Yon Ch’uan Basics: Kicking

Kicking is an integral part of many martial arts. Some arts emphasize high kicks and spinning kicks. Others emphasize low kicks. The key is to be effective and efficient in the use of legs and feet while keeping your balance.

Yon Ch’uan Kicks

Yon Ch’uan Martial Arts emphasizes low kicks based on center-line defense. They are fast and difficult to defend. Primary kicks in Yon Ch’uan are Front Kick, Back Kick, Side Kick, Roundhouse Kick and Crane Hurricane Kick. We train in both standing and stepping kicks.

Yon Ch’uan students also learn many other kicks as they train toward Black Belt (e.g. Knee, Crescent, Reverse Roundhouse, Stomping, Jumping), but the primary kicks are emphasized throughout because of their effectiveness in self defense.

Part of center-line kicking is to keep your eyes on your opponent and your hands extended from your center toward your opponent. One way to remember this is: “Keep your eyes on the prize and don’t drop your fries.” The prize is your opponent’s defeat and your fries are your arms and hands.

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

Whether you kick to the front, to the side or to the back, keep your eyes on your opponent at all times. Your opponent is your target. If you take your eyes off your target, you may miss your target. If you look at your target, then take your eyes off your target as you kick, your target may move and you’ll miss or your opponent will block your kick. That can put you at risk for a counter-attack. If you focus your eyes on your opponent and keep your eyes on your target during your kick, you will will almost always kick your target. One of the biggest mistakes martial artists make is taking their eyes off the target during a kick.

Target practice is important in learning how to kick. We start with a stationary target (e.g. kick shield, hand pad) so the Yon Ch’uan student can learn how to perform the kick (standing and stepping) with accuracy, speed and power (ASP). As the student progresses in their kicking ability, their instructor or partner will move the target in a variety of directions to simulate an opponent moving toward, away or to the side.

Don’t Drop Your Fries

Another big mistake martial artists make during kicks is dropping their hands to their sides. That opens the center of their body to attack and also removes some of the balance that comes from having your arms and hands raised. Keep your hands extended toward your opponent during your kick. If your opponent is able to evade or block your kick and launch a counter-attack toward you, your extended arms and hands acts as a defensive shield.

Keeping arms and hands up and extended also allows for quick followups to a kick. A Yon Ch’uan student may use a low kick to lower an opponents hands, thus opening the opponent to a punch, strike, trap or throw. Students will learn how to use their feet and hands in a variety of fast combinations that can overwhelm an opponent and quickly end an attack.

Even though Liza, one of our Grace Martial Arts students, is carrying an umbrella she can still deal with an attacker by keeping her free arm up and pointing toward her opponent. Her side kick follows her eyes to her target. Liza could also use her umbrella as a defensive weapon. We’ll look at how to do that in a future article.

[Thanks to Liza’s father, Enoch, for the great photo shoot!]


You can link to the Yon Ch’uan Black Belt Study guide by clicking here.

You can download this article as a free eBook here.

If you would like to learn more about training with a sanctioned instructor in the Yon Ch’uan Martial Arts system, please contact Sensei Mark McGee.

© Grace Martial Arts 1990 – 2021

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