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Yoko Geri: Side kick


Yoko Geri

Yoko Geri, the side kick ...

is in my opinion one of the hardest kicks to achieve.

Kicking the side does not seem very complicated and it's true that with a little of method and patience, we must be able to make Yoko Geri powerful without dislocating the hips.

However, often beginners very quickly feel hip pain when they make Yoko Geri, but it's simply because they want to climb the leg like Jean-Claude Vandame (Must admit that it throws! ;-) ).

Do not try to go beyond your own possibilities !!!

But surtowhat's wrong with Yoko Geriis that it is very often poorly executed: Many will try to lift the leg as high as possible on the side, but what to look for is a basin rocker and the leg showed itself (well almost ;-)).

So the first thing to learn is not to lift your leg, but to tilt your pelvis so you can lift your leg, because as long as your pelvis remains flat, you can not lift the leg is mechanical:

If one looks at the drawing opposite, one realizes that the femur is limited in these movements of adduction and abduction by the small and the great Trochanter.

To make YoKo Geri, the elevation of the leg on the side will be limited, by this kind of stop that is the great Trochanter.

So we'll have to tilt the pelvis so that the Iliac bone rises and thus allows the leg to rise higher on the side.

Okay, maybe you will not succeed in doing Yoko Geri Jodan if you really lack flexibility, but that's not the point.

Yoko geri is a kick that is anyway rather aimed at the Gedan or Chudan level. However as in some basic Kata like Heian Nidan we are asked for Yoko Geri Jodanit is better to try to approach it.

As Mae Geri, Yoko Geri is a kick that can be

  • Penetrating: Yoko Geri Kékomi
  • whipped: Yoko Geri Keage

Yoko Geri can be given with various parts of the foot:

  • the external edge of the foot: Sokuto
  • the heel : Kakato
  • the top of the foot: Haisoku

Detailed and biomechanical analysis of Yoko Geri:

We will begin by analyzing the penetrating version: Yoko Geri Kékomi.

Comme Yoko Geri is a side kick, the first thing to do is to position yourself side by side with your opponent. I let you choose the combat strategy that will allow you to position yourself aside because this is not the purpose of this article.

Why do not you raise your leg in front of you:

As Mae Geriyou are often told, you must first raise your leg in front of you. Well ... it's necessary, it's even dangerous!

Indeed, often, one decomposes to wrongly Yoko Geri thus: Lift knee, rocking the pelvis, then stretch your leg.

However, raising your knee in front of you, will work excessively your Psoas-Illiac (internal muscle of the groin) and create tension on the lumbar vertebrae and certainly you require a retroversion of the pelvis (rocking backwards) while the pool should not rock back and forth, but only laterally (one hip rises relative to the other).

By raising your leg in front of you your pelvis will have a retroversion movement, then anteversion at the time of stretching the leg, very harmful for your lumbar.

Description of Yoko Geri:

Yoko Geri armyIn fact, you must first tilt your pelvis laterally while raising the leg as high as possible, the foot parallel to the ground and perpendicular to the opponent.

This seesaw actually goes from the belly: you contract the abs (oblique) and gluteal of the support leg and tilt very quickly your pelvis. Your hip will rise and the leg will rise at the same time on the side while remaining as clustered as possible like a spring that we compress.

To help you tilt your pond, consider lifting your buttock the highest possible

Then the energy will again come out of the hara by contraction of the transverse and the pelvic floor to come at once in the leg leg which strikes, which will stretch, but also in the leg of support forming at the moment of impact a solid and connected set.

As I explained to you in the study of Kiba Dachiyou must keep your feet as parallel as possible in order to generate a force laterally.

Do not open your knees either. You must maintain pressure in the adductors to maintain a connection between the two legs.

The supporting leg, like the striker's leg, must remain slightly bent in order to keep the kneecaps well in their place. (I already explained this principle in the study of Kokutsu Dachi.)

Opening the knees is a mistake that is common in those who have not tilted the pelvis enough. So, to raise the leg, they turn a little face the opponent and make a kind of Mae Geri.

We also meet the opposite phenomenon. Some turn the other way to finally present their buttocks to the opponent and eventually make a kind of Ushiro Geri.

