One way I've been taught was to load your round kicks(to the head) the same way as your front (bringing the knee up straight at your opponent) This requires a little bit of flexibility in the hips, and I also should add that this trick only works if your round kicks are going to the head, cause that's the only way to really make it look the same as a front. I mean if you were going to the body or legs with it, you obviously wouldn't load em the same. Changing the actual target of your front kick is good too, changing levels n such. I hope that's helpful
I use to use a variation of this strategy that seemed to always work at least once. I would stare at the face then fly in with a back fist. However, I simultaneously had my leg in a kicking position as I moved. Since the back fist wasn't a feint but rather a real attack, the hands would come up to protect the face just before the kick scored. Some guys were really sharp, though, and didn't fall for it more than once.
Sometimes I did it in reverse by moving the hip - never watch the leg for a kick; watch the hip - with the leg tightly tucked. The hip signaled a kick and if the guard went down the back fist scored.
Now the secret is simply that you never feint, you throw for real. In each case both are capable of scoring so if one doesn't get in, the other does. Basically you back fist and side kick at the same time while exploding forward.
That David Avellan video was good, thanks. I dont have super long legs so when i use a front kick i either do it as a range finding foot jab or i try to draw someone back onto it. Ill try and intentionally create an opening by appearing to move forward. meanwhile ill still be backweighted somewhat so when they move to intercept you you can take a small stutter step back and kinda lead them into it a bit with their own momentum.
try some of that as well.
If you like to use the outside straight knee as a counter for someone trying to punch his way inside, you can use this as a setup for the front. When he starts to get wise to the knee and enters more cautiously, act like you threw the knee too early and watch as he just sits in range of the front kick trying to run in. This is more of a tall guy move for guys with a specific style.
I land most of my front kicks in sparring and competition. These guys have a lot of great advice, but this is all the stuff that works for me:
Imagine a straight line extending through your opponent vertically, down his spine and up through his head into the sky. That's what you're aiming for.
Always chamber your kick tightly before exploding it out. You want to be FAST with this, so practice your front kicks all the time. Slow kicks are awesome practice for speed. Also, you can lean forward against a wall with both your hands and then lift one knee to your chest as fast as you can, and then repeat with the other. This works on the chambering or loading part of the kick and will make you FAST.
And the number 1 thing that helps me land the front kick? Timing. If you and your opponent are walking towards eachother at the same time, that's PERFECT! I usually wait until I see him coming at me with a rear punch or a kick because that leaves most of his weight on one foot and makes it harder to dodge my kick and usually ends up knocking him to his ass. It's also possible to disguise your kick with footwork, like if you're walking towards him. If you're quick, you'll have landed your kick before he even realizes your foot left the ground.
Hope that helps! Remember: don't just throw the kick to throw the kick. Make sure you have the opening and make sure it'll connect. Otherwise he'll be ready for it. Good luck, and happy kicking!
I believe most, if not all, of what I have to say has been said, but sometimes it is good to hear it from multiple sources.
This is how I use the front kick:
1) As a jab kick. When your opponent rushes towards you, snap that kick out to keep them at bay and do damage/score points. I commonly use it as a jab to move in to my opponent and set up a combination as well. I usually do not 'land' the kick because I intend on having my opponent block it, but they usually do not block the second, third, fourth, etc. strike that follows after.
2) When your opponent retreats. If your opponent tries to move out of a close range encounter (like you just finished a fist exchange), they usually leave an opening. Using the front kick as soon as they start to move back will commonly work.
3) When you retreat. Same situation as 2, but this time you want to get out of close range. This involves jumping backwards while throwing the front kick. It takes practice and has a tendency to be a bit more risky because you leave the ground briefly to pull it off. Now, when I say jump, I don't mean like you are trying to dunk a basketball. My front foot only gets about two inches off the ground. You jump so you can kick and retreat simultaneously.
4) To push your opponent off guard. This would also be a set up scenario were you would push your opponent backwards and bounce them off the ropes/cage/wall to get them to loosen their guard. If it is an open ring or you are not close to the ropes/cage/wall, you can still use this to open their guard up, but you need to be aware that your follow up strike must cover some ground as your opponent will be moving backwards.
5) In a self defense situation. Front kick to the groin, very effective but always illegal in fighting (thank goodness). In a self defense situation though, use it.
Hope that helps my friend!
Videos covered most info well, specially first one.
Move hips into the thrust.
I was also taught classic form by Shihan Kiyohisa Hirano; bring knee up and foot bent back toward knee, toes back. Then as the strike goes out extend (unbend) the foot so you strike directly toward the opponent, not up. So the kick drives into the gut with the ball and in some cases the toes. For nut shots or chin of course it goes more up-ish.
A good attack variation is to slide/hop forward with base foot - one can cover some driving in distance real fast.
And just like a side kick, once chambered the opponent has no clue if you are going low, medium or high. I'm short armed, long legged and sometimes throw a mid kick then throw to the face - tends to sail over the blocking arms.
I think that the finer points of front kicks come from understanding triangles.
Set it up with a few jabs to the head, then when you are ready to kick, feint the jab just enough to draw his guard and front kick with the lead leg. Has to be quick and you can't overcommit with the jab. The key to a good feint with the jab is shoulder movement. When the shoulder movement is exaggerated it tends to draw more attention.
A good opponent catches on quickly so don't go to the well too many times.