Executing Killer Jump Front KicksBy Jennifer Shipp
The jump front kick is the simplest jump kick that you’ll do in taekwondo. There are no weird hip or foot movements involved to execute the kick. Jump front kicks are relatively easy to master as a result and most people have a lot of fun with them once they understand the basic dynamic of how they work. Though they aren’t immensely practical in street defense, there are a few situations where it might be useful to be able to pull of a running jump front kick.
It’s important to get a grip on basic front kicks before working on jump front kicks. The most difficult thing to master when doing a basic front kick in taekwondo has to do with the shape of the foot. Your foot should be pointed with the toes pulled back. We usually tell students to first point the foot and the toes “like a ballerina”. Then, leave the foot pointed and pull just the toes back to expose the round and meaty part of the foot known as the “ball”. This will be your kicking surface. At first, your toes will probably resist being pulled back while the foot stays pointed. You’ll need to practice making the proper foot shape over and over again. Eventually, your toes will remain flexed so that the ball of the foot will be fully exposed and in line with the other joints (angle, knee, hip) as the kick is executed.
In taekwondo, a jump front kick can easily end with broken toes if students have not yet mastered the proper foot shape. If you’ve done the work and paid your dues to get this part of the front kick under control, then you’re ready to add the jump into your kick. In our curriculum, we have four different jump front kicks that we do, each with different stepping/jumping movements that lead into the kick. Begin with small hops rather than full jumps to make sure that you understand the dynamic of the movement. It can be easy to sprain an ankle if you jump too high on your first few tries. Rather, begin low and work up to higher jumps.
Be sure you have some padding on the floor or ground if you’re just learning. Inevitably, new students fall down. This is especially true for students who are working on running jump front kicks. Even though you may have remarkable balancing skills, it’s easy to slip and fall as your foot makes contact with the floor. A padded surface can make it possible to just keep on practicing, rather than ending with an injury. Always plan ahead for falls in martial arts and congratulate yourself when you “fall well”.
Some jump front kicks require you to jump with both feet simultaneously and then kick with one leg. These kicks require more leg power, of course than the kicks that involve a jump off of one foot. You have to bring both legs up into a bent position and then land them both simultaneously. Again, remember to start low and work up to higher kicks. We tell our online students to attempt to kick themselves in the buttocks with the non-kicking foot. In order to get the kicking foot up to an adequate height, we provide stretching exercise videos through the online martial arts school. Stretching is essential if you want your kicks to go higher when you’re airborne.
The other jump front kicks that we teach involve a jump off of one foot and then a kick with the same foot. The other leg bends and steps into the air. It may help to imagine a cardboard box that you step up onto right before the kick. The cardboard box (if it were real), would obviously collapse if you were stepping up onto it, but it might provide just enough of a boost into the air to execute that kick. The higher the cardboard box that you imagine, the higher your jump kick will go into the air.
Jump kicks are cool and a great way to get your heart rate up fast. By mastering the jump front kick, you’ll be ready to move on to other, more complicated jump kicks such as jump side kicks or jump crescent kicks that involve some subtle foot and hip movements as well as the jump. Practice kicking over a bag from afar with running jump front kicks to perfect the dynamic forward motion and get control over it. Then, you’ll be ready to move on to more complicated moves.Tags: front kick, jump, jump front kick, kick, kicking, kicks