Crescent Kick

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The Crescent kick is a circular attack that strikes with the inner or outer edge of the foot

The crescent kick comes from a variety of traditional martial arts and is one of the most mechanically simple kicking techniques you can learn. It is designed primarily as a head kick for use in close-range. While not as powerful or versatile as a roundhouse kick, the crescent can strike the opponent’s head at a closer range than roundhouse kicks. There are two main variants of the crescent kick: Outside-to-Inside (which we’ll shorten to “Outside Crescent”), and Inside-to-Outside (which we’ll shorten to “Inside Crescent”). Another benefit the crescent kick has over the roundhouse is that it generally requires less flexibility to use effectively.

How to Crescent Kick (Outside)

Outside Crescent kicks can be thrown from both squared and side stances, with either the lead or rear legs. They can be thrown with a slight chamber on the way up in order to speed up the technique at the cost of power. You can also vary an outside crescent kick’s starting footwork to either increase the speed or power in the technique. For now we’ll start in a squared stance with a middle guard using the rear leg.

To strike with an outside crescent kick, knife-edge your foot by rotating it inward. This will help stabilize your ankle joint. Make sure your toes are pointing straight up toward the sky during the technique. You should be striking your target with your lower shin, or, the inside edge or bottom of your heel. You can also strike using the inside of your upper instep for increased range. 

Knife-edging the foot inward braces the ankle joint and maximizes impact of the strike

For this variation, begin by taking a small outward step with your lead foot, and pre-rotate your heel slightly inward while keeping it raised off of the ground. This will give you better balance during the kick and help prevent you from twisting and injuring your knee joint.

Next, lift your rear knee up about 45 degrees outward while keeping the shin of your kicking leg perfectly vertical. Allow your kicking leg to chamber itself naturally as you raise your knee. As you do this, be sure to shift your bodyweight over your supporting leg to prevent losing your balance.

As you extend your leg and swing your kick across your center line in a sweeping motion, lean you torso slightly away from your target and shift your kicking hip slightly forward. This will give you more reach and allow you to kick higher with less flexibility needed. As you swing your leg through your target, try to remain on the ball of your supporting foot as you rotate through the strike. This will allow your kick to freely pass through the target, as well as help prevent a twisting knee injury. Strike with your shin, instep or heel.

When striking with your lower shin: to ensure your bone strikes the target and not your calf muscle, try rotating your kicking leg slightly inward just as you make contact. The will better align the hard part of your shin with the target.

How to Inside Crescent Kick

Inside Crescent kicks can be thrown from both squared and side stances, with either the lead or rear legs. They can be thrown with a slight chamber on the way up in order to speed up the technique at the cost of power. You can also vary an inside crescent kick’s starting footwork to either increase the speed or power in the technique. For now we’ll start in a squared stance with a middle guard using the rear leg.

To strike with an inside crescent kick, knife-edge your foot by rotating it inward. This will help stabilize your ankle joint. Make sure your toes are pointing straight up toward the sky during the technique. For the most effective delivery of force, you should be striking your target with the outside knife-edge of your heel, or the bottom of your heel. 

For this variation, begin by taking a small step forward with your lead leg. Then, raise your rear knee in front of you about 45 degree to your inside. Keep your shin vertical and allow your kicking leg to chamber itself naturally as you raise your knee. As you do this, be sure to shift your bodyweight over your supporting leg to prevent losing your balance.

After your bent knee has crossed your center line, extend your leg upward and swing the kick in a circular sweeping motion. Strike your target with the knife-edge of your heel, or the bottom of your heel.

As your you swing your leg and pull your kick across and through your target, try to remain on the ball of your supporting foot. This will allow your kick to freely pass through the target, as well as help prevent a twisting knee injury.

Common mistakes for the Crescent Kick

Failing to fully extend the kicking leg before impact. While you can still have an effective kick with a bent knee, the more your leg is extended at impact the more forceful the strike will be.

Striking the target with the calf muscle instead of with bone. Make sure your shin, instep or heel is properly aligned so they deliver the bulk of the kick’s impact.

Drills and Exercises for the Hook Kick

Practice your crescent, hook, and axe kicks in Lesson 16 of Shane’s Hybrid Striking Course

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