But these two ways of doing things, even if they can be powerful kicks, are not anymore with Yoko Geri.

We just saw Yoko Geri Kekomi, where the trajectory of the foot will initially have a vertical component, then a more or less horizontal component to penetrate the target.

For Yoko Geri Keage, the foot will describe a straight trajectory from the ground to the target (slightly curvilinear, in fact.). All done in one and the same time: the pelvic tilt with elevation of the leg and extension of the leg. The force comes from the center towards the target, a little like the energy that spreads along a whip. The foot will do the shortest way (diagonally) to come whip (and no longer penetrate) the target.
Imagine your pool as the handle of the whip, the quick rocker of the pool, will generate as a wave that spreads in the leg to the foot as if it were a whip to finish in the foot at the time of the 'impact.

Then as for all foot techniques, you must bring your foot as quickly as possible by doing the opposite.

The energy must also come from the center of the body: You bring back your hip quickly which will "pull" your leg towards you.

That's it, I hope my description of Yoko Geri was clear (and net ;-)).

I now propose to put on your Kimono and, after your warm-ups that you will do thanks to my book « The ABC of warm-ups", We find ourselves for a training on Yoko-Geri. We will see in particular how the rocking of the hip is important when one makes two Yoko-Geri immediately from the same leg. Good training.

>>> Download the video

I sincerely hope that this video on Yoko Geri you were pleased.
Tell me what you think about it in a comment and do not hesitate to ask questions, I will answer you with great pleasure.

A tip: tomorrow or tomorrow ... do stretching to release the hips 😉

See you soon,

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  1. Congratulations for the advice ... .The official version is more difficult to do than the natural (less bring back) .... but still taught.For the end I do more with the hip and it's a little ushiro. Indeed, in this way the leg is positioned in the way that it grows all day, supports us and is planned for ... There are techniques like Feldenkrais or Alexander that make appear the following phenomenon: a specialist asks someone one to stand straight and objectively he is ... awkward ... The idea that one has of his movements is not objective and sensei or not the idea that one is of the movement is not what that we do. For example, kokutsu those who tell you the weight should be on the leg (70%) are often themselves, in the middle of the gap and not on the back ... In my opinion, the body places itself what's best for him ... To return to the subject, it's true that going backwards does not make sense ... But what to do well or what is approved?

  2. Hello Mr. Bandelier Bruno, karate sensei of the net.

    It's been a few months since I registered on your blog. Debutant the white belt will be for the return (I know what is required for it) I work. I had a lot of trouble and could not reconcile running with karate. Because after a trail of 10km (beginner), I wanted to follow a plan to continue to run and win over time, and that until I can not do any stretching correct (I could no longer flex). A real piece of wood even in stretching, Obligate me to stop 1mois. The good thing is that 60cm of leg lift (mae geri) now totally relaxed I raise to 1m10 for a size of 1m63. I'm happy but I feel like I have sacrificed my running to progress on my disposition for karate.

    It's not very humble to say but I have nothing more of a warrior I rather feel like playing the dancers. And I galley on yoko geri I push the pelvis I raise the leg 90cm, it redescent maintained 70cm soil (with pain). I hold it to make it go down by tilting my pelvis in the opposite direction. it works, it's just not aesthetic and painful.

    Other: FCM 194, VMA 11,5 km / h Average speed 9Km / h.

    So much for sharing. Now, I'm looking for specific exercises for Yoko geri. I hope an answer thank you very much for this blog.

    • Hello Yann,

      From what I understand you found yourself very stiff after running training. Know that in running, or any other sport (cycling, swimming ...) you must do stretching sessions. It's just as important as karate. To develop more power and progress, the body and muscles need flexibility, even running. In fact after your trail, you should have rested, no longer do split during 1 or 2 weeks and do some stretching (light) then resume slowly.

      When to karate, do not take too much head with measures and cm. Train, enjoy yourself and progress will come in the long run.
      To reconcile the two, as long as the workload is limited, it's okay but it's sure that when you prepare a competition (Trail or other) you must reduce the training load of the other discipline so as not to fall into over-training.

      And above all: listen to your body!


