List of Martial Arts Kicks


There are many types of martial arts, from karate and tae kwon do to kung fu and hapkido. Many of the striking moves, punches and kicks overlap, so martial artists often will use a combination of forms. This list explains the common and most noted kicks in martial arts.

Side Kick

  • The side kick is one of the first kicks learned in martial arts and one of the easiest to do. From a guarded position, turn your body sideways aiming toward your target. Slowly lift your front knee, kicking the leg out to the side. Adjust the power and speed of the kick to fend off an opponent.

Front Kick

  • The front kick, or front snap kick, is another introductory kick used to prepare a martial artist to land additional kicks and punches. From a guarded position, raise a knee while aiming at your target. Straighten the leg in a snapping motion to kick your target with the ball of your foot. Once you have kicked the target, retract the leg quickly.

Roundhouse Kick

  • The roundhouse kick, made famous by actors Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme, is another martial arts attack. From a guarded position, raise your arms. Spin your body from the waist swiftly toward your opponent. Extend one leg, kicking your opponent in a circular motion. Bring your leg down quickly to the guarded stance.

Crescent Kick

  • The crescent and reverse crescent kicks are used to defend. From the guarded position, raise your left knee and kick the foot in a clockwise motion to hit your target with the inside of your foot. When using your right foot, you will do the same thing but move your foot counterclockwise. The reverse crescent is where the left foot moves counterclockwise. This kick takes speed and momentum to perform it properly and rarely is used to strike the body.

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