There are many different ways to kick Mae geri (front kick) and some Sensei have different ways of teaching, so it’s not for me to judge what’s good or bad in a karate instructor’s front kick, for I have seen several incredibly strong front kicks, delivered using techniques that are very different to the way I kick mae geri. Here is a really good karate exercise that compliments the way I was shown front kick by my Shotokan Sensei.
Mae Geri Exercise
The shotokan karate exercise in the video below is performed slowly, using strong muscle control throughout the exercise. This mae geri exercise can be done on your own, by fixing both ends of a belt securely, or If you are in the Dojo, get yourself partner, as in the video, you can adjust the height of belt, making sure you don’t go to high, so when you extend the kicking leg, you can keep the foot of the supporting leg flat. It takes a little adjusting to get the right belt length, as every karateka has slightly differentleg length.
My Sensei used to say, try not to drag your kicking foot along the floor, or your kick will travel upwards on completion and the power will disperse upwards, instead of into the target. He would say, try and lift the foot immediately, by lifting the knee and kicking foot strongly. At the same time, the leg also starts to travel to the target. Just before impact, drive both hips forward into the target, on impact, straighten the foot and kick with the ball of the foot, then snap back sharply.
Front Kick Exercise
1. Get your starting position, so your kicking foot starts where the belt touches the floor.
2. Lift the heal and knee of your kicking leg slowly.
3. Your foot should first touch the belt, when your kicking foot gets level with your supporting legs knee.
4. Make sure your kicking foot, just lightly touches the belt.
5. Just before you reach the target, start to drive both hips forward.
6. On impact, straighten the foot and push the ball of the foot into the target.
7. When you step back after the kick, recover the hips back and slowly return the kicking leg to the atarting position, making sure the kicking foot lightly touches the top of the belt all the way back.
Again, this mae geri exercise is just one way to practice and improve your mae geri, I have seen many different versions of front kick and one in particular, from a karate master I greatly admire, who has an unbeleivably strong front kick that is completely different from the one I have explained here, yet if you saw him kick, it would look just like the one explained here 🙂
Working on different training exercises to improve your techniques is a really good idea, another example for front kick is to time for a minute or two, standing on one leg with the other legs knee help high, so the leg is in the mae geri preparatory position with the ankle bent at 90 degrees and the toes pulled back. This is excellent for strengthening the supporting leg, which is extremely important when kicking, as without a strong supporting leg, the kick is weak.