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Karate Side Kick Training

by
author image Mike McLaughlin
Mike McLaughlin has been writing news, entertainment and sports articles since 1990. McLaughlin has written for “The Maine Campus,” “The Bangor Daily News" and various websites. McLaughlin is also a martial arts instructor and certified personal trainer. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an associate degree in filmmaking.
Karate Side Kick Training
Flexibility is required to perform high side kicks. Photo Credit Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

The side kick is one of the strongest kicks in karate, according to the website of the Okinawan Karate-Do Institute. Due to its effectiveness, the side kick is taught in many styles of martial arts. The quick, thrusting motion of this technique enables a fighter to deliver a lot of power. A strong side kick can break a board or a man’s ribs. To develop proficiency with this kick, practice the correct training methods.

Stretching

Stretch adequately before performing any karate kicks. The American Council on Exercise says that stretching can improve your range of motion and prevent injuries. The adductor stretch is frequently performed in karate classes. To perform this stretch, sit on the floor with your back straight. Bend your knees and touch the soles of your feet together. Try to move your knees as close to the floor as possible. Hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds.

Technique

To perform a karate side kick, turn your body sideways to your opponent. Lift the knee that is closest to the target. While pivoting on your other foot, thrust a kick out at your opponent with the bottom of your heel. Your kicking foot should be horizontally positioned with your toes angled slightly downward. The side kick is typically delivered to an opponent’s midsection. A strong side kick to an opponent’s solar plexus or ribs can stop him in his tracks or knock him backward. You can also kick the knee, throat or head. The edge of the foot is usually used when kicking targets above the shoulders.

Variations

Spinning, crossover and flying side kicks are variations of this technique but are more advanced. They should be attempted only after you are proficient at the basic side kick. The flying side kick is one of the most dynamic kicks in the martial arts. It is so named because you jump and fly through the air to kick your target. Martial artists often demonstrate this kick by flying through the air to break boards.

Strength, Balance and Timing

To build your leg muscles and improve your balance, try performing your side kicks in slow motion. Focus on correctly aligning your body as you slowly perform the kick. Another way to improve the strength of your side kick is to kick a padded shield or a heavy bag. Ask a training partner to hold a shield for you. Improve your timing by having him advance toward you with the shield. Practice stopping him with your side kick as he approaches.

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