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Circular Kicking: How to Crescent, Wheel and Tornado Kick

Standard and Spinning Circular Kicks: Power Demonstration at the End


By David Younglove

Let's go over some kicking techniques that are going use your leg in a circular motion known in . For these types of kicks, striking surface is usually in the sides of the foot.

How to do a wheel kick


The wheel kick is done with your back leg. You'll bring the back leg forward, crossing in front of your front foot briefly on the way up for an arcing circle. Keep the leg straight as you come across and through the target. Imagine you are bringing that leg over a person or chair in front of you and hit your target with the outside edge of your foot while it travels parallel to the mat at the top of the circle.

How to do a spinning wheel kick


For a spinning wheel kick, take your back foot and cross it behind your front foot, staying on the balls of your feet to start. Look towards your back hand and rotate around, unwinding until your back foot is positioned crossed in front of the other foot just like when you began the basic wheel kick. Then finish the kick just as you did the basic wheel kick, making sure to keep your toes up. Work your way into completing these steps all in one motion.

The centrifugal force of your body spinning will generate about 4 times as much energy out of the same striking surface.

How to do a jumping crescent kick


A crescent kick starts with you picking your front knee up. Jump off of your back leg which turns into your kicking leg. Once you jump make a circular motion with the back leg, starting low and away from your body and then coming back front of your body at the top of the circle. You'll be striking with the inside of the foot.

Beginners may want to just practice lifting the front knee and then hop-switching to the other foot. Then bring the leg across for a crescent kick.

How to do a tornado kick


When you had a back spin to your jumping crescent kick, it becomes a tornado kick. Turn your body to the back. Pick up your back knee and continue spinning toward that back leg. As on complete the circle, jump off of what began as your front leg and complete a crescent kick, landing on what began as your back foot. That's a tornado kick.


David Younglove
USA Karate & Platinum Yoga
Rosemount MN
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