The swinging arm debate.

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by TheBookofSpeed, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. TheBookofSpeed White Belt

    TheBookofSpeed
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    Recently I got into a heated debate about swinging arms when kicking. It all started with this video: The kicking starts around the 1:10 mark.

    Some say the video isn't working. Here is a link: h ttps://www.facebook.com/martialartsdrills/videos/885088858330865/



    I say that there is no reason to swing the arms. I believe that the hands should be held up in chamber where they are useful for offense and defense. Swinging arms are useless unless you want to provide them as a convenient handle for a grappler. Those swinging arms also come in handy for getting you kicked in the ribs or the side of the head.

    I teach speed. That's my specialty so I'm looking at this from a speed perspective but also from the perspective of being effective. Nothing matters more than being effective. Those swinging arms have to travel back to chamber to be useful. That takes time which kills speed. The outstretched arms can't effect any defense and they cannot deliver a strike. The swinging arms put you in a slow and ineffective position.

    I was asked who I thought I was to counter 100s of years of martial art history and countless professional fighters:
    1. I've never trained in an art (I've trained in eight) that wouldn't smack you on the head for swinging your arms like that.
    2. The only time I see pros kicking with a swinging arm is when they are in a very dominating position in which they know that they can get away with it or when the potential reward outweighs the risk. And those are typically power kicks. Again, this is a speed drill.

    I also got lectured about power and how it is necessary to swing the arm to develop power:
    1. THIS IS A SPEED DRILL. Not a power drill.
    2. I don't think that the swinging arm is necessary to develop power anyway. You should be able to throw power while keep your hands where you can use them.

    I know that you will see Muay Thai fighters kick similar to this when delivering a power kick. Again, the video was a speed drill and MT fighters typically go to the arm swing when in dominating position and delivering max power. Any other time they have their hands up where they should be.

    Lastly I got lectured about how the outstretched arms are needed to maintain balance.
    1. If you need to extend your arms to maintain balance you need to work on your balance.
    2. What I said in number 1.

    So here's my stand:
    1. To be effective you need your hands where you can use them.
    2. Swinging arms do nothing good for speed or effectiveness.
    3. With some minor adjustments in body mechanics you can throw full power with your hands in chamber.
    4. Your balance should be developed to the point that you don't need to use your arms as ballast.
    5. You should drill like you're going to perform. Drilling one way and expecting to perform another is a recipe for poor performance.
    6. The kicking form in the video is pretty bad too but that's another debate.

    What say you?

    Edit: OK, I'll bow out of the power debate. I should have stuck to speed because that's what I do. I'm not a full contact guy and I've never trained MT. I only mentioned MT because I have great respect for MT and they are great at having their hands up when they need to be. I know that they use tremendous hip rotation for power like I mentioned above.

    For speed I deliver my kicks with a straight chamber aimed at my target and only a slight hip rotation at the end. Purely a speed kick. I still say, for me and anyone who wants to train for it, that you can kick with speed while keeping your hands up. Sure there is movement but they can be up. The body mechanics require a few minor adjustments but they all lend to faster followup kicks and strikes.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  2. ARIZE Orange Belt

    ARIZE
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    Your video doesn't work, at least for me... So i wont go into details until i watch it, but i fully disagree...
     
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  3. j123 Pro Sherdogger 500-0-1

    j123
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    Vid doesn't work for me at that point either, I watched it until it failed which is around the 1:03 mark, so I'm basing it on the content in the OP.

    Swinging the same arm down kinda helps the power slightly, or if not it at least "feels" that way. I do also like the one where it comes straight out. A "technique" I like using, is using that as a parry of sorts as I kick.

    For speed I've been working with a different type of body kick, instead of coming around with the "baseball bat" swing approach, it comes up straight, then swing the hips inwards. I'm finding it to be stronger, faster, and harder to see coming. Alot of times the initial movement ends up looking like a rear teep or check. It rarely gets caught as well.
     
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  4. TheBookofSpeed White Belt

    TheBookofSpeed
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    The video is working here. Not sure what is going wrong.

    Here's the link: h ttps://www.facebook.com/martialartsdrills/videos/885088858330865/

    I added a space after the "h" to prevent it from displaying the video.
     
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  5. TheBookofSpeed White Belt

    TheBookofSpeed
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    This is exactly what I teach for the speed kick. Straight up chamber with the hip rotation at the end. And for the same reasons that you mentioned. Harder to see coming because there is very little angular component and faster because it takes a more direct path. It is also much easier to change the kick mid delivery. It's also very easy to keep the hands up during this kick.
     
