Exercise kicks

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The front and side exercise kicks are not intended to be fighting techniques; they are awkward and weak. Front and side exercise kicks are dynamic hip stretches and teaching tools for kicking fundamentals.

Front exercise kick

To execute a front exercise kick, enter a front stance with a cross-body block. Then, swing your leg forward from with your hip alone; the knee and ankle remain locked. Try to kick as high as possible; try to knee yourself in the chest. Keep your back perpendicular to the floor. Keep your toes curled back to expose the ball of the foot. When the kick has completed, reverse the process and swing your leg down and back into a good front stance, as shown in the video below:

[video of a front exercise kick slow and fast from the front , and from the kicking side]

Side exercise kick

To execute a side exercise kick, enter an attention stance with a side guard to protect your face and floating ribs. We could explain how, but it’s much easier to just show you:

[photo of attention stance with a side guard. From front and side]

Then, rotate your leg up to the side, again locking the knee and ankle. Arch your back as you swing. For maximum extension, rotate your supporting foot so that your toes point towards your head. It seems silly, but the results are drastic:

[video of a side exercise kick slow and fast from the front, and from the kicking side. Follow with a closeup of the pivoting foot. Demonstrate a side exercise kick slow, from a front view, with and without a foot pivot]

Point your big toe up and your other toes down, to form the sokutō. As you kick, switch your hands -- press your leading-hand down to protect your groin, and raise your other hand to protect your face. Then, reverse the process and return to attention stance to complete the kick. These hand positions wont protect you, but transitioning between the two will swat an opponent’s attacks away.

Avoid leaning to the side to increase the kick's height. Side exercise kicks are harder to do without leaning, but the entire point of doing them is to improve your balance and stretch your hips.