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Side Kick – Tips to Improve Balance

Video with tips to improve balance while performing the side kick. Out of all the kicks taught in Level 2, this one gives students the most trouble.


“Hello, this is Randall with KravMagaTraining.com and with this video we are going to give you some tips to help you with the balance of the side kick.

In our particular program we teach the side kick as part of our Level 2 curriculum. For those students who first learn the side kick, out of all the kicks we teach at Level 2, the side kick gives them the most trouble. Mostly because they have a lot of balance issues. They fill unstable, they don’t fill comfortable throwing the kick, and if their balance is off everything else about the kick is going to get thrown off. The power, the accuracy, etc. So I’m going to give you some tips today to help you improve that.

Okay, tip number one for the side kick, a real common mistake is, when I watch newer students do it their base foot, they don’t pivot all the way around. What I mean by that is, when they kick they kind of do a half-ass turn like this. Notice that my foot is turned off at an angle and as our students are taught the back of the heel is supposed to be pointed directly towards the target. So when they do the pivot, make sure that the pivot goes all the way around like this, instead of doing just a half turn. When you first learn the technique, it is acceptable to pre-turn your foot like this. You can actually practice from this position. But eventually you are going to have to learn from wherever you’re standing in your passive stance to be able to pivot and throw the kick. That way you’re not adding an extra step for slowing the technique down. I feel like I’m being attacked from the side, I need to be able to pivot and throw the kick immediately. So it’s okay to pre-turn when you first learn but start pivoting all the way around. Remember, ALL the way around. Back of the heel pointing towards the target.

Tip number two that’s going to help you with your balance is make sure that your base knee is bent. A lot of beginners when they throw the kick, this leg right here is relatively straight. As a matter of fact, you can’t even see my knee through my pants. What it should be is like this. When your knee has bent you’re going to feel a lot more stable. Think of your knee is kind of like a shock absorber. It’s adjustable. What you can do with it is you can bend your knee and when in doubt you can bend it more. Especially when I have a larger opponent, especially an opponent who is very aggressive advancing towards me, it’s going to be that much more important to bend my knees and get really low when I throw that kick or they’re going knock me backwards, so I can ground myself. So make sure as you pivot, this knee is bent. You can even bend your knees first. So I realize I’m being attacked from the side, bend your knees, and then deliver the kick. The important thing is to keep the knee bent as you execute the kick. I see a lot of students do a good job starting low but as the kick goes out they kind of straighten up. Granted I exaggerated that but you can understand the point.

Now the third tip that I can offer to help you with your balance is that your hip flexor, so basically this area where my thigh and pelvic region meet, that area right there, that spot, needs to be directly above the heel. Any time that you’re kicking and you feel like that you’re getting knocked backwards, it usually means that this point is too far in this direction. If we’re going to draw an imaginary line you can see it’s not lined up with my heel. Anytime it’s this direction I’m going to start falling backwards. But, it works the other way around as well. If I’m throwing the kick and I feel like I’m falling forward, usually what that means is when I’m delivering the kick my hip flexor now is too far in front of the heel. Anytime that you’re feeling your balance is falling off to one direction or the other make sure to take a look and make sure your hip is directly above the heel. Especially when you have a very strong opponent advancing towards you, you definitely don’t want your hip flexor too far this direction. You’re definitely going to get knocked backwards. If anything, it can be directly above or even slightly past to compensate for all the energy that is going this way, you will have a little bit more power going this way.

So those are your three tips. Make sure that you pivot all the way, back in the heel pointed towards the target. Make sure the base knee is bent all the way through the movement. And finally, make sure that this part of your body should be directly above your hip or if the attacker is advancing really hard towards you it can be slightly this direction. But not this way, you’re definitely going to fall backwards. Okay, so those tips will really help you out with your side kick.

Um, actually, fuck it, I’m going to add a fourth tip. Like you said earlier, out of all the kicks this one gives a lot of people trouble. I give them a lot of pointers but it’s still not 100%. My fourth tip, quite frankly is, you just need to fucking practice it a lot! Over, over, and over again. The reason why is the side kick is not a very natural movement for us as human beings. Usually, we’re walking or running, it’s a lot of forward movement. That’s why the front kick feels a lot more comfortable, or even the round kick to a lesser degree, is a lot easier to learn. We’re not used to moving laterally, or side to side. And because the side kick is that type of movement, and it’s not natural to our body, you’re going to just have to practice it that much more. Don’t be frustrated. If your side kick is suffering be patient. Quite frankly, everybody sucks with the side kick for the most part when the first learn it. I mean everybody! Even really athletic, gifted, coordinated people, they got to put in the time as well. So my last tip really is, I told this to a few students the other week, do a thousand reps on each leg and come back to me if you’re still having trouble with it. But, I’m probably going to assume after a thousand reps you’re going to be getting pretty close to getting comfortable with it. Quite frankly, with anything, repetition is is a good ingredient to fix a lot of problems.

So I actually I’ll add that fourth tip. So do all those things and I think your side kick will improve dramatically.”

“Better balance… as well as coordination, agility, speed, and power are just some of the many benefits of Krav Maga training!”