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Keri means kick. Kicks include all attacks performed with the legs or feet. Since the muscles of the leg are much larger and stronger than the muscles of the arm, kicking techniques are generally more powerful than hand techniques. They also have a greater attack range. However, kicking does have its drawbacks. Since the leg is bulkier than the arm, kicks tend to be a little slower. Also when kicking, the foot usually has to travel a further distance to reach its target, again sacrificing speed. Finally, kicks leave the karateka on only one or no legs, compromising balance. For these reasons, punches tend to be viewed more favorably in Shotokan. 

It is very important to practice proper kicking techniques as incorrect technique causes knee injuries. Kicks rely on flexibility, a stable stance, and good balance. The ball and edge of the foot, and the heel and instep are all used as striking surfaces in various karate kicks. More important than the actual kick is the return path and landing. Even if a karate kick reaches its target, it will lack destructive power if it is not withdrawn sharply. This hiki ashi (pull back) converts the kick into a whip. It also prevents the opponent from grabbing the kicker's leg. 

Basic Kicks

Basic kicks are practiced most often in Shotokan. They are fairly simple and don't require too much flexibility.

mae-gerifront kick
yoko-geriside kick
yoko-geri-keageside snap kick
yoko-geri-kekomiside thrust kick
mawashi-geriroundhouse kick


Advanced Kicks

Advanced kicks are practiced less, due to their difficulty and risky nature. They usually leave the kicker in a precarious position. These kicks are extremely difficult to perform, requiring excellent speed, timing, and balance skills. Without proper flexibility, these kicks cannot be performed at all.

ushiro-geriback kick
ura-mawashi-gerireverse roundhouse kick
mikazuki-gericrescent kick
tobi-gerijump kick
nidan-geriflying front kick, two-level kick


Advanced Leg Attacks

These advanced techniques are executed with the foot, but are usually not considered as kicks in the conventional sense. They are mainly used to damage an opponent's legs or to break an assailant's balance. All targets for these attacks are below hip level (gedan).

fumi-komithrusting step (stomping kick)
ashi-baraifoot sweep
nami-gaeshi (nami-ashi-geri)returning wave (wave leg kick)