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Scott Shaw
The Kicks of Hapkido

This is the first-draft of a previously published multi-part article I was asked to prepare on understanding Hapkido’s kicking methodology many years ago. You may find some of this information useful.

By Scott Shaw

Hapkido possesses all of the advanced kicking techniques commonly associated with Taekwondo. The offensive and defensive applications of the various kicks is the only thing which differs between these two Korean martial arts. Whereas, Taekwondo focuses its kicking predominately upon the offensive conquest of an opponent—Hapkido, on the other hand, redefines the Korean kicking arsenal to the degree that the kicks become effective in both offensive and defensive applications.

For any kicking technique to be truly effective, it must be fast, difficult to block, and must proceed to its target in the most efficient manner possible. To this end, the Hapkido kicking techniques which will be detailed in the following pages meet all of the previously described requirements—each serving their own unique purpose and self defense application.

Kicking Preliminaries
Both of your legs are instrumental whenever a kicking technique is performed. Your Base Leg is the leg that balances you and anchors your body to the ground. Your Striking or Kicking Leg is the leg that actually delivers the kick.

The Base Leg
Whenever you begin a kicking technique, you should allow the heel of the foot of your Base Leg to be raised slightly upward, approximately one half inch off the ground. This is accomplished by allowing your toes to bend slightly, as you come up on the ball of your foot. The reason kicking techniques are most efficiently performed from the ball of the foot is that this allows your body to maintain maximum mobility while the actual technique is in motion. By performing your kicks in this fashion, you additionally allow your foot to pivot into appropriate positioning while your kick proceeds towards its target, keeping you in balance throughout the execution of the technique.

If you were to lock your entire foot firmly upon the ground, as some martial art systems teach, this causes your ankle to become stagnate. Therefore, your ankle and the bones of your foot would have the potential of becoming needlessly injured while other portions of your body were rapidly shifting to compensate for the muscle driven momentum and power of your kicking technique.

The knee of the Base Leg should be slightly bent whenever a kicking technique is performed. This adds to the overall balance of your body—as you will be able to effortlessly adjust your body positioning by adding more or less bend to your knee to compensate for the height and velocity of your kick. The slightly bent knee of the Base Leg also aids you in your ability to quickly recover from your kicking technique. If the knee of your Base Leg were to remain locked into a straight up positioning, as you performed any kicking technique, the tendons, the cartilage, or the knee itself could easily become damaged.

The Striking Leg
The Striking Leg is never allowed to fully extend when a kicking technique is performed. The knee of the Striking Leg should remain slightly bent. This is accomplished by maintaining muscle control over your lower leg and not allowing the momentum of the kick to force your leg to extend unnecessarily.

As the knee joint is one of the most sensitive joints of the human body, by keeping the knee of your Base Leg and your Striking Leg slightly bent, you do not allow your knees to hyperextend or bend back, unnaturally, against themselves.

The Forward (Lead) Leg Kick
Many traditional martial art systems launch their kicking techniques solely from the rear leg. It is believed that by performing a kick in this fashion, the momentum and the power of the kick will be substantially increased. Though there is truth to this opinion, launching kicking techniques solely from the rear leg slows the kicks down considerably. For the reason of increased speed and additional overall effectiveness, in Hapkido, your kicks can be launched from either the Rear or the Forward Lead Leg—defined only by which will prove most effective. In this way, each kick will have the heightened ability to be tailored to match each self-defense situation.

The Front Kick
The Front Kick is the first kick that all budding martial artists are trained to perform. Though this kick is the most elementary kicking technique—when performed correctly, the Front Kick becomes one of the most devastatingly effective techniques in Hapkido’s offensive and defensive kicking arsenal.

Launching the Front Kick
The elementary Front Kick is performed by first standing in a traditional Fighting Stance, with fists clenched in front of you. You then launch your rear leg forward by rapidly raising the knee of your kicking leg up to approximately your hip level. The lower section of your kicking leg is then immediately snapped outwards in the direction of the kicking objective. The Front Kick’s power is developed by a combination of upper leg muscle strength and lower leg snapping momentum.

