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The Roundhouse Kick

What it is and how it's done

The Roundhouse Kick. No, it is not as fancy as it may sound but it’s one hell of an offensive weapon in fighting. Let’s get everything straight, talk all about the roundhouse kick and how it’s done.

Roundhouse Kick

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How to do a Roundhouse Kick

Posted by gajotap

The Roundhouse Kick. No, it is not as fancy as it may sound but it’s one hell of an offensive weapon in fighting.

There are lots of Chuck Norris Roundhouse Kick jokes going around especially on the web and many would get a kick out it (pun intended). Yet, I am pretty sure many think of the roundhouse kick as a fancy type of spinning kick. Surprisingly, even people who have been following martial arts and MMA matches would still confuse a roundhouse kick with something else.

Let’s get everything straight, talk all about the roundhouse kick and how it’s done.

A roundhouse kick is typically a momentum kick in which the leg is swung in a curved motion along with the rotation of the hips and torso. The balls of the non-kicking foot can also pivot towards the direction of the roundhouse kick for balance and additional momentum.

The commonly accepted striking surface is the shin or the instep. Traditionally in Karate, the balls of the kicking foot of the roundhouse kick is the most favored striking point because it was deemed  more destructive. However, the risk of injury to the foot is also higher. As time went by, the instep and shin became the preferred striking surface. But this is not to say that using the balls of the foot is ineffective. With tremendous conditioning, a roundhouse kick using the balls of the foot is indeed immobilizing.

The roundhouse kick can be performed in different ways. It can be forceful and with lots of momentum as the ones used in Muay Thai and Karate. On the other hand, the Taekwondo roundhouse kick is fast and significantly quicker in delivery. The roundhouse kick can either be done with the lead leg or the rear leg, the latter being the more forceful. Nevertheless, a clean hit from a roundhouse kick can dish out a lot of pain due to the natural strength of the leg and hardness of the shin, instep, or foot.

The height of the roundhouse kick can be low (leg kick), middle (45 degree kick), or high (head roundhouse kick). All can be devastating which is capable of breaking ribs and producing  sensational knockouts even when blocked.

The roundhouse kick is a staple weapon in striking martial arts. In Muay Thai, Kickboxing, and MMA, the roundhouse kick have made sensational knockouts that can make your jaw drop in awe. As a point fighting sport, the taekwondo roundhouse kick is often seen performed in many ways – e.g. jumping, spinning, tornado kicks, and so on. The sport requires the kick to be much quicker and more devious.

Other names of the Roundhouse Kick:
  • Hook Kick (Jeet Kune Do)
  • Mawashi Geri (Karate)
  • Angle Kick (Muay Thai)
  • Rising Kick (Muay Thai Head Roundhouse Kick)
  • fouetté (Savate)
  • Round Kick
  • Fast Kick (Taekwondo Lead Leg Kick)
Fighters known for their destructive roundhouse kick:
  • Peter Aerts
  • Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović
  • Buakaw Por. Pramuk
  • Thiago Alves
  • Jean Claude Van Damme (Sorry, can't help it)
Video Instructions: 

Kickboxing / Muay Thai Roundhouse Kick

KungFu Roundhouse Kick

Taekwondo Roundhouse Kick

Karate Roundhouse Kick

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3 Response to 'How to do a Roundhouse Kick'

  1.'> March 22, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    I like this clear-up-the-basics stuff. Great blog. I'll follow and visit. How about doing a back-to-basics on the lowly jab. I see all sorts of confusion on it about whether and how much to throw your shoulder, how to combo it with a hook from the same hand, whether you should start all the way back at your cheek or keep it a quarter extended to start etc etc


  2. gajotap Said,'> March 22, 2010 at 10:29 PM

    I do have a post about the jab here but it is more about the different types of jab because IMO, there is no perfect jab. it all depends on what it is intended for.

    Thanks for appreciating.


  3. Anonymous Said,'> October 27, 2012 at 10:18 AM mention of Bas Rutten?


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