Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that developed during the 1940s and 50s.
It is primarily a competitive combat sport, where contestants compete to score points by landing strikes and kicks on their opponent.
This martial art focuses mainly on kicks, with kicks to the head scoring the most points off all the strikes.
Taekwondo makes use of both standing and flying kicks, and as such requires great leg strength and flexibility.
The front kick is one of the most basic attacks in any martial artists’ arsenal.
There are a few different ways that it can be used, and in this article we will be covering all of them.
In the following sections, you will learn how to perform different variations of the front kick, as well as tips for getting better at it.
The Different Types Of Front Kick
A front kick can be defined as any kick where your leg travels directly in front of you in a straight line.
It is one of the first kicks taught in many martial arts from Kung Fu to Taekwondo since it doesn’t require exceptional power or balance.
However, just because the kick is commonly taught to beginners doesn’t mean it isn’t useful for more advanced martial artists as well.
When executed properly, this kick can be very effective at dealing a lot of damage, and it can be executed with incredible speed and efficiency.
There are a few different types of front kick, all of which can be used in Taekwondo, although some will be more useful than others.
This is the most common front kick that you will use in Taekwondo, because it is fast, powerful and very versatile.
Kicks can only score points in Taekwondo when they are landed above the waist, hence why you want to be aiming for your opponent’s chest when executing a snap kick.
The snap kick can be divided into three different stages to help you learn it quickly.
These stages are bringing the knee up, snapping out the foot, and recovery. Generally, you will kick from a basic stance with one foot in front of the other and your heels in line.
You can kick with either leg, but for the moment try doing it with your back leg, as this will help with getting more momentum and power.
When you raise your back leg, do so with your knee bent at a 90° and your toes pointing at the ground.
To get your kick high enough to hit your opponents’ chest, you want to raise your knee as high as you can.
Once your knee is raised, you need to rapidly straighten your leg in a snapping motion, hence why it is called a snap kick.
Snap out your knee to strike with the sole of your foot and then bring it back, so you can recover.
Bend your knee again and return your foot to its original position to finish the kick.
The Thrust Kick
This kick is very similar to the snap kick, except it uses more power from the hips to push your opponent away rather than strike them.
The thrust kick isn’t commonly used in Taekwondo because it lacks power for triggering the sensor in the chest protector to score a point.
That said, this kick is a fast and effective way of pushing your opponent away from you, so you can avoid their attacks.
To perform this kick, you want to start with the same preparation that you used for the snap kick by raising up your knee.
As you raise the knee, you want to thrust forward with the hips to give the kick more power.
When you extend your leg, it does not snap out and then snap back to its original position as with the snap kick.
Instead, you extend your leg and hit your opponent with the ball of your foot or heel and push forward as though you are taking an exaggerated step forward.
After making contact with your opponent, you can fall forward onto your kicking leg to regain your stance and finish the kick.
Although it is not used as frequently as the snap kick, the thrust kick has several applications in Taekwondo when it comes to defense.
Which Leg Should I Kick With?
You can perform a front kick with both the front and rear leg, and you will use different legs for achieving different results.
Kicking with the back leg allows you to generate a lot more power, which will help with overcoming your opponent’s defenses.
The reason for this is that bringing your back leg forwards involves a swinging motion, giving you more momentum for delivering a much stronger kick.
So you should try to always kick with your rear leg when you can, however, the issue with this is that your opponent may see it coming.
Since your back leg has to travel further to reach your opponent than your front, you may end up accidentally telegraphing your attack.
This will give your opponent a valuable opportunity to dodge or counter-attack.
Kicking with the front leg is much faster, but significantly less powerful.
Often martial artists will kick with the front leg when trying to stun your opponent and interrupt their attacks. Doing this will give you a chance to follow up with a more powerful kick to score points.
Front kicks are among the easiest to learn for complete beginners.
However, once you have mastered them, these kicks will be an important tool in your arsenal, especially in Taekwondo.
Getting your kicks high enough to hit your opponent’s chest will take a lot of stretching and training.
At first, you won’t have the flexibility required to get this kick as high as you want it, but with time and patience, you will be able to perform a flawless snap or thrust kick in no time.
Once you get really good, you can try executing a snap kick in midair for your first flying kick.