The Roundhouse Kick

The Roundhouse Kick is a martial arts move in which the attacker swings his/her leg around in a circular motion, and strikes with the leg or foot. It has been used for centuries to win battles, cure diseases, and beat Goro in Mortal Kombat.

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Just The Facts

  1. When properly used, the roundhouse is a highly devastating martial arts move.
  2. There are several different variations based on stance, rotation, height of kick, and so on.
  3. Wikipedia's "Roundhouse Kick" page is lackluster at best.

Roundhouse Variations

There are many different styles of roundhouse kicks, each one being specially designed to bring forth a different flavor of hell unto the victim. The version the fighter chooses is entirely based on stance, surroundings, position of opponant, and degree of embarrassment they wish to inflict. Let's take a look at some of the more popular variations:

  • Side-angle Roundhouse Kick

Cracked not responsible for shattered monitors

The Side-angle is probably the most famous of roundhouse kicks, due to its ubiquitous use in Mixed Martial Arts competitions (like UFC). We ask you to ignore the initial thoughts of shiny, overly-tight Affliction T-shirts, and focus on Sir Van Damme up there. You can really appreciate the kick's magnificence.

The kick is executed by rotating the body, raising the leg, and using the top part of the foot to strike. It varies in height (being either high, mid-level, or low) and has been said to feel like being hit with a baseball bat. Others have gone on to describe it as "a very painful and effective maneuver" and "ouch, ouch holy shit my fucking face".

  • Reverse Roundhouse Kick

R.I.P. martial arts demonstration extra #5

The Reverse Roudhouse kick, also known as the "Life-ending Cranium-crasher", is executed by fully rotating the body, bringing your leg up from around your back, and striking with the heel. It is the most powerful roundhouse because the kicker creates bounteous torque by rotating more, then connecting with the hardest part of the foot.

Because of its flashy appeal and overall raw awesomeness, this is the kick seen most in movies and television. This, in turn, leads to highly impressionable youngsters practicing the kick over and over in their parents den, only to be eventually grounded for breaking my Mom's lamp.

  • Leg Sweep

NOTE: Overuse of this move can yield embarrassing results

Otherwise known as the "Groundhouse Kick" (probably), the leg sweep is a low attack performed only by bastards. Whether it's Karate Kid's antagonist Johnny, or your asshole friend in the early Mortal Kombat games, leg sweeps have always been synonymous with cheating. Which I find odd, because, have you ever tried one? They almost never work. And this is coming from a guy who gets in weekly back-alley, denim-heavy brawls with goons.

To execute a leg sweep, fully rotate the body (like the in the Reverse Roundhouse) while entering a crouching position. Extend your leg as you bring it around, and contact the back of your opponent's legs, with the back of yours.

Seriously in those Mortal Kombat games, if they landed one leg sweep, they could do like 5 more in succession and there's nothing you could do about it. Unbelievable.

Closing Notes

To most people, a roundhouse kick is just a flashy move seen only in movies and on TV. But those who have received one, if they could talk, would say it is the most powerful and elegant martial arts move in the business. The business of Ass Kicking.

When executed correctly, this move is unstoppable. That's why it's only natural for one to wonder what might happen if two great martial artists landed roundhouse kicks on each other, at the exact same time. We've done the research, and the results are pictured below.

You've been warned.