A Side Kick (also Side Piercing Kick, yeop chagi ,옆차기) is performed by turning the body sideways with the hip turned slightly over; chamber the kicking leg diagonally across the body, then extend the leg in a linear fashion toward the target. The kick is called a "piercing" kick because the motion is linear, unlike most taekwondo kicks in which the kick is performed in some sort of arc.
- For some side kicks (especially in poomsae), the striking surface is the knife-edge of the foot. In this case, the ankle is bent fully back and to the side, and the toes are pulled fully back out of the way.
- For other side kicks (for example, when breaking), the striking surface is the bottom of the foot, usually the heel. Even when kicking with the heel, it is recommended that the ankle be bent upward to avoid kicking with the ball of the foot.
In either case, it's a good practice to try to turn the foot so that the toes are pointing slightly downward during this kick. Why? That ensures that the kicking muscles are the strong muscles on the back of your leg. This kick is one of the most difficult kicks to perfect, but when done correctly it's an extremely fast, powerful high kick.
The Non-Kicking Leg
Ideally, during the kick, the non-kicking foot pivots on the ball of the foot so that the non-kicking foot is fully turned completely away from the target at the moment of striking.
The Torso and Arms
The torso is bent to the side, especially when trying to kick high. For this explanation, assume that one is kicking with the right leg. Then often the right arm is brought down and behind the kicking leg. The left arm is often bent to the chest with the fist closed as if blocking.
The Side Kick is a signature kick for taekwondo. When people think of taekwondo, this is often the kick they think of. From sooshimkwan.blogspot.com:
- The ITF Taekwon-Do chief instructor, Sabeomnim Kim-Hoon, of The Way Martial Arts Academy of Seoul, the dojang where I practise at in Seoul, Korea, once said an intriguing thing: “The side-piercing kick is Taekwon-Do.” His statement is a shocking one considering that there are over a 100 kicks in ITF Taekwon-Do, probably more hand techniques and supposedly over 3000 technical combinations. Nonetheless, I intuitively felt the truth in his statement. Of all the techniques in ITF Taekwon-Do, there is probably no other technique that exemplifies this style as distinctly as the side-piercing kick.The kick is a wonderful combination of hard and soft, of linear and rotational forces. My first instructor, Sabeomnim Johan Bolton, used to say that it takes one around a decade to master the side-piercing kick. I've been practising it for more than 15 years and will not claim to have mastered it yet -- of course I'm much closer than I was a decade ago..