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  6. a guy Black Belt

    a guy
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    As far as I know that's pretty standard kick mechanics.

    That said, I fully disagree with the idea that the arms need to be pinned in place during a kick. The swing of the arms acts as a counterbalance and is necessary for a combination of maximum power and speed. It doesn't matter how good your balance is, you'll kick faster and harder with the arm swing than without.

    Imagine running without using your arms. Yea, you could do it no problem, but you'd be slow, inefficient, tense and look like shit.
     
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  7. Yodsanan มวยไทย

    Yodsanan
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    Full contacts sports already figured out the perfect way to kick. Swinging arms is the most economical way you throw a kick with good power, speed and balance.


    You're kicking. What you want to use them for offensively?

    Of course it does.


    Disillusioned.
     
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  8. esum80 Brown Belt

    esum80
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    to begin,



    and now, in all seriousness...

    here is my take of the video TS posted, the kicking form is not the greatest (wider stance..karate?) but instead of dropping both hands, i would've kept the other hand up to protect my head if i was going to swing my other arm on the kicking side.

    when i am doing speed kick drills, i go the traditional thai style where i lean back slightly and also swing my arm (like #1 in the video i posted) but my opposite hand is ALWAYS glued to my cheek. for me, the swinging acts as counterbalance. however, if i was kicking for power or during sparring, no way would the same-side hand swing like that or not be able to retract back into defensive position.

    i agree with #5, "You should drill like you're going to perform. Drilling one way and expecting to perform another is a recipe for poor performance."..with one minor caveat in that some of the speed drills are meant to improve cardio and endurance, therein good technique unfortunately gets tossed out the window.
     
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  9. ARIZE Orange Belt

    ARIZE
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    Ok, watched the video. The guy swings both hands. In general, he has a very bad form, either from a MT or a TKD (ITF) point of view.
    I will speak for both those arts, i don't know about the others. But in none of those, you are taught to swing both hands.

    In MT, you learn to keep the opposite hand glued to the chin. That means your head is protected from counter kicks and punches. The hand that swings is straightened out.

    In TKD ITF, for the power roundhouse, your opposite hand is tight to your body to avoid counter body kicks. Your head is mostly protected buy leaning far back while kicking. The arm that swings, is kept bended at the elbow, but you still swing it back for power and balance.

    If you kept your opinion just for the speed, i might agreed with you, but since you say:

    And specially:

    Its completely wrong. You will never find a kru that will teach you to keep both hands up. All MT kicks are for power. They don't go for points. So all the roundhouse kicks have the swinging arm.
    When you mostly snap the kick, you may not need the hand for balance. But when you rotate all the way through your opponent with your hips, its impossible not to have your swinging arm.

    "If you need to extend your arms to maintain balance you need to work on your balance."

    That only tells me you don't know how to kick properly in a MT way...

    Your opposite hand is enough to protect from straight punches, same stance back hand hooks, and same stance high kick. From the same stance its very rare that he will be able to switch while you kick, and still be able to catch you in the head.

    When opposite stances, you may have to watch out for the round house counter, but it's very rare to be able to land a kick in the same side a kick is coming in, if you 're the second to lunch it. And back hand counter hook, is almost impossible to land also.

    But even in TKD, when it's not for demonstration or just speed, you have a swinging arm. Not the same way as MT, but still they need it for balance. And if those guys need it, everybody needs it...
     
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    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
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  10. TheBookofSpeed White Belt

    TheBookofSpeed
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    I've been a TKD guy for 37 years. Moo Duk Kwan and ITF, no WTF. We're kickers but we don't teach the arm swing, especially for speed kicks.

    Not pinned in place, just up. Sure there is arm movement and upper torso movement. I just disagree with arms flailing and extending, especially behind the kicking leg.

    Have a look at Benny the Jet. Second round starts at about the 2:45 mark. His arms move but they are up and where they are useful. His opponent's arms are all over the place and he pays for it over and over. At the opening of round three Benny throws a high kick with the arm extended but he was in position to get away with it. It missed but he new that he was in no trouble regardless

     
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    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  11. TheBookofSpeed White Belt

    TheBookofSpeed
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    OK, maybe I should have said extended, flailing arms. Sure there is arm movement but I still believe that extended arms during a kick is asking to get nailed in the opening that they create.

    Followup strikes.
     