The impact of the Front Kick is made with the ball of your foot. This is accomplished by consciously pulling your toes back, thus, exposing the ball of your foot.

It is essentially important, when Front Kicking, that your toes are pulled back, even while wearing shoes. If the toes are allowed to remain in their naturally extended position, they can easily become broken when target impact is made.

Retracting the Front Kick
Japanese martial art systems teach to retract the Front Kick with the same snapping speed and velocity as it is delivered. If a Front Kick is immediately retracted upon impact, however, much of the Front Kick’s impact energy will be dissipated and lost due to the rapid snapping back of the leg. The Hapkido practitioner, therefore, does not perform the Front Kick in this fashion. Instead, the Front Kick is powerfully extended in, towards its target. Once impact has been made, the kicking leg is allowed to remain in position for a millisecond, in order that the full energy of the kick may be delivered to the target.

Focusing the Front Kick
The basic Front Kick is an ideal close contact-fighting weapon. It is perfect to unleash against an opponent who has faced off with you and is in very close proximity to your body.
As is commonly understood, a Front Kick to the groin of any individual is universally debilitating. Other close contact Front Kick targets are the solar plexus, the stomach, or under the jaw of your adversary.

The Limitation of the Basic Front Kick
There is one primary flaw to the basic Front Kick—that is its range. The basic Front Kick is generally delivered in a vertical motion. The advanced combatant can simply lean back out of a Front Kick’s upward driven path of attack and the kick will miss. Therefore, to develop the ability to make the basic Front Kick a truly effective self-defense weapon, it must be refocused at a target that will not be easily relocated.

Begin in a Fighting Stance. Prepare to launch a basic Front Kick from your rear leg. Instead of focusing the power of this kick upwards, focus it in towards the solar plexus region of your opponent. As you unleash your Front Kick, by extending it in a horizontal fashion, you will make powerful frontal contact with your opponent and he will not possess the ability to simply lean back out of the path of your kick. From this simple refocusing technique you have made the basic Front Kick much more combat effective.

The Momentum Driven Front Kick
You can slightly alter the basic Front Kick and make it a highly penetrating offensive weapon. To achieve this, you must initially understand that the Front Kick is not limited to the range of how far your kicking leg can extend from its current positioning. There is no reason, in any confrontational situation that you should remain firmly planted and locked into any one location. With this as your basis of understanding, you can take the Front Kick to its next level of effectiveness.

Stand in a Fighting Position. Ready yourself to perform a Front Kick. Instead of performing this Front Kick as a stationary technique, visualize a target several feet in front of yourself. As you snap your Front Kick outwards, allow the horizontal momentum driven power of the kick to pull your body forward, sliding your base foot along the ground. Do not attempt to hinder this forward motion. Let it move you closer in towards your target.

As you practice this Momentum Driven Front Kick, you will come to realize you can effortlessly travel several feet towards your opponent, without ever losing your balance. You can effectively strike him, by rapidly driving this Front Kick under his readied fists, in a rapid, non-stop motion.

This type of Front Kicking technique not only gives you additional range, but it gives you additional power, as well. This is because of the fact the force of your body weight is moving in towards your target.

Mistakes of the Momentum Driven Front Kick
The Momentum Driven Front Kick is a very effective weapon. The leading mistake many people who use this technique make is that they extend the snapping motion of their lower leg before they are ever in range of their target. From this, they dissipate the power of the kick before it has had the opportunity to make its impact. Therefore, to make the Momentum Driven Front Kick a viable offensive technique, you should never extend the lower portion of your leg until you are very close to your target and assured of making contact. If your opponent relocated and the kick will not prove to be effective, you can place the foot of your kicking leg back on the ground and realign yourself for further self defense.

The Defensive Front Kick
The Front Kick is a very rapid and penetrating offensive weapon. When the Front Kick is employed in defensive applications, you can halt any attack that is launched.

Your best opportunity to launch a defensive Front Kick is when your opponent is in the midst of his offensive action. This is due to the fact that while his offensive technique is in progress, he will not possess the ability to rapidly redirect its motion, nor will he be able to readily block your defensive kick. Thus, he will be in a prone position to meet the full power of your Front Kick.

