Dear Master Sang Kim,
I have been watching most of your TKD videos as well as your book on TKD Kicking, and there is something that puzzles me a lot which is the use and effectiveness of sidekick in sparring. from what i have read or noticed, sidekick is not used very often in sparring. my big question is WHY?
I see sidekick has the same kind of impact as a back kick and yet it can be executed as quick as a back kick with the advantage of keeping your opponent in sight instead of turning away and lose sight of your opponent. i often feel a lot more confident in using a sidekick rather than a back kick because i can keep my eye on my opponent and i can target far better than a back kick. from your book, it mentioned that it is difficult to score with using sidekick. why is that? by the way, i am also a big fan of Bruce Lee, and apparently Bruce Lee used a lot of sidekicks in combats and it can be an extremely powerful kick.
I am just hoping with your extreme knowledge, skills and experience with TDK, you can shed some light on the reasons of why or how sidekick is not an ideal kick in sparring. i thank you in advance for your time and effort and i look forward to your reply.
Answer from Sang H. Kim:
Sidekick is one of the most powerful and effective kicks: it is good for counterattacking (side pushing kick or stop kick) when your opponent gets into your zone; it is also good for initiative attacking when you spot the opponent's preparation to launch an attack. Side kick from a more upright posture (i.e. pushing kick) can be an excellent offensive movement when it is combined with a quick sliding step or hopping footwork (either with front foot or rear, preferably the former). In this case, it should be light and precisely aimed at the target, which is the lower stomach or the face.
So if you are good at sidekick, do not hesitate using in it. It is like any other weapon you have. Being well and wisely used, no weapon is inferior. All serve a purpose.
The only reason, in my opinion, of the reduced usage of sidekick in modern sparring is that there are rules that require trembling impact and speed. Thus, it is roundhouse kick that serves this purpose the most. It is not that anything is better than anything else. When you use side kick without transferring your weight to one leg fully as you do roundhouse kick, your side kick can be as effective and speedy as a roundhouse kick.
If you want to develop your sidekick further for the future, I would recommend working on how to minimize the weight shifting so that you do not lose the timing and necessary leverage and space in critical moment when your opponent might counter with punching, double or triple kicks, or axe kick, or spin whip kick to your head. It is a choice that you have to make in a split second. Even in that critical moment, if you can make the space and bodily adjustment for side kick, it would be fantastic.
I hope this helps you.
Sang H. Kim