How do roundhouse kicks work? Are they actually combat efficient?
The roundhouse kick is a common kick seen in street fights, and for this reason lots of counters have been developed for it. So, it does work, it is effective, and easy to do compared to other kicks. It’s powerful (though not as powerful as the sidekick or back kick), but is the riskiest because it’s easy to trap.
Of the four beginning kicks, the roundhouse is the only kick that comes across the body. The others all strike directly. The roundhouse targets the side of the body or enemies in the fighting stance. This is part of what makes the roundhouse more visible than the other kicks. Your peripheral vision is great for noticing motion coming in on the edge of your vision, and circles are eye-catching. The roundhouse kick is an arc. Like all kicks, it’s one big body movement coming at you in flashing neon lights.
As a general rule, kicks are always riskier than punches. They’re reliant on speed and balance, and they come with obvious tells. Still, kicks are much more powerful than a punch, delivering more force at high speeds directly into the body. After all, with more risks come more rewards.
A single well placed kick can end a fight before it begins… if you can land it.
As for whether the roundhouse is combat efficient, that really depends on the individual and how limber they are. Cold kicks will punish you, pull your hamstrings, and wreck your legs if you’re not stretching on the regular. Your success with using kicks in combat is almost entirely dependent on your flexibility. When jumping into straight into a fight, you don’t get a time out for a five to ten minute warm up.
With that covered, let’s get down to the basics for the roundhouse.
The roundhouse is the second kick you’ll learn in most martial arts systems, after the front kick and before the sidekick. It relies on the rotational power of the hips to bring the leg across the body, striking with either the top or the ball of the foot. The attack comes on a diagonal, with points at either the head, stomach/ribs, or (in some variation) the legs/upper thigh. The structure of the roundhouse is as follows:
1) Beginning Stance:
Unlike the front kick which can be done from any forward facing, standing position, the roundhouse requires you be in a fighting stance.
A stance is a basic part of martial arts, but usually skipped over by Hollywood and beginners for strikes. Strikes are the big flashy moves that get attention because they are flashy. As with everything, the building blocks are often skipped.
Stances are what we call your “base” or how you set your body and your feet. Most martial arts disciplines will have a full set of stances from the front stance to the horse stance, and they will be referred to by different names. The fighting stance is easily recognizable. As it is the stance you’ll see everyone drop into on or off screen when they’re getting ready to fight.
The fighting stance is meant for basic defensive positioning, allowing you to move quickly. In Taekwondo, the fighting stance is one foot forward and the other foot is a step behind (about the width of your shoulders) on a diagonal. The back foot twists sideways roughly to a 45 degree angle, the front foot points forward. Your upper body turns on a diagonal following your back foot. Your hands clench to fists, and rise to your face. The hand over the front foot extends out, the other hand hovers beside your cheek. Your elbows come in, just inside the silhouette of your body. Your knees bend. Weight will adjust in a tilt slightly forward or slightly back depending on attack vector. The bouncing seen in sparring tournaments or boxing is meant to cover these weight shifts. In the fighting stance, you should never stand flat footed.
This is the basic protective stance for sparring.
Body Reader Note: Elbow, hand, upper body, and feet placement are all dead giveaways when someone doesn’t know what they’re doing. Failure begins with your feet. The hands especially, most beginners do not keep their hands far enough apart, their elbows come out too far from the body. Beginners will often leave the front foot flat on the ground with their weight unbalanced, slowing their reaction time.
On Weight Shifts: Leaning back generally means a kick as the upper body tilts backward
for balance when the leg extends. Forward for hands. Settled on the back
leg can also be a defensive posture, versus weight forward which is
more aggressive. You want to be on the balls of your feet because that means quicker response times.
The chamber is the intermediary step between the fighting stance and the kick. This is when you lift your leg off the ground with knee bent. The transition between chamber and kick is where most of the classic mistakes happen. You chamber with either the front or back leg. For the roundhouse kick, the foot left on the ground twists on a ninety degree angle. Your foot to your body should form a perfect right angle. (This is why the roundhouse kick is easy, you only shift another forty-five degrees rather than the full 180 for the sidekick.) The knee is on a similar forty-five degree, ready to extend across the body.
The upper body doesn’t move that much with the roundhouse, unlike the sidekick where the whole upper body tilts onto a forty-five as the leg extends. It tilts ever so slightly to retain balance as you kick and your hips twist.
3) The Kick
As I said before, the roundhouse strikes horizontally or diagonally across the body. It is true to its name. It comes around in a circular motion. The leg extends and swings across/through the opponent’s body as the hips simultaneously twist. When done in a simultaneous motion, the supporting foot twists to a ninety degree angle at the same moment the hips turn over. The upper body tilts with the hips. The leg swings through.