The Inside Front Kick
With the Front Kick as your basis, you can take this kicking technique one step further as an offensive and defensive tool. To do this, you only slightly alter the technique and open up an entirely new realm of self-defense application—particularly orientated towards the close contact In-Fighting type of confrontation. This slightly altered version of the Front Kick is the little known Inside Front Kick.

To perform the Inside Front Kick, your kick is launched from either your rear or your forward leg. The Inside Front Kick is performed by first bringing your kicking leg inwards, slightly across the front of your body, at hip level. Your Kicking Leg is then rapidly snapped upwards, towards its target, in the same fashion as the Front Kick. Impact with the Inside Front Kick is made with the instep of your foot, ideally to the side of your opponent’s face.

The Defensive Inside Front Kick
The Inside Front Kick can be used as a powerful counter-attacking weapon when your opponent has kicked at you with such techniques as a Roundhouse Kick. By simply stepping slightly back out of the path of your attacker’s Roundhouse Kick, his kick will miss you. Due to the momentum driven nature of the Roundhouse Kick, his own force will cause him to follow through with this technique. Thus, his body, particularly his face, will be exposed and prone for an Inside Front Kick. This defensive Inside Front Kick should be delivered immediately upon his Roundhouse Kick missing you, as this is when he is most off balance and readily open for a counter attack.

As you have seen, the Front Kick simplistic in design allows it to not only be very powerful in its delivery but very fast in its application, as well. As simple as the Front Kick may be, it is no doubt one of the best methods to immediately turn the tides in your favor in any physical altercation assuring your victory over an opponent.

The Axe Kick
The Hapkido Axe Kick is a close contact offensive and defensive weapon. The Axe Kick is performed by rapidly raising your rear Kicking Leg up from its point of inception, in a linear fashion, and then powerfully bringing it down onto the shoulder of your opponent. The impact of this kick is made with the rear heel of your foot, releasing a devastating blow—often times breaking the shoulder or collar bone of your adversary.

The Axe Kick is an ideal in-fighting weapon when you can be sure that your opponent will remain in close contact to you—for if he moves just slightly your Axe Kick will miss its intended target. His stationary status can be aided by you grabbing a hold of his clothing and holding him in place while this kicking technique is being executed.

Extending the Range of the Axe Kick
The basic Axe Kick is only effective in close contact in-fighting situations. To extend it range is quite easily accomplished, while maintaining its devastating attack abilities.

Enter into a Fighting Position and prepare to launch an Axe Kick from your rear leg. Instead of performing it with a locked down Base Leg, visualize your target to be several feet in front of you. Rapidly lift your Kicking Leg up. As you do, allow the Axe Kick’s momentum to drive your Base Foot forward, sliding along the floor, in towards your target. You will immediately notice that this same Base Foot sliding technique which defined the Momentum Driven Front Kick works in the same way with the Axe Kick. Though you obviously do not possess the ability to gain the distance achieved in the Momentum Driven Front Kick, you none-the-less can move substantially in towards your opponent.

The Stepping Axe Kick
Another variation which will cause your Axe Kick to gain substantial distance is the Stepping Axe Kick. To perform this technique, ready yourself in a Fight Stance. When it is time for you to move in towards your target, rapidly place your rear foot behind your forward Kicking Leg, stepping in deeply towards your objective. As your rear leg steps behind your forward leg, simultaneously rapidly raise your front leg up in Axe Kick fashion. Once your desired distance has been gained, powerfully drive your kicking leg down through its target.

By performing the Stepping Axe Kick you can cross great distances and pursue your opponent while still maintaining your balance and protecting your upper body from attack with your arms. The Stepping Axe Kick is not only an extremely penetrating offensive weapon; it is very difficult to defend against. In addition, it is one of the most powerfully debilitating techniques in your kicking arsenal.

The Out-to-In Axe Kick
The traditional Axe Kick is brought inwards across your body and then down onto its target. The Out-to-In Axe Kick is swung outwards and is then brought down onto your adversaries shoulder.

