Kicking Tips & Exercises

First of all, jumping kicks should NOT be attempted while sparring because it is dangerous to both you and your opponent, difficult to perform, and not always beneficial. Extreme caution and perfect timing is required to successfully perform jumping kicks. Jumping kicks look aesthetic in practice, but when sparring there are few circumstances where jumping kicks would be useful (e.g., your skill is much higher than your opponents; use jumping kicks as defensive move; you are faster than your opponent; your opponent is much taller than you; or you just want to show off).

  • Defensive Jumping kicks
    • Jumping Spin kick
    • Jumping Back kick
  • Offensive Jumping kicks
    • Jumping Front Snap kick
    • Jumping Sidekick (Flying Sidekick)
  • Exercises to improve jumping height, speed, endurance

Defensive Jumping Spin Kick

Jump first and then spin… This does not sound too difficult; yet, most people try to spin first and then their non-kicking foot never leaves the ground. If you are kicking with your left, try to lift your right as high as possible (to your butt, if you can) and then the spin will come naturally. Just make sure you tuck your non-kicking leg in.

This kick is useful when you know you are much better than your opponent. When your opponent walks in with his/her hands down, then, without stepping back, you should perform a jumping spin kick to your head level. NEVER USE THIS KICK AS AN OFFENSIVE MOVE.

Defensive Jumping Back Kick

This kick can be used as both an offensive and a defensive move. On the offense, you might want to take a step forward and then throw the kick. As a defensive technique, it is most effective against opposite leg mid-section roundhouses.

Wait until he/she starts the kick and then turn with his/her kick to perform a jumping back kick to his/her mid-section. One thing to bear in mind is Keep Your Guard Up.

Offensive Jumping Front Snap Kick

NEVER DO THIS IN A TOURNAMENT!! It does not work nearly as well in reality as in movies, although this would be a good board breaking technique.

Board Breaking Technique: Tuck in your non-kicking leg as high as possible. Make sure you are kicking with the ball of your foot (bent your toes). A running start generally will help but just a few steps will do, you do not need a 100-meter dash.

Offensive Jumping Sidekick (Flying Sidekick)

This kick is also great for breaking boards, or, when you’re acting in a movie and are about to finish somebody off. The key is to tuck in the non-kicking leg. It’s less important for a jumping side kick than a jumping spin kick, but it looks a lot better if your leg is tucked in.


There are a lot of different exercises that you can do to improve your control, speed, and height. The following exercises are recommended:

  • Jumping up and pulling your knees all the way to your chest. A lot of people kick their feet back to touch their butt, but that reduces your jumping distance by about half.
  • A set of four different jumps consecutively.
    1. Jump and pull your knees to your chest
    2. Jump and legs shoot straight out in front of you and try to touch your toes with your hands
    3. Jump and do a split then touch your toes