Side Kick - Martial Arts Kicking Technique

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Side Kick - Martial Arts Kicking Technique

This page provides details on how to do a martial arts side kick. Side kicks are powerful kicks but tend to be slower than other basic martial arts kicks (i.e. roundhouse kick). For example, you have to chamber your kick and then fire out the side kick versus just launching a roundhouse kick directly at the target. Nevertheless, given its power, a side kick can a very effective self-defense weapon. The side kick can be done either with the rear leg (see below) or front leg.

For instructions regarding other martial arts kicks (i.e. axe kick), please visit our main kicking techniques section. Students should only practice martial arts kicking techniques under the supervision of a trained martial arts instructor.

Books on Kicking Techniques

Written Instructions for a Rear Leg Side Kick

  • From your fighting position, you will rotate your body until your side is facing the attacker. You will pivot on your front leg and your front foot will pivot 180 degrees.
  • As you rotate, you will bring your rear leg forward until your knee is up near your waist and your foot is facing the attacker. Your knee will be almost 270 degrees from its starting position. This is the "chamber" portion of the side kick (as you are bringing your leg into position in order to launch the side kick).
  • You will thrust your foot forward and strike your attacker with the sole of your foot or blade of your foot (outer edge of foot).
  • Tip - Beginners can use a chair or rail in order to maintain their balance while practicing the fundamentals of a side kick.
  • Also see the section on the Front Leg Side Kick for a faster but less powerful variation of the traditional rear leg sidekick.

Side Kick Variations

Karate Instructional Video on Rear Side Kicks

Taekwondo Instructional Video on Side Kicks

Side Kicks for Beginners

Side Kicks for Advanced Students


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