Despite my sense of personal accomplishment regarding the improvement of my kickboxing skills, there have been two particular problems that I have been having for a few classes that have made things somewhat challenging.
The first problem I have is always feeling awkward when we are doing the circle drill and we throw fake punches not aiming them at anyone. While other students are able to focus and throw their punches as though they are actually punching an opponent, I just can’t get over the fact of how weird I think I must look. It doesn’t matter if everybody is doing the same thing I still feel awkward. Luckily for me, today the instructor put two big punching bags out and said that when he said to punch those in front of the punching bags would get to punch those instead. The instructor also tried to keep us on our toes by quickly changing his directions. For example, he would tell us to go one way and almost immediately after would tell us to switch. This was amusing to me but I also realized that during kickboxing you will have to change what you are doing quickly so therefore there was a purpose behind what he was doing to us – or he was just trying to mess with us – I’m not sure.
Another problem I have been dealing with for a while is when I go to kick someone, I end up stumbling a bit backward. I knew that I was doing something wrong that was causing this to happen but I couldn’t figure out what. It was easy to think that it was just my clumsiness causing this problem because I didn’t see anyone else ever having the same problem. Being partners with the instructor, however, after he saw me stumble backward after kicking the kickboxing pad he shared some important information that none of my other partners ever told me before. The reason why I would stumble backward was because I was leaning backward. Rather, when I go to kick I should be leaning more toward my opponent. After he explained this to me, I tried to see if I followed his advice if it would work out because I still had a little bit of doubt it would solve the problem. To my surprise, I didn’t have to try and catch myself after kicking which boosted my self-confidence.
Today we focused on two different kicks that I had a lot of fun practicing.
The first one involved throwing two fake punches at our partner and then thrust kicking the kickboxing pad they were using to cover their stomach.
The second kick that we practiced was a bit more challenging for me to get a hang of initially. This move is done by throwing two punches and then moving one foot forward stepping sideways. After this, you are to bring up your other leg to kick your opponent.
It was explained in class that it is vital to know what part of your foot you should use to kick. You must be very careful because there is a possibility that you can break your shin or foot if you complete the move wrong. He explained that the best way to complete the kicks is to aim low when kicking your opponent and when coming into contact with your opponent to use your ankle because it is the strongest.
One important thing to remember about moves in kickboxing is that you need to be fast. It is natural for me to use my fists one after another to throw punches without much thought but after I am done punching it takes me a second to remember that I need to bring my leg up to kick afterward. One way that was recommended to me to possibly solve this is to recognize possible physical signs that will cue you when to bring your leg up. For example, I use my right fist to throw a punch first, therefore, a physical cue that it is almost time for me to bring up my leg to kick is when my left shoulder moves forward to be able to throw a punch with my left fist.
Also, when it my turn to practice drills, I often focus on just repeating the drill until time is up. However, this time, the instructor encouraged me to take a break and practice bouncing around on my toes to practice being light on my feet. By practicing moving around on my toes like this, it also helped me build up more energy for my next kick and be able to quickly transition into having my feet on the ground to kicking someone. Finally, one more important thing that might help in being more effective in throwing a kick when practicing these moves is to take a step forward before trying to kick your opponent.
I really learned a lot this lesson and the more I learn the more excited I become to head back week after week.