The Out-to-In Axe Kick is also a close contact in-fighting weapon. It can most effectively be dispatched when either your attacker has taken a forward hold on your clothing or you on his. Then, the kick is rapidly brought up and delivered to his shoulder region.

Axe Kick Precautions
The Axe Kick is a very powerful weapon. For this reason, it must be executed with utmost caution whenever you practice it with a training partner—as their collar bone or shoulder can become easily broken from its impact, even in the most casual of circumstances.

The Side Kick
The basic Side Kick is begun by you entering into the traditional Fighting Stance. The kick is performed by initially shifting seventy-five percent of your body weight to your forward, Base Leg, as the rear Kicking Leg raises up with a bent knee to waist level. As the Kicking Leg rises, you pivot on the ball of your Base Foot one hundred and eighty degrees—the hip of your Kicking Leg turns towards its target. Your body leans sideways towards the ground, as your kicking leg is extended towards its target—in a sideways fashion. Impact is made with the heel or outside ridge of your foot.

Limitations of the Basic Side Kick
The basic Side Kick is launched from the rear leg. This makes it very slow and obvious in combat situations. A trained opponent can easy see it coming and jam or block this kick before you have the ability to make contact with it. For this reason, the basic Side Kick is not a viable weapon for self-defense. With a few minor alterations, however, the Side Kick becomes a very effective tool in Hapkido’s self defense arsenal.

The Momentum Driven Side Kick
As you learned from the Front Kick, you can substantially increase the range of a kicking technique simply by allowing the momentum of its launch to drive you forward. This is additionally the case with the Side Kick.

Your opponent is several feet in front of you—begin by launching the Side Kick from the rear leg in traditional fashion. As you do so, this time, allow your Base Leg to free itself up and not be firmly anchored to the ground. By performing the Side Kick in this fashion, you allow your Base Leg the ability to be propelled or slide slightly forward across the floor with the momentum developed by the power of your rear Kicking Leg being launched in towards its target. From this, not only do you add range to the traditional Side Kick but increases its power, as well. This is due to the force of your entire body being propelled behind it.

Mistakes of the Momentum Driven Side Kick
One of the leading problems that many individuals encounter when delivering the Momentum Driven Side Kick is that they release the kick’s power before they are in range of their target. When performing the Side Kick in this style, it is imperative to remember to not unleash your Kicking Leg’s power, from your hip, until your target is close and you are assured of making contact with it.

The power of a Side Kick comes from the snapping out of your Kicking Leg at hip and then at knee level. If this is done at too far of a distance from your target, the most you can hope to accomplish is that your extended leg will make contact with your opponent. You will not, however, have any debilitating impact. Therefore, keep your Side Kick retracted until target impact is assured.

The Lead Leg Side Kick
The Lead Leg Side Kick is one of the most effective weapons in Hapkido's offensive and defensive kicking arsenal. It is performed simply by raising your Lead Leg up at hip level and then unleashing your leg in Side Kick fashion from right where you stand.

The ideal targeting locations for the Lead Leg Side Kick are your opponent’s shin, his knee, his midsection, and for more advanced practitioner’s, his face.

Intercepting Defense with a Lead Leg Side Kick
An attacker rushes in at you with aggressive intentions. By Side Kicking him to his mid-body region, from your Lead Leg, his attack will immediately be stopped and he will have received a powerful strike to his ribs. You can continue forward with additional self-defense as necessary.

Intercepting the Kick
The Lead Leg Side Kick is an ideal weapon to intercept your opponent’s kicks before they have opportunity of becoming fully actualized.

Your attacker attempts to kick at you. You immediately launch a Lead Leg Side Kick to the ankle region of his Kicking Leg. His kick is immediately held in check and his body is set off balance. This is the ideal time to launch a secondary Lead Leg Side Kick, as he will be ill prepared to deal with its onslaught.

