Today I would like to talk about injuries during kicking. If there were no injuries, a lot more people would have enjoyed their Tae Kwon Do and other martial arts practices.
There are several reasons for injuries and here are the main ones.
1. Lack of Proper Range of Motion
2. Lack of Proper Conditioning
3. Insufficient Warm Up
4. Incorrect Technique
5. Not enough recover time between sessions
Beside those, there are many others such as mental stress, lack of proper nutrients, lack of sleep, congenital weakness (such as hernia), etc.
Today we will address the first one.
There are many instances under which a martial artist can get injured in respect to lacking proper range of motion for a given kick or group of kicks.
Sometimes, an athlete took time off from training. When coming back to training, he expect the body to have the same range of motion that he is left with. This is often not the case.
In some cases, even time off from training can be compensated with long, careful and thought out warm up. Such as the ones presented in ESKMS (ElasticSteel Kick Mastery System)
While many muscles can be effected, the video is talking specifically about the Upper Adductors/ Inner Hip Flexors. This area is a common site of injury.
To extend a side kick (Or back kick, or hook kick, etc) these muscles must stretch. Not only so, they must contract toward the end of the kick, do decelerate the kick and pull it back. The higher the kick, the more they are stretched. (Please see the supine abduction test in the video)
There is one method of training the kick that is particular dangerous and prone to injury. That is kicking at full speed without hitting a target.
When striking a target, the leg does not extend all the way or if it does the target helps to decelerate the kick. This helps the muscles in question and protects them.
When doing slow kick without a target, the muscles may not extend all the way and the kick will simple lack last few degrees of extension. If however the kick is forced to extend all the way, the lower back will curve and compensate. (This can place the strain on the lower back, but that’s another issue)
However, when the kick is thrown at full speed without a target, the lower back usually won’t hyper extend. The reason for this is because gluteus maximus will be activated as an extensor of the hip. Contraction of this muscle, keep the back hyper extension in check and if anything flattens the back. This puts all the hip deceleration stress on the muscles in question. (In ESKMS level 1 On Line Kicking Seminar, we spend a lot of time developing and adjusting the core/hip relationship specific to kicking techniques.)
The last paragraphs underlines the fact that just because you can do a slow kick and have full range of motion, does not mean that you can now try to kick at full speed. Take the test, while on your back as shown in the video.

Paul Zaichok IDAUTHOR: Paul Zaichik is the founder of the Elastic Steel method of Athletic conditioning. With an interest in Martial Arts from early childhood Paul during his Martial Art training realized that many advanced students could barely kick to the head level. He had begun to experiment in this area. As a result Paul transformed many Eastern European Stretching and Gymnastic techniques to meet the needs of the modern martial artists. More and more students were practicing Paul’s techniques, acquiring great strength and flexibility in return. As a certified Exercise and Nutrition instructor Paul has been able to develop over the years many effective techniques that became to be known as ElasticSteel.