T Nation

Training Kicks (In My Boxing Gym)


Ok, so as many of you might know, I am a boxer. I have no kikkboxing or Muay Thai gyms to train at. How should I start training kicks at my gym? My coach has no problems with me kicking his bags.

I know how to kick, I spar with a close friend who has trained Kung Fu and Muay Thay before, and I did Tae Kwon Do back in grade school. I know not to kick the bag with the foot and all that, you wanna hit with the shin and stuff.

Any suggestions how to work some kicks into my boxing bag work? I was thinking just start with the jab/cross/right kick. Anything else you guys got to add?

Hoping big boss chimes and sentoguy chime in, as I think they train kicks alot... maybe xen nova/beershoes/tassietaekwondo too.


You forgot about me!!! lol I train lots of kicks..check out my vid in profile for a KO hed keek lol.
I don't really like kicking the bag with combo's ever.
Just the distance isn't the same..it's much better for knee's on the heavy bags if your doin combinations
I would really just kick the bags and that's it..and keep hands up.

The best for kicks is to actually do it either with the thai pads so you can do a full combination.
To work on kicks I usually do 25 each leg, right, left..go low, go mid, go high.
100 a day, everyday!
But if you can get someone to hold thai pads for you out of class that'd be golden (granted they know how to hold)
Kicksheilds are pretty sweet too, to work kicks on.

If you only have the bag though...just throw your punches (not hitting bag, like shadowboxing) then kick.

Orthodox: Jab, right low leg kick
jab, right, left kick
jab, right, left hook, right kick
the list goes on and on..and you can mix it up...low, medium, high.

Hope this helped.


Haha thanks Therizza, I get a mention!
Although I've given up my striking ways lately, too busy with the judo, and no striking instructor anymore. However I'm lookin at picking up some kickboxing classes..

Anyway! I agree with what rasturai said, mostly I don't like doing kick/punch combinations on the bags, it never feels right.

Pretty much the only combo I practiced on the bag was a leading leg front/snap kick, jab/cross, but the kick would be light. Sometimes jab/cross rear leg round.

Practing single kicks was always ok though.

As rasturai said, time would be better spent just practicing your kicks, while maintaing a good guard, practice moving around, get the bag swinging and it'll help your timing.
And yeah thai pads are the buisness, easily best way to practice cominations. Kick shields can be useful, it gives you a good idea of what it feels like to kick a human sized/weighted object that doesn't just swing around like a bag does.

And of course, shadow-"boxing"! All the time! Infact I did much, much, much more of this than any other form of kick training-
You can do it by yourself, at any time,
it's not as tiring as hitting a bag so you can do it more often, and it's less stress on joints/tendons
you can work in more footwork, as the target can be imagined to be any-where,
it teaches good kick-retraction, you don't rely on hitting the target to maintain balance

As far as combo's-
of course jab cross, rear round is a staple
I mentioned lead leg snap, jab cross.

The stuff rasturai mentioned was all good-

For more "fancy" stuff-
practice missing a rear leg round, follow up w/ lead spinning back fist.
rear leg snap to spin/or jump back-kick,

or, a very "taekwondo combo"- front snap, rear round, jump back-kick. This is a good combo for building kicking skills/balance/timing- but should not- NOT- be used in self-defence/sparring/comp. unless you really rock the guy first, or that front snap kick really drills them, and even then, it's a very risky move. But it's still a fun combo, with benefits.

That's about all I can offer someone comming from a boxing background- in tkd we used alot of the kicks to bridge the distance- say a rear leg snap kick where you land in southpaw and continue the combo from there. Although I think being ambidexturous with your fighting can have advantages, I know that most people would feel more comfortable fighting just one "way" i.e. in once stance.
Otherwise things like- rear leg snap into southpaw jab cross, back into natural stance- have worked really well for me, it gets you in and out really fast.
It's probably important to note that when using a kick to come in, that the kick should be retracted, then you should set the foot down- do no just let the foot fall to the ground as you complete the kick, this is asking for someone to kick it out from underneath you. Complete the kick, retract it, then set it down in front of you. I hope that makes sense...
Also switch kicks can be useful.. where you kind of "pop" the hips back into opposite stance then do a round kick, or you might pop one way then the other then kick, it can really throw peoples timing right out.

Of course once you decide to work in elbows and knees it opens up a whole new world of combinations!

May I ask why you are practing kicks? Self-defence? Just for the fun/variety of it? Planning on a kickboxing comp?

