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Paul_D's picture
Bringing the knee high before kicking.

Raising the knee up high before executing a kick has obvious advantages in competition as if you throw the majority of your kicks from the same position your opponent will have no idea if it's going to be a high/mid/or low kick, decreasing the chances of them covering up, meaning increasing the chances of you landing the kick and scoring a point.

When it comes to self protection however raising the knee to waist height before kicking is telegraphing what you are doing, so it makes much more sense (to me) to keep it as low as possible to disguise your intentions.  This is a good example of what I mean:-



I am of the opinion therefore that raising the knee to waist height is a relatively new idea that has come about once competitions/sport was introduced, and that before that knees would have been kept low.  Or do you think there is a valid reason in a self protection context of raising the knee to waist height?





Katz's picture

I think you do get more power in your kick if you lift your knee: The kick becomes a push motion, which goes in the strongest direction for the leg. If you don't lift your knee, it is faster, but as often in these cases, not as powerful.

Kevin73's picture

I think most forget that they learned the front kick in a "block letter" type motion.  All of us probably learned it as the 4 parts.  1) lift the leg 2) kick 3) retract the leg 4) set it down.

Most still have that "pause" in their kick instead of making it a more fluid motion in which the act of raising the leg and the leg extension become a whipping type motion.  The chamber is necessary for this to occur.  As to how high you need to lift the knee, it depends on where the kick is going and is only raised high enough to execute proper technique.

Dana Bennett
Dana Bennett's picture

 I have always told my students to point your knee where you want your foot to go.  At least for all your ball of foot type kicks.

Chatan1979's picture

We train raising the knee high. For practicality it has it's use in the event that your oponent closes the distance quickly and your high knee raise is now a great knee strike to their groin, midsections, etc. 

Kevin73's picture

I know styles vary, but I don't agree with that statement.

If I want to kick to the pelvic and point my kneee right at it, the only way to hit the pelvic is to have my leg almost fully extended.  This points stress on the knees long term and can lead to injury.  It also suggests a combat distance that the original katas weren't designed for.

If you raise the knee past where you intend to kick, you can still generate power and have the attacker closer in range, and also keep more bend in the knee to prevent wear and tear on the joint.  The original okinawan kicks did not extend past the end of their punch.

Think about the sequence in Seisan kata.  You block/punch/punch/kick/punch.  Think about the distance of that kick.  I see so many people throwing that kick way out past where their punching range is and then set the kick back down into stance and then punch to an attacker that wouldn't be there.

Dillon's picture

Kevin73, that's how we do it as well, for both maegeri and mawashi geri. The knee moves past the height or angle of the target. It's similar to the way that a punch would make contact long before it straightens, but that gets misunderstood when people primarily punch the air. The point of impact/penetration for most kicks is well before the leg is extended. My dojo usually hits with maegeri just outside of our close (so-au) maai.