Karate Kicks

Karate kicks are, next to a karate chop, perhaps the most widely known fighting technique in the Western world.

Most self defense styles include a group of kicks in their repertoir. Karate is not the exception.

Some kicks are spectacular, but more suitable for demonstrations than for self defense.

For instance, the spin kick is a beautiful kick to watch being executed, but it requires too much space to be performed, and it leaves the fighter usually out of balance.

A roundhouse kick, on the other hand, is a basic kick that - if applied correctly to street conditions - can get you out of trouble in times of need.

If you want to take your kicking skills to a higher level, improving your speed, power, timing and accuracy, I recommend you get yourself a training DVD called Perfect Your Kyorugi Kicking (a new window will open), by TKD Olympic Gold Medalist Lynnette Love.

Lynnette teaches you how to use small targets for sparring, giving you accurasy and control over the point of contact and the strength excerted on your opponents.

No, this is not a Karate DVD, but let me assure you, there is a lot to learn from TKD.

For the time being, here is a list of simple karate kicks that you can use in case of emergency.

  • Roundhouse Instep Kick
  • Forward Instep Karate Kick
  • The Mule Kick
  • Verticle Underfoot Stomp
  • Side Underfoot Stomp


Roundhouse Instep Kick


Roundhouse Instep Kick



To perform this karate kick, you turn your body sideways away from your opponent, as if you were off balance.

Raise leg high up and bend foot so that the curve of your instep is parallel to the floor.

Strike your opponent by hooking the instep in a sweeping horizontal hook.

This is especially effective in smashing at the groin.

Forward Instep Karate Kick


Forward Instep Karate Kick Raise the knee straight up with the toes pointing straight down and close to you.

Strike by directing the instep forward or to the side, as the case may be.

The forward instep smash is the coup d'etat when directed to the groin in close range fighting.

But it should be used with extreme caution for it can seriously injure your opponent, perhaps per­manently.

The Mule Kick


Karate Mule Kick



In its execution the Mule Kick resembles the swift kick of a mule.

Raise your foot up under you and toward the rear.

Bend your body downward from the waist.

Then wham your opponent with a rear thrust, using the arch as the striking point.

Verticle Underfoot Stomp


Verticle Underfoot Stomp

Bend the knee slightly up and forward.

Bring the foot back.

Toes pointing forward.

Strike by driving the heel straight back in a stomping or grinding motion.

Side Underfoot Stomp


You turn your body to the side.

Raise the knee and foot to the rear.

Angle the toes toward the side.

Strike by stomping the arch back and up in a grand-ing motion.



Bottom of Foot Techniques


Karate is the art of self-defense with unarmed weapons.

No clubs, knives or pistols are used.

No sticks or baseball bats.

Your weapons are right on your person—the legs, arms, hands, head, elbow . . . and even the feet—corns, calluses and all!

There are 3 different foot positions involved:

  • Ball of Foot Kick Downward Glide
  • Ball of Fool Rear Grind
  • Ball of Foot Straight


Ball of Foot Kick Downward Glide


Ball of Foot Kick Downward Glide

Raise the foot high, bend the knee, curl toes up­ward as far as possible.

Strike by stamping ball of foot straight down in grinding fashion.



Ball of Fool Rear Grind


Ball of Fool Rear Grind



Raise the foot high, bend the knee so foot is horizon­tal to floor, curl toes up so that the ball of foot is projected.

Strike by stamping ball of foot to the rear in grinding fashion.



Ball of Foot Straight


Ball of Foot Straight

Bend the entire body slightly back with the weight on the left foot.

Raise the right foot up and back with knee only slightly bent. Curl the toes up.

Strike by smashing the ball of the foot straight ahead.




Just before finishing this section, I found this video clip demonstrating a fight between a Karateka and what appears to be Kung Fu students practicing some sort of drunken style.

The point of including this video is to show you how Karate kicks can be effectively performed against other fighters.

In this case, however, the Kung Fu opponents seem to lack the sparring experience necessary to confront a trained Karateka. That is not to say that one style is better than another, but it shows you karate kicks in action:





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