Martial art styles like tae kwon do, tang soo do, wushu and a heap of forms of karate instruct their students on how to carry out flying, spinning, and jumping kicks. A martial arts movie without a good number of these kicks is boring. Flying, spinning, and jumping kicks are what make martial arts movies fun and demonstrations exciting. Tournament contenders pepper their forms with a series of these kicks along with breath taking acrobatics. While these kicks are very flashy, the reality is that they have very little practical application.
When martial artists are young, they all want to learn flying, spinning, and jumping kicks. It’s a outstanding way to impress those around you as you “wow” them by breaking boards with a flying side kick. A martial artisan primary learns his or her basic kicks in a standing position. Eventually, as the basic kicks become natural and may be executed with ease, the instructor will integrate more dramatic kicks into the class.
Jumping kicks require the student to carry through one of the basic kicks while jumping up from a stationary stance. Flying kicks implicate getting a running begin and carry through the kick in mid-air. Spinning kicks are executed while pivoting on one foot and whipping the entire body into the direction of the target. All of the basic kicks may be executed in with either a flying, spinning or jumping variation.
For self-defense intents however, these kicks are very impractical. Remember that a street altercation is very stressful and chaotic. What works best on the street is something simple and direct. If you want to learn how to defend yourself on the street, spend less time training flying, spinning, and jumping and more time with some good hand proficiencies and low kicks. As far as your upper body is concerned, simple elbow strikes, eye gouges, palm heel strikes and a little boxing is what I recommend. When it comes to your lower body, knee strikes and low kicks to the knee, instep, groin, and stomach are much more effective than a jumping spinning anything.
Fancy kicks are full of problems. First of all, they lack power. Secondly, flying, spinning, and jumping kicks require more physical preparation, so they are having little impact to telegraph and grant the contestant time to react. Kicks thrown in the air lack the stability of a lower kick and the kicker is much more vulnerable to falling to the ground. As far as older students are concerned, training in this manner may lead to a lot of injuries and a short lived martial arts career.
If you’re looking for practical street survival techniques, then stick to the basics. Save the acrobatics for the tournaments!
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