If the hips don’t turn over, then the kick is what we call a “snap kick”. In the case of the roundhouse, this is a kick than snaps up off the knee on a forty-five degree diagonal. It is fast but without power, and usually performed with the front leg only.
Power comes from the hips. You can lay in as much speed as you like, but without turnover there’s no power. (Snap kicks find their best use as openers in point sparring.)
The second problem with most kicks is visualization. You don’t stop when you reach the enemy, you kick through them. This carries the impact and force further.
The roundhouse strikes with either the top of the foot or the ball of the foot. Ball of the foot requires you pull your toes back, or else you’ll break them. Top is the speed kick (light, fast), ball is the power kick (can break ribs). Top of the foot is generally only seen in sparring exercises when your feet are protected by pads, but it’s a good option when you’re wearing shoes and your toes can’t bend.
This is the return to the chamber. After extension finishes, the leg snaps back out of danger. If your opponent doesn’t catch your leg in the moment before the full extension, they can still catch it after the fact. Quick recoil is as essential to a kick’s success as the extension. It’s also necessary to keep us from overextending.
After they’ve mastered the chamber and extension, beginners will often have difficulty with this step. It has all the same problems as the chamber, just going in the opposite direction. A good recoil is a sign of strong control over the leg.
Return to start or prepare for transition into the next kick. The leg comes down, plants itself on the floor, and the fighter is ready to either continue attacking or begin defending.
A poor plant means that you’ve now messed up your fighting stance. If the foot comes down in the wrong place, the stance becomes unbalanced. A stance that is either too wide or two shallow creates opportunities for your opponent to destabilize you and make it difficult to attack again without over extending.
Those are the steps of the roundhouse. Throw them all together and you’ve got the full kick. The roundhouse has a very specific usage in martial arts that makes it valuable. The purpose of the roundhouse is simple: it’s a kick built for striking an enemy who is also in a fighting stance.
When our bodies are turned on a diagonal our vitals are better protected than they are when we’re forward facing. It becomes difficult, or more risky for a direct forward strike to land. The roundhouse attacks in a circle, coming around from the side and on angle. It creates a new vector attack those protected vitals like the stomach.
This is why the roundhouse is a popular kick. It is simple, and effective at ghosting around the first, opening opposition. (It’s also easily blocked with both hands and legs, but that’s a story for another day.) However, this is not why Chuck Norris’ roundhouse became the stuff of legend.
Perhaps more so than the sidekick, the roundhouse is iconic in popular culture.
The roundhouse looks fantastic on film.
It has a beautiful silhouette, it’s eye catching but also easy to follow. It looks more dynamic than most of the other basic kicks, and it’s simple. An actor you’ve only got three months to train before filming can learn the basics of this kick. They won’t look great, but no one can tell. It doesn’t require the same flexibility as the more advanced kicks like the axe kick. Nor does it require the finesse, balance, or control of the sidekick. It’s the sort of kick where general audiences can’t tell if the practitioner is new or their technique sucks, and blends easily with the stunt doubles. Audiences have a difficult time telling the difference between a kick with power and a kick without power.
The roundhouse is the most common kick seen in taekwondo tournaments, and very common in kickboxing for its speed. It is faster and easier than the front kick and the sidekick due to the twist necessary to throw the leg across the body. With the roundhouse, momentum will do most of the work for you. This is why it’s the most common kick to see untrained fighters attempt to mimic, and why it gets used on the streets.
It can be effective without much training, but that person can be totally screwed when paired against someone who knows what they’re doing. Due to it’s vector, the roundhouse is the easiest kick to catch. Whether it’s caught and hooked under the arm for a knee break or the full thing gets caught and lifted into a throw, it doesn’t matter. A poorly performed or unlucky roundhouse can really screw you over. The other problem is that the circular motion of the roundhouse makes it the least camouflaged by the body and the easiest to see coming.
So, yes, the roundhouse can be combat efficient. They’re also dependent on your ability to follow through the steps on rough terrain where friction is not amenable to foot twists. They come with obvious tells for when the kick is about to happen, and there are a lot of counters developed to deal with them.
Whether coming or going, for one side or the other, the roundhouse has the potential to wreck your day.
You know, it is entirely possible that in this scene, Steve feels the hammer shift…and stops straining. Maybe he knows that yes, he is worthy of Mjolnir, but doesn’t pick it up…
Because he doesn’t want or need the power the hammer can give him. He doesn’t want to rule Asgard. Being Captain America is enough.
