Literally translating to ‘the art of kicking and punching’, Taekwondo separates itself from other martial arts by having kicking being a cornerstone of its philosophy rather than just a technique to learn.
Chagi (Korean for kick) comes in many forms across Taekwondo. One of those is the 45 kick, also known as the diagonal kick.
The 45 kick is one of the base kicks of Taekwondo but that doesn’t mean this kick doesn’t take place in other martial arts. This is because the 45 kick is simple in practice but it is very useful in competition.
45 Kick Vs Roundhouse
While very similar there are slight differences in a 45 kick when compared to a roundhouse kick. These slight differences can change how the kick can be used in combat.
The main difference between the two is the positioning of the hips. With a roundhouse kick your hips are completely turned to create a powerful kick aimed to the opponent’s body.
However, with a 45 kick the hips don’t bend the whole way and the body is turned as you kick. This way you are still partially facing your opponent.
Roundhouse kicks are more powerful but not as fast whereas 45 kicks are faster but not as powerful.
These styles of kick are useful in fights as the chamber position of raising the leg before rotation makes it harder for your opponent to predict what kick is going to be used.
Step By Step
Below is a step by step guide on how to perform a 45 kick:
- Start this move by being in the fighting stance.
- For the chamber position, raise the knee up above your waist and point your toes.
- Make sure your body isn’t leaning forward or backward. You want a straight line down your back to your heel.
- Pivot on the base of your foot and twist your body.
- Bring your leg up at a 45 degree angle. Remember to point your toes.
- Slightly lean back to increase range of the kick.
- Kick forward and then snap your foot back.
- Keep your toes pointed when kicking as you’re aiming to hit your opponent with the instep.
- Land your kicking leg in front.
When kicking at a farther distance there are a few techniques to use in order to reach your opponent.
You could hop on your pivot foot while bringing your knee up to gain the distance, or you step forward on your pivot foot before getting into chamber position.
If you are kicking from a much shorter distance you can get space by either sliding or stepping back before performing a 45 kick.
Many people struggle with balance when first learning how to kick. You can practice your balance by holding onto a wall or something of an appropriate height like a chair.
Other Kicks In Taekwondo
Also known as a snap kick due to its rapid motion. To perform you raise your knee and quickly extend your leg. This technique is used to push back as well as injure.
Flying Side Kick
Known primarily from movies, this is a sidekick performed while jumping in the air. This is done by taking off from the non-kicking leg and landing on the same foot.
Essentially a reverse side kick. You start by facing your opponent, you then pivot away from them, then you kick backwards while looking at your opponent so you know where you’re striking.
The aim of the kick is to hit your opponent with your heel for maximum power.
Similar to a front kick but when the foot is at its apex the leg is whipped in an arc to strike on the other side. This is useful for getting inside your opponent’s defenses.
A modern trend in Taekwondo and competitive martial arts. This kick is performed by raising the leg high in the air and then forcefully bringing it down. The target for this kick is basically anything above the torso.
Tips When Kicking
While it may seem simple it is important to master the basic technique first. You can work on adding power and speed later, you have to drill the actual technique to make it easier to improve yourself.
Balance is key when learning a kick. It doesn’t matter how strong or fast you are, if you fall over before you can even get a kick off it gives the opponent an opportunity to strike.
Your flexibility is a large part of how well you can perform higher kicks. Over time your flexibility will improve by just doing Taekwondo, but performing simple everyday stretches can help in the long run.
Break a kick down into stages, this will help you remember it better and also perfect each part of the technique.
After performing a kick, remember to prepare to block a counter attack.
Like any martial art, there are risks to consider when learning Taekwondo. The most common is bruises or straining of leg muscles. These can happen in a common spar and can be mitigated by proper stretching and icing bruises when at home.
While Taekwondo is a self defense art it doesn’t mean that its offensive techniques aren’t powerful. Contact Taekwondo spars can result in injuries and in extreme cases fractures.
Most people learn a martial art to protect themself, which is why it is surprising that you are able to hurt yourself with Taekwondo. Either through injuring yourself through poor technique or inadvertently getting into more conflicts believing you can win.
It is important to always practice caution and treat Taekwondo like the fighting style that it is. One of the student oaths of Taekwondo is “I shall never misuse Taekwondo” so any fighting that you do should be left to sparring and tournaments.