The secondary Lead Leg Side Kick is accomplished by simply retracting your Kicking Leg, while keeping it airborne, and then immediately redirecting it to a secondary strike location such as his midsection. With this style of rapid multiple kicking defense, you can achieve victory over an attacker very quickly and you will have used little energy in doing so.

Side Kick Defense Against the Punch
The Lead Leg Side Kick is a very effective initial defense against a punching assault. As the leg is generally much longer than the arm, simply by delivering a Lead Leg Side Kick to the midsection of a punching opponent, his punch will be instantly stopped. Furthermore, he will be left in a prone position for a secondary counter attack.

Ground Fighting Side Kick
If you find yourself looking up from the ground at your attacker, a Side Kick is one of your best counter defensive measures. Brace both of your hands on the ground to assure your positioning. Raise yourself up slightly, by pushing off of the ground. Retract your Kicking Leg at hip level. Unleash a powerful Side Kick to your attacker’s knee or midsection. This kicking technique can be performed multiple times, as necessary.

The Stepping Side Kick
The Stepping Side Kick is the most individually powerful and effective kicks in Hapkido’s combat arsenal. The Stepping Side Kick is performed by guiding your Base Leg rapidly behind your Kicking Leg, thus giving you added distance and substantially increased momentum. The Kicking Leg is then powerfully extended in a Side Kick.

As an offensive weapon the Stepping Side Kick rapidly penetrates your opponent’s zone of defense. By its very design, any place it impacts this kick has the potential to injure.

The Stepping Side Kick is not only rapid and powerful but defense against its onslaught, is quite difficult. The only option your opponent may have is to rapidly retreat from its onset. If this occurs, you simply continue through with an additional rapid step behind your Kicking Leg, giving you more distance and then unleash the power of the kick.

The Roundhouse Kick
The traditional Roundhouse Kick is launched from your rear leg. It is directed, in a circular fashion, from its point of origin to its target. This movement is accomplished by pivoting one hundred and eighty degrees on the ball of the foot of your base leg, as the kick continues to travel towards its goal.

The Roundhouse Kick is a muscle and momentum driven weapon. Power is added to it with a snapping out of your knee, just before the kick has reached its impact point.

Impact with the Roundhouse Kick is made with the instep of your foot and is ideally directed towards your opponent’s knee, thigh, midsection, or with advanced practitioners, at their head.


Disadvantage of the Traditional Roundhouse Kick
Though the traditional Roundhouse Kick is quite powerful, the leading disadvantage of it is the fact that its movement is very pronounced. Thus, a trained opponent can easily see it coming and successfully defend against it.

The Lead Leg Roundhouse Kick
The effective option to the traditional Roundhouse Kick is to launch it from your forward leg. When the Roundhouse Kick is implemented from this positioning, its technique is virtually the same, simply the momentum driven body movement is not added to the overall impact. When the Roundhouse Kick is launched from the forward leg it becomes much harder to block. This is based in two factors; first of all it is much faster, and secondarily it is harder for your opponent to see its onslaught.

The Defensive Roundhouse Kick
The Roundhouse Kick is not an ideally designed defensive weapon, such as the Lead Leg Side Kick. It can, however, be very effective used at the outset of a confrontation. You have faced off with an opponent, by delivering a powerful Lead Leg Roundhouse Kick to his head before he has the ability to unleash a punch, you will have gained substantial advantage over him and may have already won the altercation.

The Stepping Roundhouse Kick
The Stepping Roundhouse Kick is delivered in a similar fashion to the Stepping Axe and Stepping Side Kick. You ready yourself in Fighting Position. You then step your Rear Leg behind your Led Leg, giving you added distance. Once this has been accomplished, you deliver a Roundhouse Kick from your Lead Leg.

The Stepping Roundhouse Kick is a very fast kicking technique, used for you to close in on your opponent and rapidly deliver a first strike to such ideal targets as the side of his head.

The Crescent Kick
There are two forms of the Crescent Kick: The Inside Crescent and the Outside Crescent.

