Fundamentals of High Performance Wushu

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High Performance Wushu

Issue No. 5| January 17th, 2008


Why can't I spin far on my Standing Jump Outside?
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Why can't I spin far on my Standing Jump Outside?

(FHPW p. 97)

It is important to realize that the Standing Jump Outside kick is very different from the jumping spin hook/back/side kicks in many other martial arts. In those kicks, the kicking leg needs to swing out to the side and/or back to be properly executed. After the kick is completed, much of the rotational energy is dissipated as it was used in maximizing the power of the kick. For the Standing Jump Outside kick in Wushu, the technique does not finish after the delivery of the kick. You still need to rotate as far as you can afterwards. Therefore, you need to make sure that you conserve your rotational energy during the kick. This is a very common problem that beginners have when they first learn the technique. For more advanced practitioners, focusing on this aspect will help maximize the amount of rotation.

When first learning the kick, novices tend to kick their right leg up and then out, like they would in the basic outside kick done on the ground. This is incorrect and it's easy to see why this is a common error. It is intuitive to try to increase rotation by swinging a body part in the direction you want to rotate. However, doing so disconnects your upper body from the lower body, making the two parts rotate at different speeds. Before you know it, one part is dragging the other part back (i.e. the upper body lags the legs/lower body), and you lose rotation. Another reason why people do it is to get their feet into the landing orientation faster. I have seen this mistake very often. People end up kicking and then twisting their lower body and while bringing their legs down as fast they can, aiming to get their feet down to the desired landing orientation as best as they can. While some people manage to land the technique, it is far from looking smooth and effortless. As mentioned earlier, the upper body and lower body look disjointed. As a result, when the feet touch the ground, the upper body is still rotating, making the landing look less than solid (doesn't have that "stick the landing" look). In addition, by focusing on the kick and rotation too much, people often forget to focus on jumping. The result is a less than maximal jump effort, which makes it even more difficult to achieve the desired amount of rotation.

So, how should the kick go?

Similar to the concept in the Jump Inside kick, the key is to kick the right leg straight up and straight back down, as fast as you can (FHPW p. 99-100). This will help keep the upper and lower body synchronized and achieve optimal spin position. If you find your upper body leading the lower body a bit, you can snap the R hip back a bit after the kick impact. Be sure not to snap the hip back so far that it leads the R shoulder though. As usual, you should focus on jumping as high as you can. Since you start from a standing position, you’ll have to generate rotational energy at the same time you jump. This is another tricky part of the technique and requires some experimentation. (FHPW p. 98-99)

Master these concepts and you’ll find yourself rotating farther and more easily than before. To learn about the rest of the concepts and techniques to maximize your performance, be sure to read “Fundamentals of High Performance Wushu: Taolu Jumps and Spins”.

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