How to do Side Kick

Side kick is usually the third kick after the front kick and roundhouse kick to be taught to the students of martial arts. It’s difficult to master initially but once learnt and practiced much, it becomes very simple and easy to execute.

Sidekick is literally a beautiful kick! Add a slight fraction of a second stay to the kick and voila, the charm and beauty of a perfectly executed side kick mesmerizes anyone viewing it!

How to perform a side kick

A sidekick is initially taught by breaking it into 4 steps and then the steps merged into one kick. The steps follow each other and are not broken in between to stop the kick, rather just to pause in between the steps to perfect the position and technique. Once the student is confident and understands the steps for how to do a side kick, he combines the steps to make them one kick, in a flow.

The first three steps are the ones till the kick reaches the target; fourth one is to move the kick back to the stance and being ready for the next kick.

The steps divided for sidekick can be better understood with images or video. The steps are as follows:

  1. The first step of executing the side kick is to raise the striking leg’s bent knee upwards like we do in the front kick. The knee should go as high as possible, even if the fighter has to hit low. Once the kick is in this condition that the knee is bent and raised as high as possible, like the first part of the front kick, the front part of the sidekick ends.
  2. The second part of the sidekick simply involves twisting at 90 degree. The practitioner, with the help of the toes (not heels) of the supporting leg twists 90 degree, so that now his side faces towards the target and the striking bent leg is towards the target.
  3. The third step is to move the foot towards the target. The body slants posteriorly slightly as the leg straightens and the foot moves towards the target. By the end of the third stage, the attacking leg is straight and foots sole, heel or blade is at the target, which the supporting legs foot is pointing backwards, 180 degrees from the opponent.
  4. The attacking foot remains at the target with a jerk for a fraction of a second and then folds back for the fourth stage of the side kick, bringing back the practitioner to the stance, ready for the next kick.

The four steps remain the same once the person gets expert with individual steps, however now he executes them without delaying between the steps, in a flow.

The arms remain at the same position in side kick as they do in roundhouse. The attacking legs arm is straight with the body, slightly away from it, while the other arm’s fist is in front of the mouth / face, protecting it, but at a slight distance so that the opponents kick or blow don’t push the persons own fist on his face, injuring himself.

It’s important to note that one should control his body when he hits the target and right after it, the body shouldn’t “fall” during or after the attack. Should remain in perfect posture and position when the kick hits and when it’s combing back.


Exercises to improve side kick

Sidekick requires total body strength including the core to hold the attackers body. To help the practitioner gain strength and perfection in side kick, he should follow these exercises:

–       Side stretching (atleast till the target)

–       Dynamic stretching

–       Side kick stay (atleast till the target)

–       Abdominal muscles (side abs specially)

Ideal is to have a stay and not just the stretching upto the opponents face level, however initially the practitioner should start low, where he can stay easily and then proceed with a constant pace.

Targets for side kick

Sidekick is used for both push and strike purpose. The blade of the foot can be used as a chop attack too.

The usual targets for a side kick are:

–       Face

–       Neck

–       Chest

–       Abdomen

–       Knee

–       Ribs / sides (from the side of the opponent)

–       Back (when hitting from behind)

Blocks for side kick

Side kick gets confusing sometimes due to the dodge capability, so blocking can be tricky sometimes. So the blocking or countering the sidekick depends mainly on the situation and the position of the opponent.

The sidekick can be blocked in several ways such as:

–       Stepping back and getting away from the range of kick

–       Stepping aside, moving to side is more effective than stepping back in most situations as you can attack or counter the opponent more effectively that way

–       Deflecting the kick in our out with the blocking hand

Combinations for side kick

Side kick, once mastered, can be executed from a variety of poses and conditions.. The combinations are endless! Some of the combinations for an idea are:

–       Roundhouse kick, sidekick

–       Side kick, side push kick

–       Front kick, side kick

–       Side kick, back kick

–       Side kick, hook kick

–       Side kick, side kick, side kick, side kick

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