Side Kicks… How to Practice!

Scientifically proven as the STRONGEST kick in all of martial arts, the reverse side kick is found in Taekwondo, Karate, and a myriad of other martial art styles. This kick has been proven to generate up to 700 psi upon impact! At Kowkabany’s Family Martial Arts, we practice many variations of the side kick in our regular lessons, including the simple #3 side kick (step up with the back leg and kick with the front leg), the reverse side kick, the step jump reverse side kick, and even 360-degree and 540-degree side kicks! However, if you want to master these advanced kicks like Chief Master Laura Kowkabany (8th Degree Black Belt), then like other elite athletes, we would suggest you start to perfect your basics by consistently practicing these drills.

The simplest way to practice, and a drill that is perfect for doing while you’re watching television at home, is to lie down on your side on the floor and practice the basic chamber and rechamber motion with slow repetitions. Being on the floor allows you to focus simply on this vital part of the kick, ensuring that the knee is drawn completely back into the chest, and the foot is kept up as high as the knee. As you slowly kick out, you should make sure that the knee stays directly behind the foot, and that the toes are pulled back so that the heel is the striking point.

After practicing kicks on the floor, the next step is to practice the side kicks while standing. However, as a beginner, it can be difficult to practice balancing while still focusing on your chamber and foot position. Therefore, we suggest that you practice while holding on to a chair, as this eliminates the need to focus on balancing while you stand. Practicing your martial arts kicks while standing will develop more strength in the kicking leg, as well as in the torso, the hips and in the standing leg. Remember, when you practice while standing, it is also important that you pivot the standing foot (the heel of the base foot should be aimed towards the target in the direction of the kick).

There are many variations of these drills, but these two are the most appropriate for beginners who wish to practice at home, and even for advanced students who wish to polish their basics. One final note: Sr. Master Kowkabany is pictured here with her instructor, Chief Master Clark, who has been her instructor for over 39 years! Even with all of her years of experience, she still makes time to train under his watchful eye to continually improve her technique. Practice at home, but also be sure to get into your classes regularly so that your instructors can provide you with feedback on improving your technique.