Wednesday, 30 October 2013

3 kicking drills that will improve your kicks

Here are 3 kicking drills that I am sure you will find both fun and challinging. They will also help to improve Balance, targeting, stringing kicks together and body Control. So without much further ado here they are:-) It has absolutly nothing to do With forms Applications or self defense but it is very Challenging (is that a Word?) and fun. The high kicks have been a part of Taekwondo since the 50s and are a Direct Korean influence. They are not good for self defense (at least not in the incarnation being drilled here) but they work extremly well in competition and friendly sparring:-) Doing them will also make Your legs stronger, and will make it easier to master the kicks to low targets as well:-)

First you must be warmed up before attempting this. Second you need to have mastered single kicks. The kicks you must have mastered is
  1. Ap Chagi (front kick)
  2. Dollyo Chagi (Turning Kick/Roundhouse Kick)
  3. Ap Hyero Chagi (It is like a reverse dollyo Chagi where you kick a sidekick to the side of the target and then snap Your foot back toward Your glutes as if trying to kick Your own glutes.)
  4. Yop Chagi (side kick)
Stand in fighting stance two and two together facing each other. You should be at a distance where you can fulle stretch Your kicks without toucing the opponent, but yet be as Close as possible. The kicks are done by one leg at a time without putting the leg Down between the kicks. The kicks are thrown by the back leg:-)

Drill one:
Kick ap chagi (front kick) toward opponents solar plexus (myong chi) then dollyo chagi (roundhouse kick) toward opponents temple without putting Your foot Down. Do this 10 times on each leg then switch so the other guy gets to kick.

Drill two:
Kick yop chagi (Side kick) toward opponents solar plexus, then ap hyero chagi (look at explonation above) toward opponents jaw without putting Your leg Down in between kicks. Do this 10 times on each leg then switch so the other guy gets to kick.

Drill Three
Kick front kick to solar plexus, roundhouse kick to opponents temple, side kick to opponents solar plexus and ap hyero chagi to opponents jaw then put Your foot Down. Do this 10 times on each leg and then switch so the other guy can kick.

The key to success in these drills is to not overcomitting to any of the kicks, the twisting of the standing leg (must be done on the ball of the foot) and keeping Your knee as high as possible in the Chambers for the kicks. If you want to try them out please let me know how it turned out:-) Also if you have questions please let me know:-)


  1. wow!!!

    will try them for sure...

    drill no. 3 seems challenging!!

    1. It is very challenging. Both for Balance and for leg strength:-)

  2. Hi,
    I love your blog. some very cool stuff. I recently made a side kick tutorial, and I was wondering if I could get your opinion of it? Thanks so much!

    1. Thank you for the kind words :-) Its been crazy busy here getting ready for Christmas but I will give you detailed feedback after Christmas is over;-) Merry Christmas

  3. I am 48 years old woman and just started TKD and recently attained my yellow belt. I have difficulties stretchings especially performing dollyo en nheryo chagis. Would I able to improve if I follow your drill tips overtime? I tend to think that I am too old for this sport. Please let me know if I am being ridiculous for trying to be ambitious in my TKD sport. Thanks.

    1. I think you have the right mental attitude. Many get hung up on age and taekwondo. I'm not saying you'll be jumping around like a 20 year old, but I do not think 48 is too old to start and still get proficient to a high degree:-)

      You can use these drills, as they will build and challenge your leg strength, core strength, and balance, but the thing I would focus most on if I were you is "dynamic stretching". If you follow this blog I will try to videotape and write about the dynamic stretching drills that I favour. Perhaps I'll get it out on saterday:-) I'll make it especially for you:-)

    2. Sorry had to work overtime so no video was taken. I'll try again next Friday so perhaps next saterday:-)

  4. Oh thank you for your fast reply. I tried as much as I could with stretching. I often immediately have muscle cramps around my hamstring immediately the day after. I do lots of problems balancing myself when I have to do inner thigh stretching both standing and sitting stretching with one leg forward and one leg bent backwards. They hurt like hell. I know this is normal for novice like me. I hope overtime my stretching improves. I have problems holding up my legs in the air especially yop chagi...this too is part of the stretching exercise we have to do. Please advise if there is way to improve them.

    1. If you want top notch stretching advice, I would advice you to buy the book "Stretching scientificly" (I might have misspelled it a little) by Thomas Kurtz. Many People think that flexibility is just flexibility but in sport science we usually differentiate between several different kinds. The one I would focus on when it comes to normal kicking (as in sparring, self defense and most forms) is "Dynamic flexibility". This is why I recommend leg swings as that is a great way to develop that kind of flexibility :-)

      As for the static stretching that you are describing I would recommend that you start slow, and do it every other day (i.e. monday wedensday, Friday, etc). Do it little but often. Get into the position that you are slightly uncomfortable and hold for about 15-30 Seconds. Research has shown that holding the stretch for longer periods of time might not make a big difference in results so I think it is better to do little but often :-)

      Hope this helps .

