On this page you can find tips for a successful martial arts career.
Watch the videos below and read their descriptions to learn more!

How to improve your kicking techniques by Johnny Kennedy

How to improve your kicking techniques by Johnny Kennedy

Learning how to kick can be one of the most rewarding and difficult tasks when beginning your martial arts training. There are several things you need to do to execute effective kicking techniques.   I have spent many years perfecting my kicking skills by researching, studying and training with some of the best kickers in the world.

During my competitive years I was well known for my blistering fast kicks which were often felt but never seen.   I would like to share with you some key points to help you on your way to fast, powerful kicks.  

1.Flexibility Is definitely an important factor when performing kicking techniques. Having a daily routine of different stretches is best focusing on dynamic stretching to start with (Leg raises) and using static stretching during and after your training.  

2.Strength Having the necessary strength in your legs and torso is another important aspect to consider. Squats, lunges, calf raises, hip twists and weight training apparatus with help in this area.  

3.High knee chamber learning how to bring the knee high into your chest before execution is very useful for disguising what kick you are going to throw, it also gives protection to your mid-section and makes kicking to the head region quicker and more efficient. A good exercise is to place both hands on a wall in front of you, then proceed in lifting the knee towards your chest area. To get the correct alignment image you have a can of coke on your shoulder and you are trying to knock it off with your knee.  

4.Hip twisting exercises this is another excellent drill to increase power and speed in your kicks. Stand in a left leg forward stance, place both feet flat on the ground and drive your right hip forwards and back start slowly then increase the speed. Sets of 30 50 reps are best and repeat on both sides. If done correctly you should feel tension and even stitch in the mid-section while doing this exercise.  

5.Conceal kick with hands Using hand techniques are a great way to confuse and/or conceal the kick from your opponent. I personally like to use my lead hand as a shield by blocking out my opponents field of vision before executing the kick. Another good method is to blast them with hands and when they cover up we can then have the time to use more advanced kicking techniques.  

6.Try to keep your body upright Depending on the rules of the tournament, many coaches/competitors have different views on this method and some like to pull their body away from the kick. I personally prefer the upright method as this enables me to kick an opponent at close range and also gives me the ability to follow-up with other techniques including, punches, kicks, throws and takedowns quickly and effectively. How I practice this skill is by using a heavy bag or training partner and the idea is to practice the kick at a longer distance to the target then progressively move closer and closer while trying to maintain and up-right position. Flexibility, high knee chamber and hip twisting exercises will help aid in achieving good results.  

7.Practice slow kicking drills this is also an excellent drill to improve strength and accuracy. Use a 10 count system starting from your left leg forward stance and executing the kick slowly with the 10th count having the kick at full extension (Hold kick for at least 10 60 seconds). Repeat 5 times on each leg. I practice this drill using the front, side and round-house kicks.  

8.Ankle weight training Using ankle supports is good if you require more resistance when performing the above slow kicking drill. Do not execute fast kicks with ankle weights as this will upset your balance and cause injuries.  

9.Bungy training This training aid is excellent for developing power and speed. Connect a bungy cord to both legs and practice your kicking techniques at medium to fast pace. Repetitions of 10 20 each leg with 3 sets.  

10.Speed kicking drills there are many different ways to practice speed kicking. My two most popular methods are using the forearm pads/kick shields and doing pyramid training (Multiple kicking of the same leg 1,2,3,4,4,3,2,1 or 1 10 10 1 or 100 kicks in a row) repeating these drills usually 3 4 sets, and my other favorite is using the flapper pads -This is a time trial exercise where you kick the pad as many times as you can in a specific time I usually start with 3 x 1 minute rounds then built up to 3 x 3 minute rounds. (30 second rest intervals)  

11.Focus pads These are used to improve timing, reaction and distancing skills when kicking. Your partner will have 2 x focus pads and both of you will be moving around like you are sparring, your partner will randomly reveal the focus pad on either hand and you have to kick the pad as quickly as you can. 3 x 3 minute rounds with 30 second rests.  

12.Heavy bag This is where you work on developing more power in your kicks. Make sure the bag is heavy enough so that when you kick it, it has little to no movement. This will help condition the striking area and give you more power in your kick. It also aids as a good work-out routine. 3 x 3 minute rounds.  

13.Repetition The secret to success practice, practice and more practice. The key to most things in life.  

Note this is a basic template on some of the methods that has given me a reputation of been one of the best kickers in the country. There are many other drills and training techniques you can use to get similar results. If you would like more information on this topic feel free to contact me on my contact us page.


