Today’s class covers another iconic kick in Shaolin Kung Fu seen frequently in forms and combinations training. The Slap Kick and its variation, the Jumping Slap Kick, are multifaceted movements with a wide range of benefits and uses. These include:
Coordinational skills. Although today’s class shows a single variation of the Slap Kick, where the left hand slaps the left foot and the right hand slaps the right foot, the kick can also be performed with the opposite hand and foot (the left hand slapping the right foot and the right hand slapping the left foot). These variations help train both sides of the brain and develop superb coordination and body awareness.
Practicing the leg motion of the Slap Kick slowly can help warm up and strengthen the knee joints. This motion is also an excellent recovery exercise if you have knee pain or a knee injury, although it should not be performed in the immediate time following an injury before the injury has begun to heal properly.
The extension and contraction of the knee joint is a motion which is invaluable in many sports, especially ones such as martial arts and football. Training this motion will help develop multi-disciplinary transferable skills which can aid in most sporting activities.
As with the kicks in the previous class, the motion used during a Slap Kick is also highly useful in helping to tone up the legs and core and lose excess fat, whilst it also helps improve circulation and the health of your joints.
Why Do We Slap The Foot in Kung Fu?
Slapping the foot during a kick is a unique Kung Fu characteristic which is practiced for the following purposes:
In combat application, the “slapping” hand can be used as a jab at the opponent’s eyes, covering their vision to disguise the lower kick to areas such as the groin.
Slapping the foot ensures the body’s posture and alignment are correct during the duration of the kick, preventing the practitioner from leaning backwards, twisting the hips or pushing the hips forward during the kick. If these requirements are not met, the hand will not be able to reach the foot during the slap. This ensures stability and control in the kick.
Slapping the foot also emphasizes full-body movement. During Kung Fu training, it’s important that the whole body is utilized in the movement rather than just a single isolated limb such as an arm or leg. Slapping the foot ensures that the full body is coordinated and involved in the movement, giving the movement a greater depth of complexity and application versatility.
The ideal when performing Slap Kicks is to hit the foot as it reaches the apex of the kick; however, if you lack the strength or flexibility to lift your leg up to the required height, try hitting your shin instead.
Once you are able to perform the movements from today's class, try following the below plan:
20 Slap Kicks
20 Jumping Slap Kicks
Then rest and repeat as many times as desired. Good luck!