Or because he knows that if he picks the hammer up, his friends will never see him the same way again. Steve has always been Captain America, the protector of the weak, the voice for those who can’t speak and the leader who sees his soldiers as friends. If he could wield Mjolnir he would be known as more than that. So much more. He would be able to bring down all the wrath of Asgard if he picked it up. But more importantly, his friends would look on him in awe, rather than as besties. They could never make conversation with him in the same way. Thor has always had the hammer, always been godly and noble, but if Steve, and only Steve, could pick up the hammer then they might resent him, might think that he’s better than them, Thor most of all. It would have started the Civil War earlier.
At heart Steve has always wanted peace, which was why he enlisted in the war. He wants to be with people who trust him and support him, and at the end of the day all he really needs is some time to kick back and have a chat with his friends and relax after a long day of being Captain America.
Things he’ll never have if everyone knew he could hold Thor’s hammer.
— heavy drinking | cursing | oral sex | jimin being sleazy | hoseok being an asshole | lots of pool references | just adult things
— jimin’s the bartender, you’re the billiard hotshot who frequents his bar and challenges him to a clean game of 9-ball after hours. “see if you can make this shot with my hand down your pants” au
no offence but FLASHING LIGHTS IN MY MIND GOING BACK TO THE TIME PLAYING GAMES IN THE STREET KICKING BALLS WITH MY FEET THERE’S A NUMB IN MY TOES STANDING CLOSE TO THE EDGE THERE’S A PILE OF MY CLOTHES AT THE END OF YOUR BED AS I FEEL MYSELF FALL MAKE A JOKE OF IT ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
I’m just picturing Sansa, the Wardeness of the North, after the war for the dawn, meeting with some hostile lords or whatever to try to work something out and the whole time Arya is just casually kicked back in a chair off to the side idly juggling three razor-sharp daggers and a goddamn valeryan steel dagger.
The noblemen note that some of the daggers look familiar. They realize, with a start, that their belt knives are all missing even though they all know that they were wearing them an hour ago. Lady Stark does not seem to notice anything particularly unusual about the situation, and if pressed will simply say. “You all know my sister, the Lady Arya. I know you were introduced, and she was even wearing her own face at the time.” and then go right back into trade negotiation without another word on the subject, while Arya grins like a wolf in the background, not even looking at the knives she’s tossing.
They cave in minutes, offering the Wardeness of the North anything and everything she wants purely to get out of Winterfell and as far from the most terrifying sisters they’ve ever met as possible.
headcanon: klance fights over the blankets in bed and keith is like "oi stop stealing my blankets at night btw" and then lance is all "hey lil bitch stfu ily though"
Okay, more headcanons. I see you. Instead of just blanket stealing,
we’re going to expand this to Lance and Keith bed sharing. Fluffy
and wholesome stuff. Get your minds out of the gutter.
has does not know the concept of personal space, and will just sleep
with nearly all of his body touching Keith who surprisingly… doesn’t
Lance is a blanket hog, though, so Keith’s only actually warm if he’s near him
is also a very violent sleeper, and he’s kicked Keith multiple times
while out cold. Keith kicks back, except he’s actually awake
that end, one time Lance was moving around so much that Keith straight
up rolled him out of the bed. Lance woke up on the floor (he’s a heavy
Keith is a very light sleeper, and if
Lance wakes up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water or
something, Keith either goes with him or sits up until he comes back,
because now he’s used to sharing a bed with Lance and he can’t fall
asleep without him
Keith’s bedhead was a
wondrous discovery for Lance the first time they slept in the same room—
he thinks it’s the most adorable thing in the world
Keith responded to this compliment by stating very bluntly that Lance drools in his sleep. Lance was outraged.
Lance also talks in his sleep, and Keith snores. You can pry this one from my cold, dead hands.
Keith once messed up Lance’s face mask, and Lance was Not Happy™
Lance has stolen Keith’s lion slippers on numerous occasions (both red and black, even though he still has blue’s)
Keith still keeps his blade of marmora under his pillow. Lance learned this the hard way.
Keith gets nightmares more often than Lance, but they both do get them, and they help each other with them a lot, mostly with cuddles and soft comforting talks
Has Lance sang Keith to sleep with a lullaby before? Obviously.
Lance no longer needs to steal Pidge’s headphones to get to sleep (thank goodness, Pidge was missing those)
least once, when woken up by an alarm, they accidentally showed up in each other’s clothes. Everyone noticed, but no one mentioned it.
The number of times that Hunk has caught Lance sneaking out of Keith’s room or vice versa is too high to count