Kenpo Karate

Roundhouse Kick in Kenpo Karate

The Roundhouse Kick: A Fundamental Technique in Martial Arts

As a black belt practitioner in Kenpo Karate, I’ve come to appreciate the elegance and effectiveness of the roundhouse kick—a cornerstone technique that embodies the essence of martial arts. This versatile strike is revered across various disciplines for its power, precision, and adaptability in combat scenarios.

Understanding the Roundhouse Kick

The roundhouse kick, known for its circular trajectory, involves generating force by pivoting on the supporting leg while delivering a striking blow with the attacking leg. Its versatility lies in its ability to target different areas of an opponent’s body, making it a crucial tool for both offensive and defensive maneuvers.

A perfect weapon for self-defense and sparring; requiring a certain distance to execute it.

Recommendations and Step-by-Step Execution

Mastering the roundhouse kick requires diligent practice and attention to detail. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown to refine your technique:

1. Stance and Posture:

Maintain a balanced and stable stance—feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and weight evenly distributed. A strong foundation is crucial for executing powerful kicks. Make sure you keep your hands up at all times.

2. Chambering:

Raise the knee of your striking leg towards your chest, keeping it bent at approximately 90 degrees. This “chambered” position generates the momentum needed for the kick.

3. Rotation and Extension:

Pivot on the supporting foot while simultaneously extending the leg outward in a circular motion, aiming to strike with the top or ball of the foot. Ensure that the hip and torso rotate to maximize power.

4. Recoil and Reset:

After the kick, swiftly return the striking leg to the chambered position, maintaining balance and readiness for follow-up techniques or defensive maneuvers.

Importance of Body Alignment

The effectiveness of a roundhouse kick hinges greatly on proper body alignment. Aligning your hips, shoulders, and kicking leg optimizes power and accuracy. Engage your core muscles to stabilize the body throughout the kick, preventing imbalance and enhancing control.

Keeping Hands Up and Proper Execution

An often overlooked aspect is the role of the hands in executing a roundhouse kick. Keep your hands up in a defensive position, guarding your face and torso. This not only protects you but also sets up potential strikes or blocks in case of retaliation from your opponent.

Keeping your hands up also helps you keep your balance and allows you to act on a second kick or strike properly.

Targeting Strategies

The roundhouse kick offers various target options based on the situation:

Middle Section Targets:

  • The ribcage
  • The abdomen
  • The sides (floating ribs)

Targets from the Neck and Up:

  • The head (with caution and control in practice)
  • The neck (used with extreme care due to its sensitivity)

A certain level of flexibility is required to be able to execute a kick to the head, if you are not flexible enough then you need to work on your stretching exercises otherwise you can get injured, pull a muscle, or even fall trying to kick higher.

Stretch your entire core, lower back, hips and legs. A good routine would take at least 10 minutes.


The roundhouse kick stands as a testament to the artistry and functionality of martial arts techniques. Its ability to adapt to different combat scenarios makes it an indispensable tool in a martial artist’s arsenal.

With dedication and consistent practice focusing on body alignment, hand placement, and target precision, one can master this iconic maneuver and harness its full potential in self-defense or competition.

Kenpo Karate Techniques

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Black Belt, High School Teacher, Sports Enthusiast & Coffee Lover.