Last Friday I was down at Wild Gees HQ, two of our kickboxing lads were in doing some extra training, and working hard.
There were no classes on, these two had decided to get together and just do some work, these are the kind of students we like and encourage.
However, as they were going through some of their kicks, I noticed they were uncomfortable and not happy with their side kick. It’s a kick that’s not used much in Kickboxing, and really not the most valuable kick in the 2 dimensional arena of the ring.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have it’s merits.
Lets first look at the correct execution of a side kick.
The 2 lads were going wrong by not chambering their kick, while you can get away with this on the front and roundhouse kicks, the side kick really does need to be chambered if you’re going to get any use from it.
To chamber the kick you must first pull the knee in tight to the body, for a right leg kick, bring your right knee across towards your left shoulder.
The tighter you are able to chamber the leg, the greater the power. The foot on the ground will turn completely around during this kick so that as you impact, your heel is pointing towards the target.
Next extend the leg out in a stomping action. To teach absolute beginners I’ll often have them just stamp the floor like a child throwing a tantrum, do the same action out to the side and you have a near perfect side kick.
Ensure you are close enough that you are able to kick through the target, side kicks can be used at a great variety of ranges from long (as in the famous Bruce Lee scene) to right in close.
The kick should recover along the same line as it goes out, the knee returning to a tucked position across the body. There should be no hooking action, it is a straight out and back kick.
Although after you have perfected this basic method, you are free to explore the possible variations.
The last point is to ensure that you push your hip through. The angle formed between the standing leg and the kicking leg ought to be greater than 90 degrees, but not so great that you fall over if you miss!!
The most common errors are:
- Not chambering
- Not turning the standing foot
- Hooking the kick
Now, why isn’t it used much in the ring?
The Side kick is awkward in the 2 dimensional world of sport fighting, you need to turn completely sideways before the kick can be executed, it can be a slow kick, regardless of it’s power, the set up must be spot on.
I personally have great success using it as I step off and change the angle. For example if you slip a right cross by moving to the outside, this opens up an opportunity for you to put a right side kick into your opponents ribs.
It also comes into it’s own if things have gone a little wrong and you find yourself sideways onto your opponent, here a quick side kick with the lead leg can create the time and distance to get your self back into the fight.
On the street where opponents can come at you from all angles, the kick really comes into its own. If your tied up with one opponent, maybe in a clinch scenario, the kick can be used to keep a second opponent away from you.
Even better, it can come a surprise if launched unexpectedly at an opponent who is attempting to blindside you.
With this kick, more so tan others, technique is of paramount importance so diligent practice should take precedence over hard training, at least at the beginning. Up the intensity once the technique has come good, then spend time exploring the myriad of variations and uses for the side kick.