When fighting at tournaments, you don't necessarily need to execute the technique with full power (as ITF style tournaments are usually semi-contact), unless its a WTF tournament and you need to power through the hogu! However, full power is required for both self-defence and destruction (breaking) and, as you have already read, the correct alignment of the body is needed to generate that. Pivot your support leg to almost 90 degrees, lock your hips into the technique, form a correct Footsword and execute your Side Piercing Kick accurately with both speed and confidence!
Chambering The Perfect Side Piercing Kick
by Stuart Anslow
Breaking wooden boards is easier than breaking decent ‘breaker boards’, as targeting is less imperative on wood, due to its numerous ‘grains’. On a breaker board, you only have a single grain and its important to be accurate and hit it on target. With that said, if you do not form a Footsword, your won’t have a concentrated technique and your power will be spread out over the board instead of at a single point.
One thing that a lot of students do is bend to much in the wrong direction as they execute the kick, either (as mentioned previously) leaning to far back, and thus taking some of their power away (left pic) or by leaving their backside sticking out - thus not locking the hips and not achieving full power, even if all the other parts of the kick were done correctly (right pic).
Saying ‘do this and do that’ is easy to say, but for many, not so easy to do when you have trouble locking your hips into the technique (for what ever reason), so lets look at a few exercises to help you to achieve a good chamber and ‘full lock’ in your Side Piercing Kick.
Take away the need to balance, so you can concentrate on extending your leg and align you hips and feet correctly by using a wall or chair to lean on (in this instance we have used a wall). Place one hand on the wall to help you maintain your balance, at arms length, as this will allow you to bend your arm and lean back a little, as you would do when you execute the technique. Either start with your toes pointing towards the wall, so you do not have to think about the pivot (or start at 90 degrees and pivot as you extend the kick out).
Bring your knee up to the ‘chamber’ position (far left pic) and slowly extend it out, ensuring your support foot is turned and your kicking foot is formed with a Footsword (right pic). Extend it so your whole body is inline and hold it for a few seconds before bringing it back to the chamber and repeating as many times as you wish.
Resist the urge to over-rotate your upper body, over turn your hips, learn back onto the wall to much (far left pic) or place your other hand on the wall (right pic) - to help avoid doing any of those, you can lightly rest your hand on your kicking leg if you wish.
Once you think you have the technique ‘down’ by using the wall or chair, your can reinsert the ‘balance’ portion of it and practice the same thing, but without the support.
You may of noticed that throughout this article, I try to keep my guard up or close to me, where as the ITF like the student to extend his/her lead hand in a punching position when they execute many Side Piercing Kicks within the patterns. However, whilst I don’t do it that way personally, I do use it as another method for helping the student align their body whilst practicing the execution of this technique. Simply throw a straight punch, along the same line as the kick, as you execute it. (left pics).
Whilst the above method is good and can help many students, it feels a little uncomfortable (unnatural even) to me and my favoured way is, instead of a punch, ask the student to execute a back fist strike with both hands as they execute the kick. (left pics).
To be honest, I am not sure why this works exactly, but it does! Perhaps its because all our limbs are aligned and thus that helps the hips maintain the correct position!
There is no special secrets to using this kick to break boards or bricks with - simply execute it as stated in the article. As I said earlier on, once you have a good chamber, you can execute the kick smoothly, with good technique. Good technique brings speed and when those are added to your body mass and power generation (your hips), you will find the power and technique you need to easily break the boards. And with that, your confidence will grow
With that said, many forget to execute the technique as they do in their patterns when faced with boards. All to often they throw the kick fast and forget to chamber correctly, either bouncing off the boards or flicking them upwards - this is why a ‘perfect’ chamber is needed in breaking! Or they simply smash the boards without locking their hips into the technique, therefore only using the weight of their leg instead of their entire body. As stated, leaning away to much will also take away your power.