Monday, May 12, 2008

How To Apply A Tornado Kick

The 540 degree tornado kick practiced in taekwondo is an advanced move that is really flashier than practical given the amount of time and space required to perform as well as the difficulty in accurately striking an opponent or target. Should such an attack connect however, the amount of momentum results in an incredible amount of kinetic energy transferred to the target. Translation: Someone gets hurt. Because of the difficulty and impressive look of this spinning kick, it is common in martial arts/action films and is practiced often by various martial artists, choreographers, and stuntmen. The following are instructions on how to correctly execute this kick. It should be said however that anyone attempting this move should probably already be well versed in martial arts or gymnastics of some kind.

Step 1:
Imagine a target at roughly head height. Stand sidelong to the target. In this case we will be having the left side of the body closer to the target as a right footed person would do.

Step 2:
Bend at the knees with elbows up and arms angled away from the body.

Step 3:
Rock your body to the right so all your weight is on your right foot

Step 4:
Kick off and forward with your right foot, push all your weight hard onto your left foot. You should begin to twist to the left, with your right leg swinging forward and your arms pulling along too.

Step 5:
Swing your body in a circle, bending at the knees, arms pulled out by your momentum. When your back is facing the target, plant your right foot hard and jump with all the strength in your right leg, continuing the spin.

Step 6:
As you leave the ground pull lay back and pull your legs up with the muscles in your stomach. You should be horizontal to the ground.

Step 7:
This is where you find whether or not the momentum you built up during your spin was sufficient. You should be able to spin once while completely horizontal and lash out with your right foot when it comes of the top of your body. The joint where your foot and shin connect should impact with the target.

Step 8:
Remember to follow through with your right foot. Point the toe of it downward, your spin should carry you so that you begin to face the ground. At this point angle your feet to the ground.

Step 9:
You should be able to land with your right foot, back facing the target. Do not attempt to plant your left foot yet as the momentum of your spin will throw you forward.

Step 10:
The spin should carry you around, pivoting on your right foot to face your target. At this point plant your left foot. Congratulations! You've successfully completed a very difficult maneuver!

Tips & Warnings
Remember to pull your body around with your shoulders as well as your leg. Your initially out flung leg and arms are the main source of your momentum. If you cannot complete the spin, raise your arms and leg out further next time. Do not expect to complete this kick successfully on your first try.

This is an extremely difficult kick to perform. The amount of momentum generated by this kick is such that failing to land correctly can result in bruises, pulled muscles, dislocated joints, and even broken bones. (Though broken bones are rare) Be sure to practice in an area with plenty of open space roughly nine steps in every direction is the bare minimum

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