    • For the yoko geri, which was initially a simple kick on the side "normal" (yoko = side), do it without problem implies that the muscles are used to doing it. Learning techniques is often training to do what the body is not used to doing and it comes with time. For example, lifting the leg is done more or less every day, however, lift the leg on the side more rarely.

  3. This is the first video I watch on this site and it is very rewarding.
    The site is really well done, videos and their explanations are ideal to correct its defects and therefore improve.
    We find through Bruno Bandelier a spirit of sharing that conveys a very positive image of the disciple of Karate.

    Thank you and congratulations to him.

  4. Hello,

    This kick is my pet peeve since 2 weeks.
    I'm learning another martial art: Nippon Kempo. There are among others karate movements.
    And my concern is not to know how to lift the leg more than 45 degrees (due to the bike and mountain bike?) And it ends regularly in Mae Geri.

    To progress effectively and know how to lift the leg at about 90 degrees, should you practice stretching every day? 30 seconds to 1 minutes per exercise?
    Thanks for the advice of the hips, I understand the problem better. My instructor also speaks a lot about the technique of fists.

    Good continuation,


  5. Bruno,
    I thank you for asking my opinion on yoko geri, and I will try to be concise but it will be a little hard!

    Before answering on yoko geri, I come back to your video (which I took the time to see) on the use of the spine for oi-zuki because my previous answer was based only on your writing.

    But fast, your body goes straight on a very short distance  then you put your shoulder in AR to execute your final rotation (it is perhaps imperceptible but ..).
    I think it is a certain tension of the shoulder at the start = try to go off to synchronize well, you will feel better.
    Just a small note on the twist: qd you slowly show = OK

    On yoko geri so:
    your written comments are very good

    for your video, here are my thoughts (in bulk, because I do not have too much time, excuse me):
    - try to push the jb of the ground support well and flex it well by positioning your knee in line with the big toe which must be "very" slightly inside thanks to the compressed hara to maxi to connect the bottom and the upper body + add the internal energy of the bust (see my comment a few days ago) to increase the pressure on the ground + sacrum to the AR = the jbe bateuse will get up and go alone.
    By adding all these energetic elements you will have a strange feeling of power; of well-being ; stability; of comfort and your kick will be really ... aphrodisiac! it may not be obvious like that but ESSAYE.

    - OK with you on the yoko startup process; indeed, why raise the front jbe while we hit on the side (loss of power and speed, ground support + fragile because of these two absurd directions AND back "lumbar particular" does not appreciate at all )

    It is true that at the time, and for beginners, we were taught this way, but more to feel certain muscular mechanisms, joint and movement psychology to integrate ... but inapplicable in combat of course; so maybe learn in education but to forget very quickly then!

    - kekomi: the striking jbe must be well tensioned anyway, because, it is necessary to exploit all the energetic parameters evoked above to send the jbe with the maximum of power towards the adv; so jbe well tense, but not too much not to fall into the trap of AV imbalance  find the right center of gravity and make the balance compromise between tense jbe (lengthen the hip to the adv) and jbe support that must absolutely be very strong (already mentioned above).

    - Your demo in kiba dachi shows that your kick goes slightly upwards  because you do not push your hips enough to adv; the fact of crashing on the ground with a good thrust of the hips irreparably prevents the phenomenon of keage.

    - From the front, it is necessary to avoid the movement in two stages, ie I first turn my hip and I unfold the jbe = lack of power (since the hip is already turned) and speed (since the jbe / knee are not in the right direction), try  I climb in front of "almost" as mae geri and simultaneously I hold the jbe turning = translation + rotation. You'll tell me news!

    I INSIST once again that it is not the jbe that commands, because it drives your body but it just follows; it is not the body that gives power.

