front kicks - why pivot foot?

Discussion in 'Tae Kwon Do' started by nicosp, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. nicosp

    nicosp New Member


    I had my first Taekwondo class yesterday (I've done other martial arts before). My Sa Bum Nim (I've already learnt some Korean :) told me that, unlike in other martial arts, in Taekwono you (slightly) pivot the non-kicking foot when you deliver front kicks such as the Ahp-Chagi and the Neyro-Chagi. What's the purpose of this? I doesn't feel natural, but then again it might just be a matter of getting used to it.

    I'll certainly ask my instructor next time but meanwhile maybe someone else can shed some light on this.

  2. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Valued Member

    Several factors come into play.

    Most people will stand with feet naturally angled somewhat outward. Angle varies by individual. So it is natural to have the support foot angled slightlyoutward when kicking straight ahead.

    Depending on type of front kick taught some systems teach the "Front Kick" with the kicking side shoulder and hip slightly forward of the other side. A pivot facilitates this motion of the hip / shoulder.
  3. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    I basically go with being as free to pivot on the support foot as possible so nothing is holding back smooth movement, hip involvement and overall commitment.
    Then degree of pivot changes depending on the kick. Slight pivot for front kick, more for turning kicka dn then full 180 pivot for side kick.

    Honestly it feels unnatural NOT to pivot! :)
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
  4. Unreal Combat

    Unreal Combat Valued Member

    It's to bring the hip into play thus generating more power. It gives you better stability aswell. It also makes you a little harder to hit as your body won't be fully square on.

    Watch Saenchai throw a teep and you'll get the idea. Different sport & style but the principles remain the same.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
  5. Knee Rider

    Knee Rider Valued Member Supporter

    I also do this on the long knee. I feel more stable and the blow feels more powerful. I was once told not to by an old coach... But I actually ignored him. What's your perspective on that (the technique, not my willful ignorance ;) )?
  6. Unreal Combat

    Unreal Combat Valued Member

    I've always found knees to be more potent when coming up off the ball of the supporting foot to help drive forward into your target. It's hard to do that with a front kick as you have that fall back factor if you're throwing defensively.

    It can work when kneeling defensively, like when employing the knee to guard from clinch with the leg turned over 90 degrees but in terms of driving upward I find up on the ball of the foot to give more impact and drive forward.

    You can use the skipping style (bit like a skipping teep) driving the rear knee in but the biggest thing to be wary of is your body angle at close range. I don't feel it delivers as much impact either. Mainly due to the way the technique is performed in comparison to a nice relaxed teep.

    For stability doing a lot of tire jumps and skipping on your toes will help strengthen the muscles that allow more control.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
  7. Knee Rider

    Knee Rider Valued Member Supporter

    I tend to come up on the ball of the supporting leg (deffo agree this makes all the difference) but also open that supporting foot to just under 45 degree on the long knee. For a short knee or clinch knee my feet are slightly ducked out anyway but the pivot is much less. Do you think that I'd do better to keep square more square on the long knee? I think I find it less stable and find it harder to cover ground when I'm squared off.
  8. Unreal Combat

    Unreal Combat Valued Member

    Probably be better off seeing a video before giving an opinion really. I always find watching someone easier than trying to make sense out of what they describe as I find it hard to translate words into imaginary action, if that makes sense.

    Feel free to PM me a short video and I'll happily weigh up my own thoughts on your technique.
  9. Knee Rider

    Knee Rider Valued Member Supporter

    Nice one mate. I'll probs stick one up in my training log at some point soon :)
  10. rabid_wombat

    rabid_wombat Valued Member

    The pivot "should" be rather natural. If you've studied something else, it's possible that you've been hard-coded to not pivot based on observation of kata or something. The lineage of Isshin-ryu I came through had a very static supporting foot on delivery of a standard front kick. They also taught that until extending, that the lift and chamber for side, hook and round kicks should look the same, which was a habit that gave my TKD teacher fits.
  11. Spookey

    Spookey Valued Member

    Force = Mass X Acceleration

    Following the natural angle of the foot in relation to motion (i.e. a natural gait has some outward angle) we find better balance and control through natural motion.

    The controlled pivot also projects our mass into the blow, provides an additional point of compound acceleration (the primary point of acceleration being the extension of the kicking knee), and maintains the kinetic link to the earth thus maximizing the efficiency of action.

    Timing all the components into a chronologically synchronized motion is key!
  12. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Doing some front kicks recently and I've also noticed that most fighting stances of one form or other have the front foot turned in somewhat (in TKD it can often be almost entirely side on!).
    I've done loads of Thai and knockdown karate (where leg kicks are common) and so my fighting stance is much more front on than my TKD friends but even I need to pivot on a front kick because my foot is actually not pointing forwards enough to allow my kicking leg to flow through smoothly.
  13. PointyShinyBurn

    PointyShinyBurn Valued Member

    Sorry, pet peeve, f=ma describes the amount a mass will accelerate when experiencing a given force. The equation your're looking to describe how hard a blow hits is either kinetic energy:
    1/2 * mass * velocity ^ 2
    or momentum which is just mass * velocity depending on precisely what you're talking about. You want a strike to connect when it has obtained its maximum speed, in other words, not when it's accelerating the most.

    This is intuitively obvious if you think of how you'd rather be run over: by a car cruising at 60mph, or by one with the accelerator pedal on the floor that's only got to 20?

    (That is, neglecting the complex bio-mechanics of the effective mass varying depending on how well you've used your structure to support the blow etc. etc.)
  14. Spookey

    Spookey Valued Member

    Impact at apex

    This is a great piece of research material for my own education, and I thank you for the clarification!

    Same point made as agreed upon none the less. Impact at the apex of acceleration correct, considering the improbability of sustained speed. The blow is accelerating, at apex, or decelerating.

    While I have no formal training in sports science or anatomy, I strive to learn from others. I don't want to be the "kick a tree and punch bricks cuz it'll make you a better fighter" style coach.


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