Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Snapping or Swinging Roundhouse Kick

The roundhouse is one of the most used kicks for martial artists of a striking background. It is a strong kick and when the shin bone is the striking area, it can quickly do damage. Some people use it in a snapping motion where others use it as a swing similar to hitting a ball with a baseball bat. Which variation is better?

Well to say that one variation is better than the other is wrong. The whole point of a technique having variations is so that there is never just one way of doing something and depending on the situation, each variation has its advantages and disadvantages.

The snapping variation is best used when you don’t want your opponent to grab your leg. If your fighting a grappler for example who you know has better grappling experience than you, the last thing you want is for him/her to take you to the floor after grabbing your leg via a roundhouse kick because the chances are you will get submitted. The snapping variation can also be used in a jabbing manner, being targeted at your opponent’s thigh, which may set up follow on techniques for you to take advantage.

The swinging variation is a true power roundhouse. If you have ever felt a swinging roundhouse kick from a seasoned Muay Thai fighter, you will know it hurts. Also a swinging variation can be used as a sweep. If you have secured your opponents leg during a fight, a hard swinging roundhouse kick to his/her supporting leg using the shin should be more than enough to not only take your opponent to the floor, but maybe do some damage to the leg. The only problem with this variation is that if the swing misses your opponent, you will probably lose control and give your opponent a chance to counter.

Should one variation be favoured more than the other? Well that depends on the fighter, but not practising any variation would be a loss, and becoming familiar with both variations, not just by using them, but having them used on you would be the best option. There is nothing worse than thinking that you don’t need to practise a technique because you think it is not worth it, only to have someone else apply it on you.

The best decision would be to practise both variations using a heavy bag, pads and during sparring and make up your own mind how each variation should be used. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Find them yourselves and don’t listen to the ignorant people who dismiss one variation over the other, just because there style does not practise it.


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Anonymous said...

Both types of kicks have their advantages and disadvantages (like everything else I suppose, the eternal law of yin and yang): the roundhouse thrown in a snapping motion (like in karate or savate), usually contacting with the ball of the foot, is a quick (both in execution and recovery) and long-range technique. The thai-style kick of swinging the leg into the target without a snap from the knee-joint has tremendous power (as anyone will attest who’s ever been on the receiving end of one, even if it's just holding the pads) but it is a mid-range tool (you connect with the shin, kicking with the foot allows you to cover more distance) and it’s harder to recover from: bringing it back in the same line is usually not an option (at least not if you don’t score a hit) and turning means exposing your back to the opponent, if ever so briefly.

It all depends on the circumstances: if you’re in long range you use the karate or savate-kick (which can be just as effective, especially if targetted at the knee-joint), when in punching-range it might make more sense to connect using the swing (there’s also less danger of missing and exposing your back, especially after a punching combination). What I like about the karate/savate kick is that you can first fake a front-kick, then snapping and changing into a roundhouse (which might go around the opponent’s block), delivering a thai-kick is much like swinging a baseball-bat and if you do connect you’re going to do alot of damage. Like I said there’s a time and a place for everything.

Lori O'Connell said...

Great article. We teach both ourselves.

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