Anybody who has followed my blog for any length of time will know that I like looking at the “devil in the detail”. Those small adjustments to a technique (in other words – adjustment to a principle of movement) can over time as you internalise that adjustment, yield significant improvement to the speed and power of the technique.
One such detail, is the position of the foot as you prepare for a front snap kick (Mae Geri) as is common in Karate, Taekwondo and many styles of Kung Fu. To many readers this will seem obvious, but there are many teachers who emphasis the lifting of the knee, but don’t always pay so much attention to the position of the foot, which can actually make a significant difference.
As you lift your knee high, you stretch your quadriceps (front thigh muscles). As I’ve said before, muscles act like elastic bands, the more you stretch them the faster they release when you engage that muscle to create movement. But if you don’t pay attention to the foot position, then it naturally goes to a relaxed position, dangling down. However, if you raise the toes/ball of the foot as high as you can at the same time as you raise your knee, then you stretch out the calf muscle (back of lower leg). So going back to the elastic effect in muscles, when you actually unleash the kick from the knee high position, you are more fully engaging both the quadriceps and the calf muscles.
It also puts the foot in the right position right from the start. If you allow the foot to dangle, then there is a risk of damaging the toes on impact. But with the toes/ball of foot lifted as far as you can right from the beginning, then the foot is in the right position with toes pulled safely back out of harms way.
The video below is short, but demonstrates the points raised above.
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