Video exampler: here
Video tutorial: here
Recommended prerequisites: tornado kick
Description: The 540 kick is a jumping and spinning inside crescent or hook kick that plagues most trickster’s lives. It took me over one year to learn this trick, and I’m not the only victim to that harsh of a learning curve. Hypothetically, you’re supposed to spin 540 degrees in the air. Realistically, no one cares.
Just like with the tornado kick, I recommend building up a base of inside kicking. And just like with the tornado again, it’s your choice whether you go with inside crescent kicks or round kicks. Martial artists seem to prefer round kicks. I prefer inside crescent kicks simply because it makes martial artists mad, and being a rebel makes me feel special.
Slide by slide breakdown
The 540 is the takeoff. The 540 is the takeoff. Good take off = good things. Bad takeoff = bad things. Just as with every trick it seems, my weight and momentum starts on one side ready to be shifted to the other.
Here we go. This is what blocking is all about and is a huge concept in every trick, but especially something like the 540. Not only do I want height for the 540, but I also need rotation. In order to make this easier, I’m going to get some horizontal momentum going so I can sling it vertically. Part of this is getting that left leg out in front of my body a little bit. It’s almost butterfly twist like.
Momentum shift has begun and here’s where things get cool. See my right arm and right leg? Left arm and left leg? Each side is going to synchronize the arm and leg.
Note the wide arms. Bear hug something. I guess. But remember: you get more rotational sauce if you start with wide arms and then bring them in close.
Left leg is planted firmly with arm firm and my right side (both leg and arm) are coming across my body to set up for an ideal jumping position. Head and eyeballs facing forward, which is big. Your head anchors your body, and for the 540 kick, you want yourself anchored forward. Pick a target in front of you and use it as a reference point.
Right leg continues to rotate inward. Arms still high and wide, but look at that right arm of mine: it’s still facing my target. This slide is just moments after I ditched eyesight on my target in order to turn. Don’t forget about your target, you’ll find it again soon enough.
This looks funky and it’s very hard to describe with text. At the beginning, my feet were facing forward. But look at my right leg. It actually planted facing the left edge of my house, which is slightly ahead of my shoulder rotation. I could talk about blocking again if I wanted to: the key to carrying momentum is to always make your next move just a little bit ahead of your center of gravity and momentum.
Also important is that it’s out in front of my body — my leg isn’t right next to my other leg. From a depth perspective, my right leg is closer to the camera. Again, blocking.
Anyway, the arms arc downward just as they do in a vertical jump — they’re on their way down because they’re coming right back up.
At the takeoff, you want to drill into your brain: find target, kill target. The goal is to get your body situation in a position where you can kick your target, and so that’s what we’re trying to do.
See the left arm and left leg? They’re doing the same thing. Both are lifting up to get me in the air.
More air. The first part of the takeoff was all about going horizontal and rotating about yourself so that you could eventually use it to propel yourself in the air. Now’s the time to make use of all that cheddar, so get yourself up. Arms up in the air, first leg up in the air.
I always point my fingers on tricks because I’m stupid. Don’t worry, it’s my pointer finger, not my middle finger. Here’s the good stuff though. Everything went up and my eyes are now fixated on my target that I’m going to be kicking. Find your target with your eyes.
I promised you that my legs and arms would synchronize, and this is no different. Leg has started on its way to kick the target. Note that it’s pretty straight and would classify more as a crescent kick. With this, my hips are rather square to my target. If I was throwing a round kick, things would be different and the hips would be turned over more. Just something to keep in mind if you’re a round kicker.
Still facing the target as the kick comes through. Non-kicking leg has dropped so that my kicking leg can come over the top without interference.
After the kick? Still looking at the target. Non-kicking leg is bending, which makes rotating through the move easier.
For the 540, I like to keep myself forward for as long as possible. My upper body sometimes gets caught behind when I do this, which you can see in the slide above. If I wanted to take my momentum with me as much as possible, I’d carry my arm with my leg.
At this point, you might realize that my torso is at an angle. The torso naturally leans back for me during the kick, but it’s not something I consciously think about. And following up from last slide: if my goal was rotation, I’d be coiling right now. But as you can see, my one arm got left behind. It’s not ideal, but — hey — throwing tricks is rarely ideal. I’m not here to show you perfect tricks that I land once in a decade.
Things are just chugging on from earlier as I deploy the landing gear. I stopped it here because it looks like I’m posing for the Ginyu Force.
I land here, and I “technically” complete the 540 degree rotation. Again, I don’t really care much about the rotation. Just make it look good.
- Takeoff is huge, get horizontal momentum going to your advantage.
- Eye up target.
- Swing arms down and back straight up.
- Lift lead knee high.
- Eye up target a second time.
- Kick target.
Bad kick? Maybe you just need to practice. If you haven’t put in some hours training basic kicks, start there.
Low kick? Actually kick. Don’t think of the 540 as a leg lift over your non-kicking leg. Get some sauce behind the kick, and don’t be afraid of it.
Just sucking in general? Look, the 540 is a very complex move. It took me over a year to learn it and I was dissecting every video I could find and comparing it against mine. You have to put in your time. The best suggestion I can give is to train your tornado kick to hell and back. The better your tornado is, the better your 540 chances are. Try to integrate a 540 takeoff (more aggression) into a tornado kick.
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