THE FIVE BASIC KICKS

Shaolin Kung Fu Kicks

Participants at the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course of October 2006 practicing the thrust kick


Many people, even some masters, mistakenly think that there are very few or no kicks in kungfu. Actually there are more kicks in Shaolin Kungfu than all the kicks of all other martial arts put together! This is not an exaggeration. Shaolin Kungfu is noted for “thirty six kicking techniques”, and there may be more than one kick in each kicking technique.

In our basic combat application programme we learn only five kicking techniques, but if we understand them and their underlying principles well, we can handle any kicks, just as when we understand the four basic strikes and their defences, we can handle hundreds of different strikes.

Kicks are not as widely used as strikes because there are more innate weaknesses in kicks. “Innate” here means that even if the kicks are executed skillfully, the weaknesses are still there due to the nature of the kicking techniques themselves. Some of these innate weaknesses include risky exposure, longer distance coverage, more noticeable signals, restricted use of other body parts, and limited balance and agility.

A properly trained practitioner needs to understand these innate weaknesses and the ways to overcome them before he attempt using kicks. He should also have practiced his various kicks thousands of times until his movements are fast and powerful before using them.

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Shaolin Kung Fu Kicks Side-Kick

This kick is called a side-kick because an exponent turns his body to a side to execute the kick. In kungfu, the heel, not the edge of the foot, is used in kicking. A term “side-kick” refers to the kicking technique, which may be executed by different patterns. The pattern shown here is “Happy Bird Hops up Branch”. It is important to guard the groin when executing a side-kick.
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Shaolin Kung Fu Kicks Different modes of Kicking

There are different ways to execute the same side-kick. At the start of the video clip, participants start with a right Bow-Arrow Stance and execute a left side-kick. The kicking mode is right-left. Grandmaster Wong shows how they could start with the same right stance but execute a right side-kick by rolling the back leg forward. The kicking mode here is right-right. Would you know how to execute the same side kick with the left-right and left-left modes?
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Shaolin Kung Fu Kicks Thrust Kick

Another important kicking technique is the thrust kick, which is a frontal kick. The pattern of the thrust kick shown here is called “White Horse Presents Hoof”. Again the heel, not the ball of the foot, is used in kicking. Two kicking modes are shown in this video, namely right-left and right-right.
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Shaolin Kung Fu Kicks Retreating to Kick

Here the kicking mode is right-right but the thrust kick is performed with the back leg standing. It is a useful technique when an opponent moves in to attack you. You kick him by retreating. Earlier you move forward to kick.
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Shaolin Kung Fu Kicks Organ-Seeking Kick

This is the deadly organ-seeking kick, although it may not look dangerous to the uninitiated. It is sometimes called the snap kick because the kick snaps up from the knee. The kicking point is the instep. The pattern shown here to execute the organ-seeking kick is called “Yellow Bird Drinks Water”.
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Shaolin Kung Fu Kicks Different Versions of the Same Kick

You can have different ways of executing the same kick by varying some factors, like direction, leg-mode and standing-leg. Different versions of the same kick give you different advantages, or disadvantages if you make a wrong choice.
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Shaolin Kung Fu Kicks Having Fun with Organ-Seeking Kick

This video shows participants having some fun practicing the organ-seeking kick. The hand movement is an important aspect of the kick.
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Shaolin Kung Fu Kicks Whirlwind Kick

Now the participants are having fun with the whirlwind kick. Again the hand technique is important. One hand protects the groin and the other protects the ribs. This pattern is called “Naughty Monkey Kicks Tree”. The whirlwind kick looks similar to, but is different from the round-house kick in Taekwondo.
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Shaolin Kung Fu Kicks Kicking the Sky

High kicks are seldom used in Shaolin Kungfu because of their obvious risks as well as other technical disadvantages. But there may be situations where high kicks are preferred, like kicking an opponent jumping on you with a knife. This kicking technique is called kicking the sky. The pattern shown here is “Lone Drake Leaves Crowd”.
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Shaolin Kung Fu Kicks Rolling Away

An important principle in kungfu combat philosophy is to realize the innate weakness of a technique and be able to neutralize it when an opponent exploits it. The obvious innate weakness of the sky-striking kick is a glaring exposure of the groin. An effective way to neutralize the weakness when an opponent attacks, is to roll away using the pattern “Gourd Rolls on Ground”. Do you know the innate weaknesses of the other kicks and the ways to neutralize them?
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You can view all the videos above by clicking the picture or the caption below

Five Basic Kicks of Shaolin Kungfu from Wong Kiew Kit on Vimeo.



Fundamental Shaolin Kungfu Training Programme of Shaolin Wahnam

1. Stances: the Foundation for Internal Force and Combat Efficiency
2. Footwork Secrets for Health, Efficiency and Elegance
3. Moving into a Same Direction using Different Ways to Gain Advantages
4. Picture-Perfect Forms and Flowing Movements
5. From Random Fighting to Patterns, and from Patterns to Sequences and Sets

6. One-Step Sparring to Develop Combat Skills
7. From Pre-Arranged Sparring to Guided Sparring
8. Using Techniques and Tactics in Sparring

9. The Five Basic Kicks
10. The Secrets of Side Kicks and Continuous Cannons
11. How You may Defeat Opponents Experienced in Random Free Sparring
12. How Would a Fragile Girl Counter a Powerful Sweeping Kick from a Muay Thai Fighter?

13. Shaolin Felling Techniques and their Defences
14. Safety First Before Executing Felling Techniques

15. From Combat Sequences to Free Sparring
16. Sixteen Combat Sequences and Five Kungfu Sets
17. Surprise your Attacker with a Counter-Attack

18. Working out Ways to Fight a Boxer
19. Effective Tactics and Techniques against Boxers
20. From Gross Outline to Fine Details
21. Exploiting Advantage to Clinch Victory
22. Variety of Kungfu Techniques against Boxers
23. Analysis of Techniques Used against Boxers
24. Using Shaolin Kunfu against Boxing in Free Sparring

25. Effective Shaolin Tactics and Techniques against Kick-Boxing
26. Shaolin Kungfu against Kick-Boxing in Free Sparring

27. How to Handle a Karate Exponent
28. How to Handle a Taekwondo Exponent
29. How to Handle a Wrestling Exponent

30. Understanding the Typical Attacks of Muay Thai Fighters
31. Grandmaster Ho's Secrets in Countering Muay Thai Fighters
32. First Avoid Defeat, Then Secure Victory
33. Counteroing the Elbow and Knee Attacks of Muay Thai Fighters

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