The Inside Crescent Kick
Begin by standing in a traditional Fighting Stance. The Inside Crescent Kick is performed by lifting your rear Kicking Leg up at the hip level. Your knee is bent as the kick circularly travel inwards across your body and then hits its target using the outside edge of your foot as a striking weapon. The Inside Crescent Kick is ideally targeted at your opponent’s face.

Lead Leg Inside Crescent Kick
The Inside Crescent Kick can easily be modified and delivered from your Lead Leg. Due to the design of this kick, its speed of delivery is not dramatically increased, as is the case with the Lead Leg Side Kick or Roundhouse Kick. None-the-less, in certain combat situations, it may be most effective for you to launch this kick from your forward leg.

Defense with the Inside Crescent Kick
The Inside Crescent Kick, due to its circular nature, is an ideal weapon to intercept the punching attack of your opponent. Your attacker begins to punch at you. You rapidly bring your Inside Crescent Kick up and intercept his punch at his inner elbow region. His punching arm is powerfully driven outwards, leaving his open for a secondary counter attack, such as a Straight Punch to his face.

The Stepping Inside Crescent Kick
The Stepping Inside Crescent Kick is performed by rapidly placing your rear leg behind your Lead Leg, bringing your Kicking Leg up and delivering a powerful Inside Crescent Kick to your opponent’s head.

The Outside Crescent Kick
To deliver the Outside Crescent Kick, stand in a Fighting Position—bring your Rear Leg up and in towards your target which should be located central to your body. As with the case of the Inside Crescent Kick, the knee of your kicking leg should be bent. Impact is made with the inside arch of your foot, which you will have tightened as the kick progressed towards it goal.

The Outside Crescent Kick is ideally targeted at your opponent’s face. As it is slower and more awkward to unleash than the Inside Crescent Kick, its usage as a punch-blocking weapon is highly diminished.

Precautions for the Inside and Outside Crescent Kick
When using the Inside Crescent Kick it is important to remember that your knee join is easily damaged. Due to the fact that the side-to-side movement of the knee is not protected or enhanced by muscle strength, your knee can become damaged by powerfully impacting a stationary target with the Crescent Kicks. Therefore, you should refine your targeting ability and only use these kicks to strike locations on your opponent’s body which you are certain will give way once impacted.

The Hook Kick
The traditional Hook Kick is launched from your rear leg. You pivot approximately one hundred and eighty degrees on your Base Foot as your Kicking Leg travels forward across the front of your body. Your Kicking Leg is simultaneously brought up, raising it to impact height. The lower part of your Kicking Leg is then powerfully snapped back at knee level—making heel contact with your intended strike point, which is ideally the head of your opponent.

The Lead Leg Hook Kick
The forward Lead Leg Hook Kick is launched in substantially the same fashion as the traditional rear leg Hook Kick, the only difference is that it has less distance to travel and is, thus, a more rapid weapon to strike your opponent with.

The Offensive Hook Kick
To successfully utilize the Hook Kick you must be in close proximity to your adversary. As it is not a linear movement such as the Axe Kick, you cannot, however, grab a hold of your opponent and keep him in place before unleashing it. Therefore, to use it as a First Strike offensive weapon, it must be rapidly delivered at the beginning of an altercation—when your opponent is not expecting it. Post the initial moments of the confrontation, a Hook Kick is not a viable weapon as its delivery is limited in range, (you can not be too close or too far from your opponent), and its movement is a pronounced, thus, easily defended against. Therefore, in its traditional fashion the Hook Kick is primarily effective as a defensive weapon.

The Defensive Hook Kick
The Hook Kick becomes very effective when you use it as a secondary technique in association with a preliminary defensive kick. For example, your opponent attempts a Front Kick at you. You jam his technique with a Low Side Kick delivered at his ankle level; you then retract your kick and immediately unleash a Hook Kick to his head.

The Stepping Hook Kick
As with the case of the previously described kicks, by adding the stepping motion to the Hook Kick, you can add enormous range to this technique. Whereas, the Hook Kick, in its traditional form, is very range limited, the Stepping Hook Kick is a very effective First Strike offensive weapon as you can rapidly move in on your opponent and kick him to the head with a maneuver which is very hard to defend against.