    When I speak of the bust, it is not the external form of it but the inner form of it that must be under pressure (like a pressure cooker), in fact our body must be heavy and light at the same time It's not easy to feel !!! it's as if the inside of our bust is filled with heavy concrete and the outside of our body remains light as a feather. It is a very strange feeling but what elevation happiness! It feels even more on the techniques of fists, which is a little normal.
    Too bad I can not do video because, as you say better a movie than great speeches

    Hey, I swear I tried to be as short as possible (because of some abbreviated words)
    Congratulations! what investment from you!
    I wish you a happy holiday and a good kime 2013

  6. hello, small message to raise the pedagogical work, great support to refine his technique and rework in the right and without injury.
    thank you for sharing your passion
    friends budo charles

  7. Hello,

    For two months, I am an old beginner (senior). I find your explanations very clear and thank you for your daily commitment here. As for the yoko geri, raising the leg is science fiction. I try to lift my butt as you advise, my opponent has nothing to fear from this side. No force or height in the movement. In addition, I lean to the side where I will fall! Since I have no height, I bend my support leg too much and tilt my shoulders. In short it is very complicated. Especially since former cyclist I had some fractures and am as flexible as a lamp glass. What do you recommend: bag, pao or other. I have the impression that movement in a vacuum brings nothing because we lack references. Thank you in advance for your pros advice.


    • Hello,
      A former cyclist! Have! I think I have rarely seen anyone so soft.
      This is the big problem for cyclists who just ride a bike because they get on the bike, they pedal and at the end, they get off the bike without thinking about stretching.
      In addition, by bike we only work online and suddenly to open the hips it's not sad.
      I had the chance to mix, Triathlon and Karate, so I did not have these problems.

      Good nothing is lost but I think it's not just a question of flexibility, but also bodybuilding that prevents you from lifting your leg to the side.
      For the balance, it is necessary that the force which goes down in your leg of support is vertical, and so that your center of gravity remains above your foot of support.

      I do not know if it's better a bag or pao ... but what you need is really training to hit with the idea of ​​keeping your body above your foot support (You must feel the also strike in your foot of support). I think you already have to train to do the movements gently to find your balance and gain muscle. And of course stretching to free your hips.

      Good luck,

      • hi bruno for cyclists it's 30 years ago that I am and on 50 I know 40 able to make the big difference in the face .. look well the videos of peter sagan..lui in flexibility and force he beats us both reunis..besos

  8. hi bruno

    thank you for the video of yoko geri it's a pleasure I'm contant
    I knew this blog fat youtube site: I learned the following techniques: mawashi geri, yoko geri, mae-geri ... ect
    and it's fat to you thank you I'm waiting for your new thank you very early

  9. Sensei, I wanted to congratulate you for your work, the yoko geri is here well explained which allows a good understanding. I'm looking forward to the videos on the upper kata to further deepen my technique

    • Hello Bujinkan,
      I am not Sensei, just a little teacher. Just call me Bruno, thank you.
      In any case, thank you for your compliments. For the higher kata, it will be necessary to wait a little.

  10. Thank you for this video, your yoko geri allowed me to assom my worst enemy I follow you grateful, very effective the pass of hip thank you!

  11. Hello Bruno, Your course really Yoko Geri! it is perfect and pleasant to follow. Thank you again, because your blog allows me to train at home, especially at this time there is no course at the Dojo during the holidays. a +

  12. Good evening I am recently registered and I find your blog
    very interesting and above all very well explain!
    I went back to karate 2 months ago and to remember
    all your articles are very useful to me !!

  13. Hello bruno
    For black belt, if you are not very powerful, or you feel less fast, or to better break down, once the arming of the leg finished, very very quickly put the corresponding hand on this leg, (more towards knees) and push by helping you with your hand (or 2 hands) that grows at the same time as the hip thrust while exhaling.

    • I did not have the reflex to lift the hip, which caused me pain after a number of repetitions, which were put on the back of my very small flexibility, but now they have disappeared
      Thank you.

      • Hello Khan,
        I'm happy because your comment corresponds to what I'm trying to explain:
        I find that there is too much emphasis on lifting the knee in front of and not on the hip rocker and you end up having abnormal pain.
        Nice to have helped you.

  14. Good evening Bruno,
    Very interesting to review the biomechanics of "Yoko Geri", this "Keri Waza" especially "Keage", is indeed very technical: Rooting, rocking of the pelvic bone, and relaxation require work.
    When trying to aim too high it is certainly very aesthetic, but not necessarily the most effective.
    Thank you for this article, good Sunday, and good luck, friendships. Mark

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