in MMA is the Karate front kick, and unlike the Muay Thai front kick, the karate approach is to inflict a lot of damage to our opponent and finish the fight. Instead of keeping the distance with the front kick, fighters from a Karate background use it as a strike that makes you think twice before entering their range.
When we look at the greatest strikers of our era, not just in MMA but in Kickboxing also, we notice that they are very versatile and know how to use both front kicks effectively. Being versatile gives them the benefits of keeping their distance while being dangerous at the same time.
Fighters with the ability to play between the two kicks also benefit from the element of surprise, the opponent might think they are just keeping the distance with the front kick and won’t mind entering the distance every once in a while to check if he can deal with the kick, but good fighters will use this naivety to their advantage and change the kick from a push to a snap and hurt their opponent.
Now before diving deep into the Karate lead front kick in the next section, let’s look at the details for performing the kick correctly:
Who Are The Machida Brothers?
The native Brazilians Lyoto and Chinzo Machida are professional MMA fighters with wide recognition all over the world. Both brothers began in Karate and moved to MMA, but the path each took was unique. Lyoto (the younger of the two) got into the UFC early in his career and was a feared competitor who fought for the Middleweight title several times. Chinzo (the older brother), on the other hand, entered the MMA scene later in his career, where he fought for the second largest organization in MMA - Bellator MMA. The brothers are now focused on passing the knowledge on at their own school - The Machida Academy.
Upgrade Your Game With The Machida Brothers! Click Learn More!
A Drill To Develop A Devastating Lead Leg Front Kick
In this video, The Machida brothers will show us a drill we can use to improve the lead leg front kick. The drill will be performed with a chair, and our partner (or you if you are drilling) will put his lead foot on the chair with his stance being narrow in the beginning.
This drill aims to improve a couple of things :
- Our snap with the kick
- The ability to pull back from the kick faster
- The ability to keep our posture correct while drilling
A common mistake beginners make when performing this drill is that they lean back while kicking; it happens because they need to compensate for the lack of balance and strength needed for the kick. But it is okay to lean back at the beginning as this kick is hard for everybody early on, and we are training to improve that from time to time.
Remember, when we perform the front kick and lean back, we lose a lot of power and balance as the body’s momentum goes back while we try to kick forward. So when we work with the chair, it helps us learn how to kick while keeping our posture straight.
Now when we drill the kick, we want to raise the difficulty from time to time to improve and kick better when we have no chair to help us. We raise the difficulty simply by taking our rear leg a little bit back every time we raise the level.
It is more challenging to take our leg back because we take our center of gravity forward over the lead leg and stay there without leaning back and performing the kick.
To drill this effectively, our partner will hold the chair so it is stable and the pad so we have something to hit. Now, as we get further and further backward, we need to use our glutes to compensate for the lack of balance.
After drilling the lead leg front kick like that, we can use it effectively in a fight as the opponent will not expect a lead front kick from a distance, but because we can do it, we can catch our opponent off guard with a fast and decisive strike.
Learn More From The Machida Brothers
Suppose you liked this lead leg front kick explanation by the Machida brothers and would like to improve your front kicks. They have a full instructional on our website going over everything you need to know - “Machida Front Kicks - Powerful MMA Kicking Secrets” available exclusively on Dynamic Striking.