How to do Wheel Kick
Wheel kick is so called because the striking leg makes a full circle without any bends in it, strikes the target, and keeps on flowing in the same direction and comes back to the stance position.
The beauty of the turning kicks is that they’re hard to pick and hard to block too due to the momentum of the whole body attached to them if executed perfectly. Along with that as they arise from behind the body, while the opponents eyes and mind are focusing on the front of the attacker, they’re missed sometimes and have greater chance of giving a hit.
Again, the wheel kick might seem pretty much simple and easy when viewing it, but it’s not. Infact that’s the beauty of a trained expert that he makes difficult maneuvers and techniques appear quite simple and easy and his body remains relaxed during and after the execution of that kick.
Wheel kick requires extreme balance, spinning speed and power in the core, hips and thigh muscles specially to effectively damage the opponent. Perfectly timed wheel kick can knock out the opponent instantly. It’s a usual kick to be performed as a counter for the attacks from the opponent.
How to perform a wheel kick
Wheel kick is mainly executed with both the legs completely straight without bending the leg and the kick goes and comes back to the stance position where it started from in the same way. However some fighters modify it a bit and the kick is bent between the way and is straight when it’s hitting the target. You can call it a combination between a wheel kick and a back kick.
While learning how to do a wheel kick, the student has to practice the original kick in its proper way, the techniques for fight can be modified according to the situation and requirement.
The simple wheel kick can be executed in the following way:
- While standing in the fighting / kicking stance, shift the weight of the body to the supporting leg, freeing the striking leg from all the weight of the body, while keeping both the feet touching the ground.
- Once the weight is shifted to the supporting leg twist the body and start moving the striking leg in a round motion from behind, so that both the legs remain straight. Swing / twist on the toes, not the heel.
- The striking foot should reach the target without bending and should keep moving forward, completing the circle and landing at the point where it started from, without bending till the kill ends. The heel of the foot hits the target, curl back the toes of the striking foot so that the heel gets tight and prominent to hit.
- The upper body remain as straight as possible
- The torso / chest don’t bend forward towards the striking kick at all
- Keep both the arms in front of the body in such a way that both the elbows are close together and both the forearms are close and parallel to each other during the wheel kick. Don’t open the arms and swing them around
- If the student finds it difficult to keep the leg straight while kicking, it’s fine to kick low initially, but the leg should remain straight. You can lower the kick as low as knees even initially to get the balance and control over the body.
Exercises to improve wheel kick
Wheel kick requires stretching and power + balance.
The kick itself is an exercise for itself spelling for head spinning and dizziness after some kicks. So keep practicing to improve your wheel kick.
Other than that, front and side stretching, especially dynamic back stretching is essential in an effective wheel kick. Kicks stay in side kick position will help the practitioner to execute the kick with power and much more control.
Do multiple wheel kicks at once with single caution without any delay in between to improve the kick. The kick lands, foot touches the ground and then launches again like a spring movement, without any delay in between.
Targets for Front Kick
Wheel kick mainly targets the head and neck area of the opponent. However it can be used to hit the legs, knees or ankle if situation requires.
Blocks for wheel kick
A well-executed wheel kick is hard to block due to its speed and being concealed. Few techniques to block or counter wheel kick are:
- The most efficient way is to move back from the kick
- The fast moving wheel kick might not give time to step back, to bending backwards is the best option in those situations
- While blocking wheel kick to the head, neck or face, don’t bring your arms / hands forward to stop the flow of the kick as it might be damaging to them, instead, keep the hands just near the face to keep it from hitting the head, neck or face incase it reaches there before the body is bent backwards
- Intersect the kick by stepping in, so much so to touch the persons body with yours, this way his attack might become unstable and you will be no more in the target too
- Stop the raising wheel kick by raising your knee
- Stepping in and stopping the wheel kick as near the knee or hip as possible with your hands.
- Wheel kick can be effectively countered by front kick, side kick or roundhouse kick perfectly time accordingly
- Wheel kick as a counter right after the opponent has crossed his foot in front of your face can be very effective as he might get hit as soon as his kick ends, giving him no time to respond to your attack as he won’t be seeing your kick coming, or won’t be able to focus on it at-least.
- Sitting / dunking down to avoid the kick by dodging
- Sweep kick while the opponents wheel kick is in the air, unbalances him and will make him fall!
All these wheel kick block and counter techniques and any other might seem simple, but require extreme perfection and practice repeatedly, as there is only a fraction of second to respond to a fast hitting wheel kick, only a block or counter technique which one has mastered enough to make it his reflex can work in that situation to save him from the strike of a heel from wheel kick.
Combinations of front kick
The disguising and deadly wheel kick can be combined with a number of kicks, to dodge and to attack, both. Possibilities are endless, but remember the combination should be the one in which the striker don’t lose his balance or composure as the spin of the wheel kick might get you out of line and direction if the technique isn’t practiced extensively specially.
Few examples of combinations in which wheel kick can be used are:
- Roundhouse kick, wheel kick
- Roundhouse kick, wheel kick, roundhouse kick
- Roundhouse kick, side push kick, wheel kick
- Inward in flying kick, wheel kick, roundhouse kick
- Wheel kick, outflying kick
- Wheel kick, step wheel kick
Practice is the key to every kick and technique. Be it combo or a counter. So practice hard and make that technique your reflex.