Toe Kick – Martial Arts
This page provides details about the “Toe Kick”. This old-style martial arts kick was used in order to deliver a sharp narrow strike to soft vital targets such as the groin and abdomen. The toe kick is usually be delivered like a front kick or roundhouse kick but with the toes as the striking surface. The toe kick is used by some traditional Karate styles and is known as Tsumasaki Geri. This type of kick is also practiced by a few other more traditional martial arts such as Kung Fu.
The toe kick can be seen as the foot equivalent of the open hand technique Nukite (spear hand strike), the position of the fingers for Nukite and the toes for Tsumasaki Geri are quite similar. The big toe must be almost but slightly downward pointing the second supporting toe should be angled slightly further down as should the rest of the toes. It is sometimes said that the overall angle of the foot (or the hand in Nukite) should be like that of a Katana with the curve down ad used in a penetrating thrust.
This kick is not practiced very much by many modern martial arts given the danger of breaking a toe. Rather, most modern martial arts teach students to kick with their instep, ball of the foot, side of the foot, heel, etc. However, this type of kick can be effective if a martial artist is wearing a hard shoe or steel-capped boot (in order to protect their toes). Some traditional martial artists practice this type of kick barefoot but they spend a lot of time conditioning their toes and feet (see video below).
Ankichi Arakaki, an influential practitioner of Shorin-Ryu Karate, was famous for his toe kicks.
For information on other kicks (i.e. spinning hook kick), please see the main Martial Arts Kicks section.
Conditioning for Karate’s Tsumasaki Geri