How to Perform a Karate Roundhouse Kick

Female Karate Student Doing Roundhouse Kick

AKA: Turning Kick or Power Angle Kick

As one of the three fundamental karate kicks, the roundhouse kick, also referred to as a turning kick or power kick, involves swinging the leg around in a semicircular motion; unlike the two other types of kicks – front kick and side kick.

Many different disciplines of martial arts utilize this kick, which can be thrown with either the front or back leg and executed by striking with the foot or lower shinbone. Additionally, and as with many other karate kicks, the roundhouse kick can be thrown in a variety of ways, including by changing one’s stance, movement of the leg, height of the kick, and/or striking surface.

Similarly to most karate kicks, the roundhouse kick begins by chambering the kicking leg high, followed by turning the hip and snapping the leg outward from the knee. When throwing this kick to the torso or lower body, the practitioner can strike using the top of the foot. This can help add more distance to the kick; however, when striking the head, it is often advised that the strike comes from the lower shin, as this area of the leg is much stronger. Aiming to hit your opponent with the shin rather than the top of the foot can prevent injury caused by impacting the foot, along with its numerous small bones, and the hard bone of the skull.

Video: How to Throw a Roundhouse Kick

5 Tips on How to Make Your Roundhouse Kick More Effective

1. Chamber High

When throwing a high roundhouse kick it is important to bring your kicking leg’s knee up as high as you can during chambering as this is where much of your power and accuracy will derive. When throwing a low round house kick, chambering high is not always necessary or more beneficial.

2. Develop Power

Prior to extending the kick leg, it is important for the strength of your kick that you quickly turn your hips into it. If kicking with the right rear leg, the hips will open up to the left.

3. Aim for Vital Areas

As with most strikes, the goal is to do as much damage to your opponent as possible per strike. When throwing a roundhouse kick aim for the inner thigh, outer thigh, ribcage, and head. Thigh kicks can quickly weaken your opponent, plus limit mobility and defense.

4. Mix of Low and High Kicks

When sparring (or fighting) an individual who knows how to counter a roundhouse kick, it is wise to mix up your kicks going from low to high and vice versa. Try setting up your opponent by throwing a series of low kicks, followed by faking the low kick and going high to the head.

5. Double-Up Your Kicks

As with the purpose of throwing low and high kicks, doubling or tripling up your roundhouse kick can take your opponent off guard, allowing you to execute multiple strikes or one solid strike.

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