And can someone tell me a good reason why kickboxers/ muay thai guys never seem to use side kicks?
Because I very rarely see it, and I left them out of the above combo's, for fear of there being a good reason why and me getting flamed.
I only have limited experience sparring, and have never used kicks in self defence, so I don't know how practical they are. But I do know that they are one of my hardest kicks.. and in sparring they have been effective at times..

Anyway hope that this helped, sorry that it was abit of a novel..

Oh!- and work in fakes, too- I found it helped to think of them as double kicks-
throw a rear leg-kick, about a foot out from the target, then actually throw a head kick,
same can work with snap kicks.


If you don't have a Muay Thai gym near you i'd recommend buying or downloading a top quality Muay Thai instructional.


Rasturai- Sorry I forgot to mention you
Tassie- I just thought it'd be something good to add to my training. Plus my favorite fighters of all time are CroCop and Andy Hug, both of whom could lay some nasty kicks.


ahh the keith jardine....jab, cross, rear roundhouse. Thats good to get you going, but you need to throw some theebs (foot jabs, Joe Rogan called it a teep once and now everyone thinks that what they're called), knees and elbows. If your hook technique is good, learning how to throw good elbows will be easy since it uses the same sort of rotational force. There are a lot of vids on expertvillage.com on the subject, check them out.


^^^^^^NO. Stay away from expertvillage.com. More bullshit than quality. And what are you talking about with Rogan?? And what is a theeb? I think you might be getting ahead of yourself,my fellow Texan. Anyways:

Therizza...Rasturai pretty much gave you pretty good advice...not much to add to that. You have to really understand that kicking technique is simple....don't overthink it too much. When kicking(Thai style especially)...remember that your hips move first...you lead with your hip. Your leg follows. Just like a bat swing. When you kick remember to pivot on balls your foot...the higher you kick,higher your heel comes up of the floor. I know you said that you know how to kick,but those are things that you really need to focus on to get power behind those kicks.

As for combos....really practice on being fluid. You don't want to telegraph and/or be off-balance when you kick. Of course this will be easier to practice with a partner holding thai pads for you. But if all you have is the bag then really focus on what Rasturai stated...throw your punch combos..then your kicks. Make sure you throw with proper technique...then work up to focusing on speed and power.

And if you want to play with some instructionals I suggest Duke Roufus vids,Peter Aerts vids....and Rob Kaman vids. They are all easy to find for "free." But really try to get someone to watch your technique and correct any holes. It's next to impossible to do that on your own....but it wouldn't hurt to video your technique either.


A mai theeb is basically a push kick or foot jab. I've actually found some valid BJJ vids on expert village. You cant learn anything from a vid though, you have to actually roll/spar to understand.



Its true though, without a trainer or training partner that has more experience than you, it's really hard to learn these things on your own. In the words of Bruce Lee "absorb whats useful and reject whats useless". Use as many resources as possible and try to adapt them into your game. You can find all kinds of stuff on the net that can be used as a guideline, but modify it to what works best for you. And you are welcome for the eyecandy. The girls in the video are hawt.


Ahh..I see,thanks. :wink:


At paradise warrior retreat, Dellagrotte emphasized the basics, and keeping things fluid.

jab - outide leg kick

jab-cross- inside leg kick

jab-cross-hook OLK

jab-cross-hook cross - ILK

just go through the sequence or mix it up randomly. YOu can also have a buddy hold pads and call out numbers. It really helps someone trying to get comfortable throwing their kicks in combo with their hands in the early stages.

Once you have that you add a cross-hook after the kick.

By the by, if you ever get the chance you should check out the retreat. Lots of fun with some great intructors and good value on the dollar if your looking to ad some MMA style to your training. Check it out, I can't wait.



Thanks for all the input guys!

Maybe I'll videotape some sparring in the future, look for some more pointers.


I agree. There is more to throwing a kick than just throwing your leg. Getting good instruction will lead to good technique.


4th Degree TKD here:
How you train depends on your goals, sport or combat. I assume you mean kicks for combat and those are quite different from sport kicking.

(1) Always wear shoes when practicing. How you train is how you will do.

(2) Footwork for a kick is essential because, remember, you will momentarily be standing on one leg (not good). Throwing a front kick at someone trying to shoot (as in shootfighting) is stupid, as an example.

(3) If you were my student, I would teach you to sidestep the attacker (move forward right or left at 45 degrees if possible) and throw a hard sidekick to the legs as opponent moves in. Wear your normal shoes. This is a devastating counter to a charging opponent.

