I got a lot of good answers on my other thread so here's another bundle of questions I have. This is what I meant by confusing myself. The mathematician in me wants to be a reductionist with everything and so I end up breaking things down ad nauseum. Whereas, I then see a 14 year old who kicks as hard as I do who isn't thinking about any of this. As far as I can tell the following variables are involved in regard to the front (pivot) foot. Anterior Distance (How far do I step toward opponent relative to my standard stance) Medial Distance (How far do I step to the side of my opponent [opening my stance] relative to my standard stance) Initial Foot Angle (In my standard stance my foot angle is at 12 o'clock [I was initially using degrees but using clock face will make it easier to converse about] relative to my opponent [faces them], when I step, before I do any pivoting, what time is it?) Ending Foot Angle (When the kick lands, what time does my pivot foot now point at? This combined with Initial Foot Angle describes the degree of my pivot) Does anyone else think about these sorts of things? Now, what I take from them: Anterior Distance - This is more or less determined by experience and being able to 'find my range.' However, medial distance exerts a degree of influence. Imagine where our kick lands when stepping with x anterior distance and y medial distance. Now imagine where this target changes if we step with x anterior distance and 'y+z' medial distance. Medial Distance - The smaller the medial distance the less distance our kicking less has to travel. The bigger the distance the easier it becomes to kick at a horizontal angle because its easier to stack our hips relative to the target. Is this right? Foot Angles - The greater the disparity here the more we've pivoted and thus, all else equal, the more power we've created. I also take it to be the case that our foot should never be between 1 and 5. The least extreme initial angle should be at '12' and the most extreme ending foot angle should be at 6. So, that's my attempt at describing what is going on with the pivot foot. Any thoughts welcome, even if the thought is that I'm doomed to paralysis by analysis. Lol.
Sounds like a good (if slightly overcomplicated) analysis. By the principles of leverage, the pivot point/ fulcrum (which would be the post leg) is used to magnify force. So, the greater the distance your kick travels and the greater the pivot, the more powerful the kick. Some MT instructors (like DeLagrotte) advocate stepping into the kick to carry momentum into it, but the most important things to do are pivot on the ball of the post foot, really pivot your hips, and set up your kicks well.
while I believe taking a quantitative approach like this will help get your started, your kicks will greatly improve once you develop more awareness of your body and are able to get the 'feel' of it, meaning all of the mechanics are in tune such that no power is lost when you throw the kick, should feel like a rubber band snapping to your target and back to your kick stance. If you pay close attention to your body it is easy to determine where power is lost. Imagine what happens when you whip a towel, when it is a perfect whip all the power culminates at the tip and you can do extreme damage, where as if you screw it up the towel follows a similar path but just flops at the end not generating much power. you didn't learn to whip a towel by analyzing the exact angles, you can whip a towel at whatever angle you choose, as long as the mechanics are in tune. Same with a kick, you've got to feel the fluidity of it, make the 'whip' work (ie, dont lose any power along the way) just feel it and adjust where you feel power being lost. once you develop a better feel for your body and become more coordinated all the different angles and step-into's will fall into place. less math, more feel
I was a kinesiology major in college with an emphasis on biomech- so ya I do think about things like this (when I am not kicking). The fact of the matter is, you should be working to develop a neurological pattern so that you accomplish these movements subconciously. Don't overthink what you are doing. While hitting the bag be critical between kicks but not while throwing a kick. Just throw it. When you hit the pads or spar, just throw.
I'm glad I learn by feel rather than the way you learn. Not that I don't get down to the details, but sometimes you can make things more complicated by over analyzing.
TS - i have two degrees one in mathematics and one in physics....and ill be honest i never really gave it that much thought....i just kicked the bag till it moved more the last kick and remembered what i did. Now my kick feels like a small school bus when it makes contact with someone. Just kick the bag you will figure out how to kick better this way - kick the bag everyday - practice kicks in the mirror for form