Using Quads in MT Kick

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by Bennosuke, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. Bennosuke

    Bennosuke Blue Belt

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    Before I start, let me say that I trained in Kyokushin Karate and have no MT experience. I in no way intend to start a flame war.

    As I understand it, in a Muay Thai roundhouse kick, the knee is kept extended (as if swinging a baseball bat?). However, in KK, students are taught to kick with the knee initially bent, and to extend the knee just before impact (the knee won't be fully extended by the time the kick lands). The kicker still pivets the foot and turns the hips over.

    I'm just curious why in MT, the roundhouse kick does not take advantage of the quads (knee extensors) as they are one of the strongest muscle groups in the body. According to Kinetic linking theory, it would make sense to keep the knee bent and extend just before impact. Maybe I misunderstood. Could the MT buffs explain to me why this is not included?

    Once again, I don't mean to criticize, I just want to understand.
     
  2. BG1230

    BG1230 Orange Belt

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    if your going to an muay thai gym just do what the coach tells you to
    is it so hard?
    if you don't want to change your kicking i suggest boxing.
     
  3. Payak

    Payak Brown Belt Professional Fighter

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    the knee is slightly bent on impact.
    im not sure if your saying the thai way is straight or bent on impact.
    it is bent however.
    our power comes from the hip rotation and foot pivot.
    to straighten the leg at the last split second, cant imagine that, you would lose that forward drive.
     
  4. a dead stick

    a dead stick Orange Belt

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    In Muay Thai you line up your kick and then throw your whole body into it, so yes it swings like a base ball bat, sort of. Once the knee extends, there is an arc in which if your opponent is hit at any degree, they will be hurt.
    Its based on momentum.

    Karate attempts to be precise and coil up and strike with muscular force at the last moment, its based more on pure force and quick thrusting/snapping movements.

    That is why it is often generally remarked that karate kicks are functionally a bit quicker but less powerful than muay thai kicks.

    I know from experience, its hard to comprehend the muay thai roundhouse without actually studying muay thai. :icon_lol:
     
  5. Bennosuke

    Bennosuke Blue Belt

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    For clarification, I am not taking Muay Thai, and am just asking to understand. I feel that in kyokushin, the whole body is thrown into the kick as well, but that the knee is kept fairly bent until the end of the kick extending before impact. This way the kick benefits from both the momentum of the hips and torso, and the extension of the legs.

    By doing this the kick will be quicker (shorter lever till just before impact), but will have an extra amount of force. Once the leg is extended impulse and torque will be greater than if the leg is left extended (albeit slightly bent). Once again this is just how I was taught in Kyokushin karate. My sensei has actually repeatedly said that the kick came from MT.

    However, I have read that the kick does not take advantage of this change in lever length or use of the quads. Since MT is so well respected as an effective art, I am wondering why the quads are not added to the force produced by the movement in the rest of the body.
     
  6. BG1230

    BG1230 Orange Belt

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    man, i done karate when i was little,(yes kyokushin) so i know the technique.
    but when i compare the MT kick to the karate kick, well, the MT kick is miles better.

    it's not hard too, just throw your hip and pivot, plus try to connect with the shin.
    i think if you go to competitions use this kick instead of the karate kick,
    mainly because karatekas(?) aren't used to the power of the MT kick, and after several unchecked kicks, they will collapse.
     
  7. a dead stick

    a dead stick Orange Belt

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    They are though, but not in the same way. The muay thai kick is a more holistic kick in the dynamic of how it is thrown. You are throwing your entire leg including your quads and your entire upper body into the kick in one fluid motion, creating one devastating arc of destructive force that swings well through your intended target.

    Karate kicks try to FORCE muscular power into the kick at the last second, while also snapping the hips, anticipating in the point of impact and creating a much smaller range in which to do damage with the kick. That "extra amount of force" is an illusion you get from not understanding the difference in how the kicks work. The muay thai kick is much more powerful.

    If a karate roundhouses' range of impact and damage is this long: _____ the muay thai roundhouse is this long: ___________ (not to scale)

    A muay thai kick is like swinging a greatsword. You throw everything into it and anything that gets caught in the arc, dies.
     
  8. Bennosuke

    Bennosuke Blue Belt

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    @Deadstick- Honestly, I think I was taught mawashigeri like you were taught roundhouse kicks, except that the leg is fully bent before impact and straightened (to slightly bent) on contact.

