Despite its power, the side kick can be a difficult technique to master, and a difficult one to land on a moving opponent. Because it uses the length of the leg, it usually needs to be fired from a given distance from your opponent, so as not to jam yourself. This is a drawback though, because it increases the reaction time your opponent has to deal with the kick. To throw a powerful side kick requires proper alignment of the hips and lower body, and this can lead to a more sideways stance in relation to your opponent, similar to what you see in Olympic Taekwondo. The drawback with that outside of Olympic Taekwondo is the vulnerability to takedowns, sweeps, as well as being kicked in the lead leg.
These issues can be avoided through proper footwork and cover. The method below is one taught to me by my sifu, Harinder Singh, and one that my own fighters have employed in Leitai and Sanshou. If you have not read my article on developing your jab, I would suggest going back and reading it, as I will be referring to concepts relayed there.
For this combination, we are not going to be initiating the side kick from long range. As mentioned above, this increases the reaction time our opponent has. Side kicks at long range are best used as counters against rushing opponents. We’re going to be using this side kick after entering on our opponent and coming in to boxing range.
It is important to note that this kick is not the same as a long distance sliding side kick thrown from outside kicking range. Your jab is not just a flick out to distract your opponent from a range where you couldn't hit them with a punch if you wanted to. It must be an actual jab with your footwork bringing you into boxing range. If you have used repeater jabs, other striking combos, and circling footwork as your set-up, your opponent will not see your side kick slip under their guard.
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