Fix Your Spinning Back Kick and Turning Side Kick

The spinning back kick is one of the most powerful strikes in the martial arts… but only if you throw it correctly!

In this video, I share one simple tip to help make your spinning back kick the best it can be.

You can either play the video or read a summary below.  Then go practice! 🙂

How to Fix Your Spinning Back Kick

Let me start by saying that different styles use different names for the same techniques. I made a video called, Side Kick Tips for Power and Balance, and some people commented that my side kick was really a back kick.

Whatever. I really don’t care what you call these kicks, I just want to help you throw them. So, let’s get to it!

For me, a back kick means that my back is facing my opponent.

  • Shoulders squared up with opposite wall
  • Toes turned 180 degrees away from target
  • Strike with heel
  • Toes point straight down
Spinning Back Kick set up

Back to the target.

Once your toes turn beyond 180 degrees, the kick becomes a side kick. Which brings us to the biggest mistake people make when throwing the spinning back kick… spinning too far!

But don’t worry… there’s an easy way to fix that. Here’s your tip—

Spot your target with one eye, not two.

It’s natural to want to take a good look at what you’re kicking. As a result, when you spin around, you turn your head too far!

The more you turn your head, the more you turn your spine, your hip, and your feet. When you turn too far, you end up throwing a turning side kick instead of a spinning back kick.

Spinning Back Kick Spotting

Spot with the corner of one eye.

It’s just not possible to turn your head all the way around to spot your opponent with both eyes while your feet are pointing the other direction. If you can, wow! You’re very flexible. Or a zombie.

That’s why when I throw a spinning back kick, I only spot the target with one eye. Not even my whole eye—the corner of one eye!

I spin… and as soon as I can see the target out of the corner of my leading eye, that’s when I throw the kick. If I keep turning and spot the target with one whole eye or both eyes, then I know it’s going to be a side kick.

Yes, these are both great kicks, but if you want to throw a spinning back kick, you should be able to throw a spinning back kick.

Part of the problem is the word “spinning”. When you hear the word spinning you think you have to keep moving around in a full circle. But you don’t!

Remember—a spinning back kick and a turning side kick are both actually straight line attacks.

It’s tricky because you initiate the spinning back kick by moving in a circle, but then have to stop rotating to throw the kick on a straight line. I think it’s actually helpful to stop using the word “spinning” and just call it a “turn around” back kick.

If you just turn around 180 degrees and kick, you’ll have a perfect spinning back kick. If you turn around a little bit more, you’ll have a perfect turning side kick.

Either way, don’t make the mistake of spinning all the way around. If you do, your kick is going to go off the line with your target, and your foot is probably going to fly off into space and throw you off-balance.

You might be wondering if you can throw the spinning back kick without looking at all. Absolutely! You can throw a devastating spinning back kick, hopping back kick, or jumping back kick, completely blind.

It’s also true you could drive your car with your knees while you eat a bowl of spaghetti, but I don’t recommend that. I like to keep my hands on the wheel and my eyes on my target. Even if it’s just the corner of one eye.

So, keep it simple—turn, peek, kick. That’s how you’ll make your spinning back kick powerful and straight.