Maegeri is Karate’s front kick

What is maegeri?

On this page you'll discover everything you need to know to perform Maegeri properly.

Before we dig into details and applications though: Basics first.

Maegeri consists of two characters called Kanji.

  • Mae (前) means in front 
  • Keri (蹴) means kick.

For basics, Maegeri is Chudan. Chudan means middle level, so aim for the stomach on your centre line. 

Before we dig into the finer details, let's sum up the basic "must-knows" for Maegeri.

Every kick has these specific key points (so Maegeri too):

  • Pull your heel in as you raise the knee on centre line
  • Keep the body straight
  • Float your Kamae
  • Apply Hikiashi after you kick

Maegeri has the following specifics:

  • Thrust your hip forward
  • Kick straight forward

So with that said... Let's dig deeper!

Here's what you'll discover on this page:

the correct foot position of maegeri

This sub headline is actually not so appropriate, since correct depends on the situation. It's not a fixed answer. Also, Wado always has a leeway, as Sakagami sensei calls it. In other words: a margin.

The strict thinking does not suit Wado thinking...

You may be wondering if that's a weakness or a strength?

As with anything, it totally depends on HOW you use the leeway.

NEVER use a leeway as an excuse for something you can't do. Or as a reason to suit your own purpose.

You can go the other way around which is also bad...

  • Look at the picture and say that it's not correct because the line of the foot should be straight...
  • Say that the toes must be more curled up...

...or whatever unimportant minorities you may find.

The Digi Dojo - Shiyobui - Koshi

what really matters for your foot position

  • Alignment (that matches the structure of your body as well as the angle of attack) 
  • TORT = Timing Of Required Tension (WHEN you're tensing the REQUIRED muscles).

For basic training of Maegeri, stretch your foot with your toes pointing up. This implies the use of the ball of the foot.

The necessity of stretching the foot, or actually increasing the angle of your foot compared to your lower leg, depends on the angle of the kick and the position of the target. If your opponent is leaning forward, you have to pull up your foot if you wish to use the ball of your foot for attack.

This also applies to kicking lower targets such as the shin.

how to execute maegeri?

The Digi Dojo - Keri Waza - Kamae

Take left stance.

Take left Hanmi Gamae You may use other stances for practise, but this is the general one. 

The Digi Dojo - Keri Waza - Raise knee

Raise your knee while keeping your posture as straight as possible.

Raise your knee while keeping your body straight You may change kamae naturally but do not separate the movement. This is a specific method to avoid moving your arms separately. At this stage, you arms might have changed already.

The Digi Dojo - Keri Waza - Maegeri

Execute Maegeri as you change Kamae naturally. Note that lifting your knee and extending your leg should be one smooth movement.

Thrust with your hip and throw your leg away to execute Maegeri At this point, your right foot may turn due to the body's movement.

Want more of this? Discover the Premium Series "Mastering Shiyobui"

The page on Maegeri is part of "Mastering Shiyobui", which covers how to turn your hands and feet into weapons, just as you've always imagined when you started Karate.

Just wait until you see the list. Ipponken, Nukite and Hiraken are the normal ones...

make your maegeri SHARP with these hikiashi exercises

A sharp pullback aka Hiki Ashi creates that whip-like effect you're looking for. And that's not only good for impact and balance — you also need it to follow up with more techniques quickly.

Maegeri Hiki Ashi

Keep in mind that you can change emphasis and difficulty by adjusting or using for example either of the following:

  • Speed
  • Rhythm
  • Focus (on your hamstring instead of your heel or the other way around)
  • Using support (or not)
  • Standing up, sitting or lying down
  • One leg at a time or alternating them
  • Adding or limiting body movement

is there more to hikiashi then "pull back"?

Hikiashi is the name used for the pulling (hiki) of the foot (ashi), or maybe better verbalised, the term used to describe the technical movement of the pulling of the foot.

The Kanji for HIki is 引き and 引 itself consists of two elements. 

  1. The left part of the Kanji, 弓, means bow (like bow and arrow).
  2. |does not have a meaning by itself, but you can think of it as the arrow or the elastic. 

You can conclude from the Kanji that Hiki means pull and originally referring to pulling back the elastic to prepare to shoot the arrow. 


Pull the arrow away from the bow (Hiki) and separate them more (Wake)It is to build up tension to use the stored energy.

In the initial stage of a kick, pull your heel to your buttocks.


Kai means to join and refers to the accumulation of Shin Gi Tai. It is moment that the bow and arrow are at maximum tension. Kai, which translates to meet or join, in this case points to the becoming one of the body and mind and the bow and arrow.

Just before you execute Maegeri, your heel should be as close to your buttocks as possible.


This is the moment of releasing the arrow: Fire the arrow using the built tension (energy), while your posture stays correct and you maintain Zanshin.

The moment that you kick.

applications of maegeri

The Digi Dojo - Shiyobui - Application of Maegeri

Maegeri Chudan with Gyaku Gamae

Attack the body targeting ribs, stomach and solar plexus.

In basics, keep the foot straight. Practially, that might not always be the case. Be sure to practise with light contact with your partner. And do bag work.

The Digi Dojo - Shiyobui - Application of Sunegeri

Sunegeri with Shikaku

Partially blinding him, and at the very least distract him — kick his shin (SUNE) with the ball of your foot (or the tip of your shoe).

This kick is short, quick and painful creating a huge advantage. Time to follow-up, or run away.

Kingeri with Sticky hand

Defend with Haishu Uke without losing contact. Then quickly, and in one movement, kick him in the groin with Kingeri. It's a variation of Maegeri where you hit with the instep.

hanmi vs shomen

You can execute Maegeri with the hip either in Hanmi or in Shomen position.

Hanmi means that your hip is at an angle of about 45 degrees.

Shomen means that your body is facing straight forward.





the mini series
maegeri mastery

I see you made it all the way here 👊 

Whether it's reading or skimming, you noticed the insane amount of details shared so far. But it doesn't end there...

Here's what's actually important: Knowing HOW to practise.

You can start with the Hikiashi methods, but Maegeri has 6 elements — Hikiashi is just one.

In "Maegeri Mastery" you'll discover:

  • The 3 Must-Use Keypoints for proper technique
  • The 6 elements (+training methods)
  • How to avoid the maegeri-on-a-bag mistake

the 3 must-use key points for proper technique

the 6 elements revealed (+ training methods)

how to avoid the maegeri-on-a-bag mistake

maegeri pro videos

official performance

key points

explanation of maegeri

hanmi vs shomen maegeri — which one is stronger?


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