    When you say range of impact, do you mean that it has a wider arc of things it will hit? I'm not clear on what you mean by that.
     
  9. panamaican

    panamaican Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I was doing some personal research on this very issue some months ago and I reached two conclusions:

    1) From a pure physics standpoint, the chambered kick should be more powerful. The reason it rarely seems that way is because it's very difficult to do it right. Getting the timing right and allowing the chambered leg to extend in a relaxed manner are probably the two biggest technical problems. Too often, the chambered leg is forced through extension (as someone else already mentioned) and the kick is treated like two distinct steps rather than one simultaneous motion thus robbing the kick of power as a whole. Students treat the chambered extension as a separate motion when the chambered extension should flow naturally out of the initial hip rotation. Essentially, the hip should launch the thigh with the lower leg in a deep, but relaxed, chamber and when the hip turns over, that momentum should be what launches the chambered leg out - whip like.

    2) The MT kick is taught to be more fluid from day one. By not teaching the students to focus on chambering and then extending the kicking leg, they can better apply the raw momentum and torque that makes the roundhouse so powerful. Karate students are taught the two step process (two separate and unfortunately not truly linked motions) and then have to unlearn that to reach that loose physical state required for maximum power generation.

    If the mechanics for a roundhouse are thought of like a whip with the hip launching the thigh and the pivot being used to finish that whipping motion down through the shin and foot, the MT method of teaching more closely resembes that end prodict from day one. The karate method is taught under the assumption that looseness will come with time but not every student realizes that and they perfect the two step kick instead of growing into the looser version.

    That's my analysis, I was originally taught the chambered version, learned the MT version later and realized that the difference is in the teaching method to reach that relaxed leg state. MT teaches it better quicker. You can get there through the chambered version but it requires great instruction to keep you on track developmentally.
     
  10. a dead stick

    a dead stick Orange Belt

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    Yes, I mean in muay thai, you time the knee extension to create an arc, your opponent can be anywhere in that arc, rather than snapping the knee at the last possible second, depending on where your opponent is, you turn your body and extend the leg according to your own momentum to generate power.

    The Karate way, if you extend to soon your kick has no power at the end, the muay thai way, it doesn't matter if you extend the leg while your are still even a couple feet from impact, when it lands its fucking devastating, because the momentum is carried through and builds up as the kick finishes its arc. In fact it is almost better to catch them with it closer to the end of the arc as that is the maximum point of velocity.

    You may notice this effect often if you watch muay thai fights closely.

    Like I said, its very hard to comprehend without getting into a muay thai class to have it broken down for you by doing it with your own body.

    I came from a western KB/kung fu/karate back ground in my kicking styles and it took me a couple weeks to learn how to throw it muay thai style, but the difference it mind blowing once you get it.
     
  11. SteelHammer

    SteelHammer Green Belt

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    Bennosuke, it is primarily because muay thai uses the shin to strike. The lower leg length from knee to striking surface is therefore only about half the length it is in karate, so there would only be a small gain from adding knee torque (quad extension) into the kick's speed. The muay thai fighters prefer to keep the leg tense the whole time "like a bat", as they feel this small gain in force amounts to more than that small gain in speed.

    PS. Alot of other posters here didn't even understand your original question, they thought you were asking whether the muay thai leg ends up straight when kicking.
     
  12. quikkick

    quikkick Technical Brilliance, Prowess, and Analysis

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    Exactly, the chambered leg should unfold at impact after rotating the post foot 170-180 degrees and having the carrying the knee in line with the trunk. Most people make a bad habit of "snapping" the kick out before a full rotation is reached. The difference is like throwing a proper hook versus a clothesline.
     
  13. panamaican

    panamaican Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Precisely. Your body's momentum should unfold the chambered leg, not an artificial "snap". You don't lose any speed that way but you do gain additional power.

    Not to hijack the thread but some people make the same mistake with the front snap kick. They snap with muscle instead of letting momentum unfold the leg.
     
  14. quikkick

    quikkick Technical Brilliance, Prowess, and Analysis

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    The thing is a lot of Thai fighters actually use a chambered leg!!! They allow the rotation to unfold the leg as you said.
     
  15. panamaican

    panamaican Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I know. Personally, the more time I spent with both kicks, the more I realized that any argument about the mechanics of MT kicks vs. karate kicks is pointless. Once you master either version of the kick, the end result is going to be almost exactly the same.
     
