Tensoku Ryu students studying to achieve their Yellow Belt (Hachikyu) ranking study numerous stationary kicks. In this post we will discuss those kicks that are delivered off to the side, or more specifically in the direction of local octagon angle three or four.
The kicks presented in this post are not provided in any particular order. Tensoku Ryu students learn these kicks at different times during the time spent studying for the Yellow Belt ranking. For example, Yoko Geri is a requirement to earn the first stripe while Yoko Fumikomi Geri is part of the third stripe requirements. Kicks are introduced in a specific sequence so that more advanced skills are developed only after underlying fundamental skills have been studied.
You should not attempt any of these kicks without proper instruction. You should also learn these kicks in the order prescribed on the Yellow Belt Curriculum Card.
You may also wish to view the other kicking information posts listed at the bottom of this page.
The Yoko Geri is generally called a side kick. It is delivered using the front leg, making it a generally fast kick. The kick can be initiated from Sochin Dachi by raising the front leg and pointing the knee and your center toward octagon angle 3 (assuming kicking with the right leg). The foot should point down and be adjacent to your pedestal leg with the toes pulled back. Simultaneously rotate the pedestal foot so the toes of that foot point to your original angle 2. While maintaining an effective guard position, drive the heel and back edge of the kicking foot into the target located at your original octagon angle one. Ideally your toes will be at a lower elevation than your heel at the moment of contact. This will help project the back edge of the foot directly into the target area. Rotating the pedestal foot provides increased range, added power, and greatly improved balance to the kick.
Another substantial benefit of the pedestal foot position is that you will achieve better structural stability. If your foot were aligned along the three-four axis of the octagon then impacting something located toward angle one would put pressure along the narrow width of your foot. It is hard to resist sideways rotational forces across the narrow part of the foot. By positioning the foot so it is along the one-two axis of the octagon the entire length of the foot can be used to help absorb and control energies received from contact with the target.
After delivering the kick immediately return the knee to its prior position and then lower the foot back to establish you next stance. As with most kicks in Tensoku Ryu you will want to focus more effort and energy in returning the knee than you do at extending the kick. This is an example of where Disproportionality can be beneficial. The returning knee can be used to pull your hips inward over your knees while concurrently pulling your shoulders forward and over your hips. This will automatically bring you back to a structurally sound erect posture so that you can rapidly move at the completion of the kick.
It helps to achieve proper foot alignment if you think of rotating the hip associated with the kicking leg forward during the extension of the kicking leg. The rotation helps better position the foot so that the back edge properly impacts the target. This rotation will also improve your balance and stability when you make contact with the target.
Yoko Kekomi Geri
Yoko Kekomi Geri is a thrusting version of the Yoko Geri. Here the same general delivery of the Yoko Geri is performed, but at the last second the hips rotate a little further around so that the large Gluteus Maximus muscles come into proper alignment to drive the kick forward with maximum impact. The kick is locked into place for approximately ¼ of a second to ensure maximum extension of the kick.
The heel is the focus of impact with this kick. To ensure the heel makes direct contact with the target the kicking-side hip is rotated forward abruptly just prior to impact. This will thrust the heel directly forward and into the target with substantial additional force and penetration. Getting this timing right is quite difficult. You will need to work with your instructor to understand and appreciate what you need to do to achieve this greatly increased power. It is definitely an issue of timing and not an issue of adding more intensity to the kick.
After the leg has been fully extended you must quickly retract the kick to reduce the possibility of your opponent grabbing it. The kick should be pulled directly away from the opponent by briskly retracting the knee so that the knee approaches your center line (near your belly button). The only way this can be done effectively is to think about retracting the knee, not the foot. If you think of retracting the foot then your foot will hook back and in the direction of your rear. This will neither pull you back into proper erect position nor afford you the opportunity to move quickly. It also does not offer you the opportunity to deliver the same kick twice in a row, which a proper return will permit. It also increases the possibility that an opponent will achieve a successful grab of your kicking leg. Your leg will be much harder to grab if it is pulled directly away from the opponent.
Power Thrust Kick
The Yoko Kekomi Geri can also be performed by using the back leg. We refer to this as Power Thrust Kick because the forward inertia required to deliver it adds additional impetus and power to the kick. The back knee raises as the body turns on the pedestal leg until the toes point to angle two and the kicking knee points to angle three. Then the kicking leg extends to drive the heel into the target at angle 1. From here the kick functions exactly like a Yoko Kekomi Geri.
Some martial arts styles define the front leg version as Yoko Kekomi Geri, while others give this same name to the back leg version. We will refer to the front leg version as Yoko Kekomi Geri. We will use the name Power Thrust Kick when referring to the back leg version.
Knife Edge Kick
A knife edge kick is identical to a Yoko Geri with the exception that the entire outside edge of the foot is used to impact the target rather than the back edge and heel. This subtle variation might be used when the foot needs to fit into a confined space or where having a narrow striking surface may offer strategic benefit. You will see this general kicking methodology employed in the Slicking Kick discussed in the post on Yellow Belt Rotating Kicks.
Aside from utilizing a slightly different striking surface this kick is identical to a Yoko Geri.
Yoko Fumikomi Geri
This kick is similar to Mae Fumikomi Geri except that the front leg is raised into the initial Yoko Geri position before the foot is driven downward into a target on the floor. The same caution regarding avoiding weight transfer onto the kicking foot applies.