We will present Basic Kung Fu Techniques with great impact on your Kung Fu skills development. In this post we will talk about one Basic Kung Fu Technique called Zheng Ti Tui (正 踢腿 – front kick). Each week we will post a new technique and key areas of help.

Front kick or front stretch kick it is the base of almost every kick you will learn and practice. It is very beneficial in the following areas:

  1. Flexibility: The name of ‘stretch’ indicates the fact that you can use it for improving your flexibility. This is fundamental in Kung Fu practice.
  2. Mobility: relax the antagonist of the active muscles for a specific technique.
  3. Posture: When you practice the kick you must keep your body straight and your eyes look forward. The shoulders are relaxed.
  4. Core Strength: There is a strong emphasis on having a strong mid-section, especially with the lower abs that brings up the leg.
  5. Relaxation: The more relaxed you are, the faster your kick. It teaches the importance of relaxation for developing speed.

How you will do this kick?

To start with you must keep both feet together. The body is straight and he stomach tucked in. The head is raised with the neck elongated and the chin is a bit pulled in.

During this exercise make sure you keep both arms extended (stretched) on sides and the palms are on the 90 degrees raised up. Your fingers are together in a Kung Fu palm and pointing upwards. The base of the thumb is slightly rotated downwards.

When you practice this kick, you must keep your knees straight. Take a step and kick your straight leg as high as possible. Preferable toes touching forehead but do not worry too much about this aspect. As your practice continues, you will be able to reach your goal. The foot which is on the ground will not rise to help you lift the other leg higher.

When your leg goes down, your feet will touch the ground with the tip of the foot.

From anatomical point of view, during this exercise will be activated the following muscle groups: Calves muscle (Gastrocnemius), Quadriceps (from the straight leg), Internal hip flexors, iliopsoas, External Oblique, Rhomboids, Infraspinatus and teres minor but also the Latissimus dorsi, Triceps, Pronator teres, Erector spinae but also the quadratus lumborum and many more.

Tips from Shifu Shi Yan Jun for your practice

When you practice this kick focus on the correct technique first. Many students focus on bringing the leg higher but this skill will come in time.

You can improve your flexibility by stretching daily. In the Academy we stretch everyday, two times per day. Once per week we do power stretching. During the hot season you will notice that you will improve much faster. Another tip is if you live in a cold climate: you can go to a dry or wet sauna and practice your stretching.

Ideally you should practice the kick for about 100 times per day. Beginners will start from 10 and increase each week.

And do not forget Bruce Lee quote: “I do not fear the man who did 10 000 kicks once. I fear the man who did one kick 10 000 times!”. This quote hides a lot of truth from the Kung Fu training practice.

Dr. Rhea Du

Dr. Rhea Du

International Shaolin Cultural Exchange Ambassador of Shaolin Temple Yunnan