  16. Snubnoze707

    Snubnoze707 High Level

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    You understand incorrectly. In Muay Thai the knee is slightly bent throughout the whole entire kicking motion. It's not a straight leg kick. Every part of your body, including the quads, is thrown into it.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Bennosuke

    Bennosuke Blue Belt

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    Steelhammer- This makes a lot of sense, and may explain why MT fighters feel it is not worth it. But keeping the knee bent before impact will make the lever arm shorter (making the kick much faster). So even if the quads don't add much torque to the kick, keeping the leg bent will still make the kick quicker without detracting from speed (at least how I see it).

    Snubnoze- Are you saying the quads are used to increase the power via kinetic linking, or that the quads are simply used to brace the leg and keep it stiff?

    Along with what panamacian was saying- The theory of kinetic linking states that if a limb can benefit from multiple joints articulating in series, more torque can be placed at the end of the limb. For example, a baseball pitcher uses the momentum of stepping forward, contracting his abs and obliques to rotate and pull the throwing arm forward, followed by extending the shoulder, followed by extending the elbow, followed at the very end by snapping the wrist. The use of as many muscle joints as possible places the most accelerating force on the ball.

    With a kick the same mechanics should apply: stepping forward, rotating the torso and leaning it forward, contracting the hip flexors, then the knee flexors so that the most muscle joints are used in the kinetic link.

    From what I gather, keeping the knee extended gives the benefits of hitting a wider area, being simpler to perform, and not playing as large of a role because of striking with the shin. I could also see this being less wearing on the knee joint, which would go through greater stress with the quads being contracted violently.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
  18. SteelHammer

    SteelHammer Green Belt

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    Snubnoze707 is one of those people I was talking about who still does not understand the question. Snubnose, keeping the knee slightly bent throughout the whole motion is what Bennosuke calls keeping the leg extended.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2010
  19. SteelHammer

    SteelHammer Green Belt

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    That is true. In fact, that made so much sense that I tried it many times in the air just now and yes, it does make it faster to extend the leg as you go along. But I think after trying it both ways a few dozen times just now that your way does not allow you to tense your torso and leg in a line while throwing the kick, meaning that while the move is faster, and the strike has more speed, the leg and body rigidity is less upon striking which means that the reaction force from the target quickly dissipates the force of the kick into your own joints (hip especially), rather than being smashed back by the follow-through of a kick delivered with a more rigid body. The MT kick requires a tense-like-iron abdomen and leg which are locked together, like opposite twin blades on a helicopter around the base of your grounded leg, so that the entire rigid torso's force is striking through the kicking leg which is almost end-to-end with it (the thigh is almost 180 from the torso, in a line). When trying to break a board in freefall your way would be superior due to its strike speed, but I believe after doing it this many times just now that when trying to knock a 200 lb bag as far back as possible your way is not as effective due to decreased rigidity allowing reaction force of a heavy target to prevent proper follow-through.
     
  20. panamaican

    panamaican Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    The loss of body rigidity isn't inherent in the karate method, it's more likely to be coming from your unfamiliarity with the kick, relative to your experience with the MT method. Anecdotally, when I first learned the MT version, I felt I couldn't generate as much power because the leg and torso were too loose at contact, lol.

    Obviously, I don't know how your practice kicks looked but I would wager that you consciously extended the lower leg. This is how most students learn to do it and it unless your concentration is maximized, you're probably losing your focus on your abdomen while trying to extend the leg. Over time, you'll develop the same core and leg rigidity as in your MT kick. Experimentally, try throwing your regular MT kick without extending your leg ever (ie. leave it chambered). You should be able to maintain rigidity throughout the technique. So, if you can be rigid with a completely chambered leg and you can be rigid with the extended leg...then the key to maximizing the kicking technique is the smooth transition from the fully chambered technique into the extended leg method without compromising your core mid-pivot.

    I think karate teaches the 2-step method to help the student develop and feel that rigidity through the core and leg at both stages of the kick, but it comes with some cost. Too much rigidity, too much active forcing of body movements, saps techniques of power. By contrast, MT has focused on the smooth relaxed execution of technique even though there's no focus on fully chambering which would maximize kinetic linking.

    In the end, it comes back to relaxed technique. Karate teaches a stiffer form of technique to emphasize core rigidity in training and later expects you learn to throw it in a relaxed manner while maintaining the strength through the technique. Unfortunately, I don't think as many people master it as teach it. I know I certainly haven't mastered either kick :icon_chee.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2010

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