      PS When I say leg swings and dynamic stretching I do NOT mean ballistic stretching. The two Methods look very similar but in dynamic stretching (/leg swings in this particular conversation) you are in Complete Control throughout. Ballistic stretching on the other hand is like when you kick fast and high. You are not in Complete Control anymore and it is easy to hurt yourself doing this if you do not know what you are doing and or if you are not sufficiently warmed up.

  5. The teens from our club had just finished their competition last week and today I heard lots of angry parents in the hallway of our club complaining that our Saboem Nim did not do enough to train and prepare their kids for the competition but I begged to differ. I saw the list of our rank, we stood number 25 amongst the 50 but we gained overall 27 points. Highest gainer was 234 points. Is there any advice you could give because I believe it's not the fault of the club but the parents themselves.

    1. I can not really give any advice on this issue. I am unfamiliar with this kind of competition (you say we stodd number 25 amongst 50 so I am guessing that your Dojang was in the middle overall).

      Being Norwegian I come from a culture that promotes sports, but we do it very differently than other cultures. We stress the mentality of it being something done for "fun" and the enjoyment of participating. We do not focus too much on the winners, and the mantra goes: "Its not winning that is important, but participating". This and the "dugnadsånd" (People comming together and work for free to Reach a goal) is what perhaps best describes the Norwegian sports attitude. We have proffessional athletes, and we get good results (small country but we managaed a silver at the Olympics in Taekwondo in Sidney for instance).

      Also I have a teacher that has always stressed the philosophy of "Mudo" (Mu being Warrior, and Do being "the way"). This philosophy has some overlap with the classical western attitude toward sport (good spirit, good sportsmanship, honor etc) but it also has a lot that runs contrary to sport.

      Personally I think that Taekwondo overall has lost a lot of important philosophy in the last 10-20 years because of the focus on sport. If I have to give an advice on the issue I would say that it seems your Dojang did more than OK, and that it is only Natural that parents wants their children to be the best, and so not finishing overall in the top might make them annoyed. But then again what do they know about the Teachers plan? Is he developing them to be champions of the future? Gradually building them up over time (which is a healthy attitude)? My Guess is that they dont know anything about the Teachers thoughts and plans for the future. There is nothing wrong with making a mediocre performance today to become world champions in 5 years time ;-) Or perhaps your teacher spends some time on sport but do not focus on it too much because Taekwondo is so so so so much more than its sportive Expression? This is common in Norway where you have a Dojang of 40-100 People and perhaps 1-3 % of the members actually compete actively.

      PS: I used to be a Taekwondo athlete when I was younger, and I did very good in local competitions, and placed well in National ones as well. I even got to represent Norway in the World Taekwondo Hanmadang in 2006-2007 in forms.

      PPS: Ignore the angry parents ;-)

    2. Thanks for your good advices. I was at the dojang for training and despite was a public holiday, a volunteer Saboem Nim came to train us the diehard Taekwondokas (only 6 of us) turned up. Anyway, please Meester Nielsen, I would like to ask if you have attended any International Open Ilyo Poomsae competition? Are these just Taeguks styles? I tried YouTube channel and saw few of these videos shown competitors performing their Taeguks in a rather warrior styles! Comparing my own Taeguks that I am doing now, I am no where their high standards at all.

    3. No the tournaments were WTF approved so they were not "open". I will see if I can provide a link to what I mean, but if you go youtubing "WTF Poomsae World Championship" I am sure you will find the kind of competition I trained for (allthough not that high Level ;-) )

      In those tournaments you do the KTA/WTF forms (Taegeuk 1-8 and the black belt forms Koryo to illyeo). Getting good at Taekwondo takes effort and quite a few years so do not become dishearted to see People at a much higher Level. After all: No matter how good you are, there will allways be someone out there who is better ;-)

  6. Meester Nielsen,

    Is there a way or techniques to learn how to take those kicks and blows with less pain!!?! I lose 3 times the mock sparring exercises today and the last one was the worst because I lose my cool and wanted to strike my Saboem Nim in his face but luckily he thrown and held me down to the floor. I know I was not supposed to react emotionally.... But I was angry because he really hurt me bad and I was reacting to the pain. I had pulse, arm and feet blessures. Any techniques to learn to harden these areas looking thT these are areas which will get hit often. Thank you.

    1. Where do you get hit often? Is it Your forearms that gets the pain? Does he hit Your solar plexus? other parts?

      When you say mock sparring do you mean 1,2,3 step sparring? As in formal sparring, agreed upon sparring?

      Toughening up Your forearms and feet will take dedicated training for some time. For forearms there are many traditional drills With or without a partner you can do. Most of the training is not "Nice" nor is it comfortable. In essence what you do is banging Your forearms against a partners forearms or against a tree etc. The trick is to do it not too hard to start With. It should be felt, and it should not be comfortable but it should not actually hurt you. Do little but often. If you forget yourself and go too hard and you get bruises etc stop doing that kind a training for a few days. To start with start slowly and perhaps 3 times a week for a few minutes at a time is OK.

      This training means that you will be in a little pain and you will ideally stay just outside Your Comfort zone so you can take more and more.

      Best advice I can give however would be to talk to Your teacher about it. He might be able to show you what I have written in just a few minutes, and perhaps he can give additional pointers as well.