Begin in a Fighting Stance. Rapidly place your rear leg behind your Lead Leg. As you do so, bring your Kicking Leg up and unleash a Hook Kicking technique.

The Spinning Back Kicks
Hapkido’s Spinning Back Kicks are highly effective offensive and defensive weapons. This is due to the fact that most fights are fought in a face to face encounter—by spinning around behind yourself, not only have you realigned the fight structure, to your own advantage, but you have also created the element of surprise, as well.

Basic Implementation of the Spinning Back Kick
The most important factor to remember when using any Spinning Back Kick is to keep your eyes on your opponent. If you do not, they may reposition themselves as your technique is being unleashed and you may find your spin being met with a fist to your face.

Keeping your eye on your opponent is accomplished by pivoting your head before you actually execute any Spinning Back Kick. Though this may sound awkward, and you may assume it would give your opponent time to react, this is not the case. Through practice, the pivoting of your head is done so rapidly and naturally that virtually no time elapses between the pivot and the performance of the kick.

If during your spin your opponent does move, you do not have to unleash your intended Kick and can simply continue through with your spinning motion, realigning yourself in proportion to your opponent, and deliver another type of assault which would be more advantageous.

The Straight Back Kick
Structurally similar to the Side Kick, the Back Kick is executed by first turning your head around behind yourself, thus keeping an eye on your target. This head turning is performed as you simultaneously pivot your body on the ball of the foot of your Lead Base Leg one hundred and eighty degrees. Your kicking technique is then launched from rear leg positioning, in linear Side Kick fashion.

The Straight Back Kick is a muscle driven technique, which strikes at your opponent with the heel or the outside ridge of your foot. The ideal targets for the Straight Back Kick are the knee, midsection, and head of your opponent.

Advantage of the Back Kick
The primary offensive and defensive advantage of the Straight Back Kick is that your back is the only exposed region to your attacker. This allows him little effective space for counter attack.

The Offensive Straight Back Kick
The Straight Back Kick is one of the most effective aggressive offensive techniques in Hapkido’s kicking arsenal. The Straight Back Kick can be performed as one single offensive movement or in a rapid-fire continuation from one Straight Back Kick onto the next and the next. One, two, three, or four of these kicks, may be consecutively launched, alternating between your two legs. This is an excellent method of continually striking at your opponent, while exposing little of your own body for counter attack.

The Defensive Straight Back Kick
The Straight Back Kick is an ideal weapon to countermand an attacker’s punching attack. At the moment he unleashes a punching attack, simply launch a Straight Back Kick to his midsection while his punch is in motion. By doing this, you have moved his target, most probably your face, out of the path of his punching attack and delivered a powerful blow to his body.

The Spinning Heel Kick
The Spinning Heel Kick can be one of the most powerful and devastating techniques in your kicking arsenal. The momentum this kick develops can have a devastating effect on any object that it impacts.

The Spinning Heel Kick is executed by turning your head around behind yourself, to make sure your target has not moved, as you simultaneously pivot one hundred and eighty degrees on the ball of the foot of your forward Base Leg. Your rear leg lifts from the ground and proceeds towards its target in a circular fashion. This kick impacts its target with the back of your heel. The Spinning Heel Kick is ideally targeted at the head of your attacker.

When you deliver the Spinning Heel Kick it is important to drive your kick through your target. This is to say, if your target is central to your body, do not plan to halt your kick at this location. Instead, allow your kick to power through your target, coming to a conclusion at a deeper point. From this, your Spinning Heel Kick develops substantially more power and is much hard to defend against.

The Offensive Spinning Heel Kick
The Offensive Spinning Heel Kick is most effectively unleashed the moment your adversary has closed in and on. As he will not be expecting you to rapidly deliver this advanced kicking technique at the outset of a physical confrontation, he will be open to its assault.

The Defensive Spinning Heel Kick
The Defensive Spinning Heel Kick is most successfully launched the moment you have completed a block or a deflection. Your opponent punches at you. You block the punch with an in-to-out cross arm block to his inner elbow region. As you are already moving in a circular fashion, you can immediately follow up this block with a Spinning Heel Kick, thus maintaining a constancy of movement, while counter striking your attacker before he has the ability to regroup from your block and launch another attack.