Whatever you choose, commit and do thousands of those moves and kicks. It should become automatic to do what you need to do.

Good luck in training!

BTW: my teacher who taught me the very simple move and kick above was an 8th Dan with 5 other bb's besides, who had creds from teaching the FBI. Simpler is ALWAYS better.


You changed your avatar. Yea, I was figuring getting really good at throwing the soccer type kick to the lower leg (Muay Thai move?) and side kicks. I have very poor hip flexibility, so I don't think I'd ever try a headkick.



are these kicks more for kickboxing, or MMA/crosstraining? the reason why i ask, is becasue i think MT/kickboxing combos are a lot different than MMA types.

for instances, i'd throw a jab-cross-rear leg kick in MT, but a jab-rear leg kick in MMA, due to the takedown threat.


For combat, a head kick is suicidal. I've seen it work but the guy kicked was pretty drunk. Hip flexibility would be an issue so simply don't try it.

You can judge a lot by body type. If your opponent is taller, he'll almost always be a striker. Front kicks to the legs are fine but keep moving. Shorter guys usually want to do close quarters which means you'll get bull rushed. Practice the side kick I described.

If you do get bull rushed and don't want to risk kicking, a good idea is to keep your open hands close together in front of you. You can sprawl or, better yet, drive your fingers into his eyes when he launches. A huge guy will scream like a baby when your fingers are using his head like holding a bowling ball.


Some good advice so far.

Something which I don't think has been stressed enough though is footwork, positioning and distancing.

If you are close enough to throw inside punches (like hooks, uppercuts, "45's"), then you are too close to throw kicks (unless maybe you're throwing loopy "swing" hooks, but that's another discussion). Ideally you want to be at about jabbing/straight right range if you want to throw a good round kick.

That's not to say that you can't follow a hook up with a round kick though. But again, it's going to require that you use footwork and gain the correct distance if you want to do so.

Honestly though, unless you have just beaten your opponent to a pulp and they become entirely defensive (or they just "shield up" like Charles McCarthy did against Bisping), then you probably aren't going to be throwing more than maybe 3 strikes before they either start countering or clinching. So, getting into the habit of incorporating either range or angle altering footwork into your combinations is a good habit to get into, regardless of whether you plan to end with a kick or something else.

One of the best habits to get into is to pivot step or angle step to the opponent's weak side after a couple punches, before continuing with more punches, or throwing your kick/knee/takedown what have you. Not only does this gain you a positional advantage as you have now basically eliminated an entire side of their body from being used as weapons, but you also hinder their vision, open up some targets that are difficult to defend (kidneys, occipital area, sciatic nerve, etc...), prevent them from being able to effectively retaliate or clinch, and most importantly gain time.

Now, once you get this angle you've got to continue your assault. Since we're talking about kicking that means that you'll have to gain some distance to be able to kick effectively. But, you also don't want to lose this advantage in time that you've gained, so you can't just step out and then kick. If you do, you are giving the opponent the opportunity to gain distance on you (which could mean that they step in and smother/catch the kick, or step out and make the kick miss).

One of the best ways to get around this is to bump. A bump can be a simple shove with the palm (one or both hands) to the shoulder, chest, opponent's arm, etc...; it can be done with the forearm (either like a forearm smash, or similar to some tai chi movements); it can be a push/pull type of thing like shoving one shoulder and pulling on the tricep of the other arm to spin the opponent; by stepping through their center mass with a shoulder check, etc...

What it does though, is it momentarily puts shock into the opponent's body, can cause them to either drop or raise their guard (depending on the line of force), become defensive, and either displaces them, or acts as a wedge to prevent them from gaining distance on you. And of course, it also fills that void in time that would have been there had you simply stepped out to gain the distance to kick, thus not allowing your opponent to take advantage of that gap.

Depending on the type of bump, your size/mass in relation to your opponent, and what your intended purpose is will all alter your position to your opponent after the bump. So, it's best to understand the mechanics and play around with a bunch of different ones to see how they affect the opponent as well as which ones might be suitable for different types of opponents.

After a correctly executed bump though, you should be in great position to follow up your attack, which in this case means a kick. You are also still in a position of advantage (shouldn't have to worry about the straight right counter as the right hand will be blocked by the opponent's own body), have great access to either the lateral cutaneous femoral nerve, or the sciatic nerve and while it's still possible that they might catch your leg, it's much less likely.

Hope this helps.