Forearm pad routine

This drill is a great way to practise your basic punching and kicking techniques.

Preparing for a Black belt grading by Chrissy Thomas

We are very lucky to have this training program given to us by Chrissy Thomas from Christchurch Olympic Taekwondo who recently passed her 1st degree Black belt test.

This was the training program she followed for her build up towards her grading and would be useful to anyone wanting to have a guide to work with when  preparing to go for a belt test or tournament.

(Black belt training schedule)

MORNING TRAINING - These exercises were practised every day except Saturdays & Sundays.

6:00am - 50 push-ups, 75 press ups, 50 situps turning 6 times while going down (25 each side), Splits- 1.5 minutes, Jumping over a object 80 times, Jumping over belt as much as you can in 2 minutes without stopping, Stretching 30 bi-ceps - tri-ceps weights, Holding weights on ankle for 2 minutes, Plank position 2.5minutes, 100 squats.   


4:00pm-  Practice Poomsae (Kata)

5:30pm- Assist childrens class (take part in the exercises)

6:30pm- Take part in adult class

8:05pm- Pratice poomsae (kata) with a blck belt    


4:30pm- Practise brake falls

5:00pm- Running with Hayden

6:30pm- Tournament class

7:40pm- Practice brake falls on the mat. (Get Alan to help with advanced kicks to make them perfect)

 8:00pm- exercise bike    


4:30pm- Self defence

5:30pm- Assist childrens class (take part in the exercises)

6:30pm- Take part in adult class 8:05pm- Pratice poomsae (kata) with a blck belt    


5:00pm- Do all kicks in slow motion

6:00pm- Karate  


4:00pm- At the dojang (dojo) with grading partner, doing self defence

5:30pm- if black belt there train with them  


9:00am- Tournament class

11:15am- practice patterns (kata) and brake falls

12:00pm- run the Halswell Quarry

3:00pm- weights      


10:00am- do all kicks in slow motion

11:00am- Tournament class

12:40pm- Practice patterns (kata)

1:30pm- weights- on ankles and bi-cep tri-cep      

*Each week add 25 to all the exercises (in the amount you do) and 30 seconds to the time exercises   eg 50 sit ups would be 75 then 100 etc   Splits- 1.5 minutes would be 2minutes etc

Speed- Sprinting the length of a rugby field is a great way of improving speed.  You need a rugby field and someone with a stop watch. For round one you have to sprint the length of the rugby field there and back. You get a 20 second rest or if you have a partner it's their turn. Each round is 2.5 minutes (because that's how long Taekwondo round of sparring is including rest) After the first round you get 1.5 minutes rest. I advise to have a small drink but don't drink too much or you will get bloated and want to vomit. (speaking from experience also don't have yoghurt beforehand) Round 2 you will do the same except sprint the length of the rugby field twice (there and back is once) then 20 second rest or your partner goes. After the 2.5 minutes has ended another 1.5 minute brake. Round 3, the final round. Sprint the length of the field 3 times. *Note; if the 2.5 minutes has stopped in the middle or your round, keep going, don't stop. Your drink brake will start once you have finished you lap.    

Poomsae or Kata- I have been doing poomsae (kata) in tournaments for 2 years. The best way I have trained for this was first of all practicing them until I had all the techniques and moves correct. I would ask black belts who specialize in patterns to help. The main thing I do is practice all the stances slowly to try and get them perfect that would normally take an hour. Then I would run through the patterns. I would pick one pattern a week that I would work on. And that pattern I would do every way I could think of. With my eyes closed, backwards (starting at the end of the pattern and working my way through it) A press up or some other form of exercise in between each move, in every direction. I would also make sure that I landed in the same spot after every pattern. I have found that the easiest way to do that is have a sticker or duck tape marked somewhere. Videoing yourself is a great way to see where you are going wrong so you can improve is also good, or using a mirror to check your stances.  

Kicks- Kicking is very hard to do. It takes years to get the most basic kick right. The way I train for these are by breaking them down. First practice chambering the knee and holding it there for 30 seconds. Then after you have done that for awhile kick out and hold the kick out for 30seconds then bring the knee back in and down.  

Ground and Pound Bag work drill

If you want to get fit and improve your overall stand up skills using the grappling dummies are ideal. You can use so many techniques on them from striking to joint manipulation and chokes and strangulation techniques. In this video Johnny the Rocket Kennedy is giving a demonstration on some of the techniques you can do.