Throwing The Front Kick With Henri Hooft
The front kick is one of the most basic techniques in your striking arsenal, Henri Hooft, world champion kickboxer and Muay Thai fighter as well as coach to fighters such as Tyrone Spong, Remy Bonjasky, Ernesto Hoost and Eddie Alvarez shows the basics to throwing this bread and butter technique!
Henri Hooft shows how to throw this kick from the back leg first. The first detail to take note of is Henri’s stance. His stance is not too wide, it is narrow. This narrow stance allows Hooft the ability to quickly lift his knee and kick with either leg without having to reposition his body weight. Having this balanced stance eliminates the need to telegraph his kick, making it quicker and more likely to land. The first step to throwing this back leg kick is for Hooft to raise his knee a little bit.
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Once the knee is raised, Henri Hooft is looking to snap his kick out, striking with the ball of his foot. Possible targets to connect with would be your opponents stomach, the plexus, or the face. A concern when throwing this back leg kci Henri makes note of, is that your opponent can check your foot with their elbow when they block that kick to the body. A way you can avoid having your kick elbow checked is by taking note of your opponents guard. If their elbows are in tight, instead of snapping that kick out, look to pull your knee up a little bit higher and aim to throw a more pushing style front kick, looking to smash through the guard instead of snapping your kick out.
Next, we have the lead leg front kick. Hooft explains that his lead leg front kick is used in a more defensive nature whereas the back leg kick is for attacking. As the opponent closes the distance on Henri, he looks to elevate the front leg and push out with the foot to create more distance. A detail to put more power into the kick is to lean into it. When Henri Hooft throws this kick, he is not just snapping his knee, extending the leg to create power, his hips are being pushed into the kick as well.
The lead leg front kick is used for defense, to maintain distance by pushing the opponent away, the back leg front kick is a distance closing attack. To close the distance to land this kick, Henri Hooft takes a small step with his lead leg to close distance, pulls his rear knee up and fires the back ;eg kick to the midsection of his opponent, looking to drive through on the kick penetrating his opponents defense. If Henri’s opponent is not as far away, Hooft will do a switch step instead of a normal lead leg step. This switch step puts Henri’s lead leg to the rear, loading it up for a stronger kick along with the added forward momentum of the switch step. To do the switch step front kick, Henri Hooft pulls his lead leg back to the rear leg. When the lead leg meets the rear leg, Henri uses that planted foot to drive his rear leg forward. The rear leg is now the lead leg, putting Hooft in a southpaw stance. Still using the forward momentum from the switch step, Henri pulls his back knee up and fires off the front kick.
The final detail for the front kick is what part of the foot you use to make contact with your opponent. Henri Hooft shows three ways to use your foot. The first is the ball of the foot, Henri shows he can use the ball of the foot to snap out and attack under his opponents guard or snap up to the face. The second variation on his front kick is using the heel as the striking surface. The heel typically does not penetrate as deeply as the ball of the foot but has the advantage of being able to smash through tight guards and a strong way to kick someone and push them away to create distance. The last and final variation Hooft demonstrates is using the toes to strike. Using the toes to strike makes the surface area of your attack much smaller, allowing more pressure to be delivered into a pinpoint target instead of being dispersed over a wide area. A good target to use the toe kick on is the liver!
If you are looking for a complete foundation to build your striking game, Henri Hooft has you covered! Check out his latest instructional today!