The Jumping Front Kick
Jumping Kicks can be pretty to watch in demonstrations and in the movies—this is especially the case of some of the advanced jumping techniques common to the Korean Martial Arts. In a confrontational situation, however, whenever a person jumps off the ground attempting to attack an opponent, they leave themselves open to countless forms of defense that they would not have encountered if they had kept their feet on the ground. For this reason, elaborate jump kicks are never used by Hapkido practitioners in physical altercations, as they are just too easy to defend against. To make a jumping kick a successful form of attack or counter attack, it must be very easy to perform and travel to the opponent in a very rapid manner that is difficult to defend against.

The Traditional Jumping Front Kick
The traditional Jumping Front Kick is generally the first offensive jump kick a martial artist is taught. The Jumping Front Kick is traditionally launched by beginning in a Fighting Stance and then snapping the rear leg forward and up in order to gain enough momentum that the body is lifted from the ground, so that the other leg can aerially snap forward in Front Kick fashion towards its target. Though this is the accepted method of delivering this jumping kick, there are many offensive problems with performing the kick in this fashion.

The Problems with the Traditional Jumping Front Kick
The Jumping Front Kick, when delivered in traditional fashion, is not only a very obvious kicking technique, but it is a slow one, as well. The reason the traditional Jumping Front Kick is so obvious and slow is that the rear (non-kicking) leg is launched first and directs the kick forward. Thus, the rear leg is the primary focus of movement of this kick, not the actual Kicking Leg.

The traditional Jumping Front Kick is designed to ideally target upward strike locations, such as directly under an opponent’s jaw. As this vertical path is the course this kick follows, it possesses limited range of distance and, thus, limited targeting when attacking an adversary. Therefore, it can easily be avoided by the trained martial artist.

Once the traditional Jumping Front Kick has been launched, it is very difficult to redirect its path and change the process of the technique into any other offensive maneuver. When a traditional Jumping Front Kick is unleashed, a trained opponent possesses the ability to readily see the approach of this oncoming kick. He, thereby, will only need to side step its path of assault or step backwards and the kick will miss. He can then deliver an easy technique such as a Straight Punch to the face of the kicker.

Redefining the Jumping Front Kick
As you have learned by redefining the basic Front Kick, you can take a simple linear technique to a new level of excellence. This is also true with the Jumping Front Kick.

Stand in a fighting position. Mentally visualize how the Momentum Driven Front Kick allowed you to effortlessly move forward. Ready yourself in a Fighting Stance. As you are about to launch this Jumping Front Kick, allow the knee of your Base Leg to bend down slightly. Now, from your rear leg, kick powerfully forward in Front Kick fashion as you simultaneously allow your slightly bent Base Leg to launch you upwards, off the ground. Allow the momentum of this technique to drive you deeply in, towards your target.

What you have achieved is a Jumping Front Kick that does not rely on the other leg to give you the momentum to raise your body up off of the ground. With this, not only have you simplified the Jumping Front Kick technique but you have made it substantially faster and much harder to defend against, as well.

It is important to remember whenever you perform a Jumping Front Kick, in this fashion, that you should not snap out the lower section of your Kicking Leg until you are assured of making powerful contact with your target. This is due to the fact, if you snap your kick out before your target is in range, you will expend the power of the kick too early, and unnecessarily, before you are assured of achieving powerful contact with your opponent.

The Offensive Jumping Front Kick
This style of Jumping Front Kick makes it quite easy to drive in deeply towards an opponent and strike him in a horizontal fashion to either his mid-section or to his face. By performing the Jumping Front Kick this way, your opponent’s ability to rapidly retreat is highly lessened, as you are rapidly on top of him before he has the ability to read your oncoming offensive moves. If he does successfully move backward or side step your attack, you can land, balanced, and enter into a secondary fighting technique very easily. Thus, you will not be unnecessarily bound to only one offensive maneuver.

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