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  12. TheBookofSpeed White Belt

    TheBookofSpeed
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    This is what I advocate, #1 (or very close). The left is up where it is useful. I prefer to keep the right more in place as well to protect the head and ribs but of course there has to be movement. In #1. your left is up. Your right is moving but the elbow is bent and you are back to chamber instantly. You're not extending the right into useless territory.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  13. Yodsanan มวยไทย

    Yodsanan
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    Uhh, Benny actually swings his arms with most rear kicks he does.


    You can throw those just fine with arm swinging.


     
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  14. TheBookofSpeed White Belt

    TheBookofSpeed
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    Yodsanan, I don't think that we're as far apart as it seems. My fault, not making myself clear.

    Top vid is a power kick. I'm talking pure speed kicks. I should not have stuck my head in the power debate. Not my area so I bow out.

    Second vid is more of a speed kick and the guy kicking was vulnerable to a left during the kick if his opponent hadn't been covering up. Even though the kicker rotated his arm out he did not extend it. It was still close to a useful position. Farther out than I like but still with bent elbow and where it could strike or defend. His body is leaning in slightly. I still believe that he could have executed that kick with the same power with his right up. Notice that he is using very little hip rotation in that kick. This is what I'm talking about. Speed kicks.

    Benny does extend his arm on some kicks but he is great at having his hands up when the kick is a harassing kick or a speed kick. Of course, a lot of Benny's kicks were for power but he did use speed and harassing kicks as well.

    Thanks
     
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  15. Paradigm Gold Belt

    Paradigm
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    Speed and power?



    On a more personal note, I've shown new people that I've been teaching that you generate power in MT kicks from the hips by kicking a pad or bag with my arms hanging straight down (more or less). There's still some slight turning of the upper body though and of course, I can generate more power by swinging the arm for counter-balance/rotation.

    Obviously, kicking with your arms hanging like limp noodles isn't ideal but it illustrates the point that the hips have to move to generate power...otherwise, you're doing the equivalent of arm punching while kicking.

    I'll try to record a video...maybe I'm still swinging my arm a little because I can't picture myself getting the same power keeping the arms up in a Dutch shell and body kicking.
     
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  16. TheBookofSpeed White Belt

    TheBookofSpeed
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    Much respect to you and MT but my point is about speed, not power and not MT. Just speed.

    Yeah I made a comment that I don't think that you need to swing your arms (meaning wildly extended) to generate power and I mentioned that I know that MT does swing for power. My mistake. I should kept my comments about speed only. I only mentioned MT because I respect what they do and, in the fights I've watched, even though they do use the arm swing they keep their hands up when they need to.

    I'm talking about a different kick, a pure speed kick. Little or no hip rotation needed. Pure speed into the target and hands up for fast followup strikes and defense if needed. These kicks use a straight chamber and do not require swinging arms. The kick can be a roundhouse with minimal hip rotation at the end or a side kick with minimal hip rotation or, of course, a front kick.

    I believe that you can train pure speed just like you can train speed with power. Pure speed doesn't need a full hip rotation (it's faster without it) and it doesn't need the arm swing. Again, I believe that due to economy of motion and keeping centrifugal forces at a minimum you can move faster and you maintain more mobility. That works well with keeping your hands up which is screamed at any training hall. Movement, yeah, but up.

    Again, much respect to MT but I'm just talking about speed kicks with harassment level power that are for points, setups, harassment, etc. I know that these kicks can be delivered fast with the hands up. Sure, the upper body is going to move but there is no arm extension needed for that kind of kick.
     
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  17. freaky Double Yellow Card

    freaky
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    tldr. I assume you're talking about swinging the kicking side arm down. It's for balance. Without swinging my arm, I off balance myself too much.
     
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  18. panamaican Forum Moderator

    panamaican
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    As has been said, it acts as a counter balance. You can certainly kick without any arm movement but you're going to sacrifice power and balance to do so. You're not going to gain any speed in this fashion either since the counterweight helps you accelerate through the movement without hurting your balance.

    That's just body mechanics no matter what style of kick you're using.

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    Now, you can certainly help your speed by not bringing your hips into the movement but even then you're going to need the counterweight. And the faster you're trying to kick, the more important the balance element becomes.

    I realize that the position is that you can get speed without the ballast and that's true. But you'll always have more speed with it.
     
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  19. NoSmilez Brown Belt

    NoSmilez
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    Swing arm when body kick or high kick. Although I didn't learn it this way, low kick try to keep the arm up if you are throwing it to end a combo.
     
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  20. LEGS MAHONEY genetically modified man shark

    LEGS MAHONEY
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    Why on earth is jake mace being used as an example? What next Ashida Kim?
     
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