Become a Better Kicker With This One-Minute Exercise

Kwa (Iliopsoas)

The best warm-up exercises do more than increase your heart rate. They build flexibility, strength, balance and coordination, in a way that is relevant and beneficial to your martial art.

Here is one of my favorite exercises for loosening the kwa, or hip region. Tim Cartmell demonstrated it at a recent seminar in Seattle.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and your toes pointed out at 45 degrees.
  2. Shift your weight onto your right foot.
  3. Arc your left foot to the right and back across the front of your body, as if performing a slow lotus kick or outward crescent kick.
  4. Once your left foot comes back to its original position, let it swing behind and to the left in a small arc, before coming back up for another kick.
  5. Keep moving your left leg in this figure-8 pattern, without placing it back on the ground, for 30 seconds.
  6. Put your left leg down, and repeat the exercise with your right leg.

Try it yourself. I am sure it will improve your footwork and kicking ability.

What are your favorite warm-up exercises?


  1. Interesting. I’ll try it out. Maybe I’m not understanding correctly, it seems mor elike the leg is tracing a ‘C’ instead of an ‘8’?

  2. This is a nice idea too, but I think it might be hard to visualize for some. Obviously, I’m saying this because I’m having trouble with the discription to visualization process. I think that I have it but I would like to make 100% sure so that there are no doubts in my mind. Does anyone that reads this have a digital that can take movie clips or a video cam that you can shoot the motion and upload it to youtube and provide the link or that we can post it on Martial Developement, Kung Fu artistry or where-ever? Omitoufo~

  3. I love this warm up. I first came across it in Joseph Wilsons’ Freedom of Movement DVD from Memphis Martial Arts.

  4. Well this is very accurate but to put it into simpler terms.. Its just like kicking a soccer ball, use about 85% of your leg when you kick. You want to follow through and land about 5 yards in front of the tee. When your going to kick it, cut the ball in three. Kick the Ball on the half of the half if that makes sense

  5. I don’t follow your simplified explanation Brandon. I am referring to a continuous figure-8 movement.

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