Best Tae Kwon Do Turning Kick Balance Drill
In almost all martial arts, the power behind every kick (also every upper body strike) begins in the core of the body, also called the center. This is the area of the lower torso that lies between the flares of the hip bones, and since this is the body’s center of gravity and all extremities and large muscle groups anchor here, this area controls the successful delivery of every kick, regardless of intention or style.
In martial arts, the success of a kick is defined by two things: control and force. Control comes from balance and technique, and force comes from the power and conditioning of the muscles extending from the center. Both of these areas of strength can be supported by the right kinds of repetition and practice. Martial artists should choose their practice drills carefully, because the moves that are repeated over and over again under the eyes of an experienced trainer will become ingrained, both in the mind (balance and technique) and in the condition of the necessary muscle groups.
This tae kwon do balance drill emphasizes both control and strength, and multiple repetitions of the drill can help martial artists develop the innate sense of balance and coordination that will keep the turning kick anchored in the center. Before practicing this balance drill, martial artists and tae kwon do students should already understand the mechanics of the turning kick and should have some practice executing the kick in real speed. This drill will slow down the motions of the kick, isolate every micro motion, and add the resistance of the Kbands, which will place extra tension on the muscles of the hip flexors, back and core.
This extra tension will develop strength and condition in the muscles, and the slow speed of the move will push tae kwon do practitioners to think about balance and control during the turn.
Tae Kwon Do Turning Kick Balance Drill: Setting Up the Drill
While executing the Turning Kick Balance Drill at home, martial artists can use a chair as a point of reference. In the video, Tae Kwon do Instructor Jason uses two body shields balanced together. The obstacle used for reference should not be too high or too low, but should fall just under the height of the hip (or the leg when extended).
After choosing a reference point, athletes can attach the Kband straps to the upper legs with the label and metal rings facing outward. Then they can clip the resistance bands to the straps with the long back in the front and the short band in the back.
Executing the Taw Kwon Do Turning Kick Balance Drill
When they’re ready to execute the Turning Kick Balance Drill, practitioners can stand beside the chair or obstacle and begin the kick in slow motion. The arms should be engaged, the knee should be bent at a 90 degree angle, and the leg should be raised at the hip. In the case of the video, the kick begins in a back stance, but athletes can use this exercise with a wide variety of kick stances.
The leg should be raised high enough to pass over the obstacle with plenty of clearance. Not only will this extension push athletes to focus on balance, it will also apply pressure to the muscles and tendons of the hip.
The force of a kick should never come from the ground, but should instead begin in the center. Instructors should watch closely to makes sure students aren’t kicking from the floor or allowing the power of the kick to center in the knee, foot, or lower leg. In addition to the power of the kick, the balance of the entire body should stay centered and positioned above the anchoring leg.
Athletes should keep the motion of the kick slow and smooth. This drill concentrates the attention on centering and balance, not the delivery of the kick, so the explosive power should not be discharged, but should stay in the hip for the entire motion. After moving the elevated knee over the obstacle, athlete can plant the foot back on the ground in a slow, controlled fashion. Then they can reverse the position of the body and execute the same move from the opposite direction.
When it’s completed properly, this Turning Kick Balance Drill will take the form of a smooth, elegant, controlled maneuver that can be repeated over and over again without a pause.
Tae Kwon Do Turning Kick Balance Drill: Final Notes
Beginning students may experience a strong temptation to drop the knee and allow the leg to break its parallel relationship to the floor. The added resistance of the Kbands will pull the knee downward and increase this temptation. But students should work hard against this resistance and recognize that the Kbands are designed to increase the strength and condition of the muscles that control the turning kick.
The use of the Kbands will also push students to develop a greater range of motion. After removing the bands, students may find the muscles of the leg and hip feel lighter and freer than they did before. Repeating this drill on a regular basis or adding it to the beginning of a standard training session can bring amazing results to the power and balance behind the turning kick.
This drill should be completed in 60 second rounds at a time, with students moving fluidly from one side of the body to the other without stopping for 60 full seconds at a time. Athletes can complete two rounds with the Kbands resistance bands in place, followed by two more rounds with the resistance removed.
After mastering the basics of this drill, students and athletes can move on the Chambering Side Kick Drill, which can be found in the martial arts training section of KbandsTraining.com. The site also offers a growing list of athletic training drills for a wide variety of sports, and more information about the proper use of resistance and suspension training equipment.
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