Kicks are an integral part of most martial art forms, and each style has developed its own technique over the years. The front kick is a popular move in Muay Thai, MMA, and Taekwondo, among other martial arts, and combat sports enthusiasts have a popular name for it: the teep. But are both kicks the same?

Front kicks are often called teep in combat sports because both movements involve extending your leg out in front of you. While both kicks seem similar at first glance, a front kick and teep are distinct and used for different reasons in a fight.

Although both movements are similar, knowing the difference and when to use each kick can give you a significant advantage in any fight. In this article, we’ll explore the difference between front kicks and teep so you can understand which technique to employ in a given situation.

Front Kicks and Teep: Differences

Front kicks are often mistaken for teep kicks because your leg moves in a similar motion and at a similar height in both techniques.

However, modern kickboxing and MMA dialect use the word ‘teep’ to refer to a ‘push kick,’ which is quite different from the conventional front kick. The technique for executing a teep varies slightly from a front kick, and it’s crucial to understand the difference to gain leverage in any fight.

Front Kick

A front kick is used in several martial art forms, including traditional practices like Taekwondo and Karate. A front kick is primarily an offensive technique used to hurt an opponent by creating a significant impact on the torso or upper body.

For this technique, you need to raise the kicking leg and extend your knee, so the leg straightens out in front of you. By grounding yourself with the other foot while exerting force through your raised leg, you can perform a front kick to injure your opponent.

When you execute a front kick, your hips stay relatively the same, allowing you to generate more power from the ground. Additionally, when an opponent is in range, a front kick enables a fighter to deliver deadly force in a single, swift movement.

Teep Kick

A teep or push kick differs from most fighting techniques as it is not primarily an offensive maneuver. You lunge a little when performing a push kick, allowing your hips to carry forward with the motion. This technique will enable you to push the opponent away from you and create distance during the fight.

A teep helps you keep an opponent out of range or arrest their momentum when they’re moving to attack you. Additionally, a teep also helps you create space from your opponent so you can set yourself up for the next attack.

teep or push kick

Here’s a table highlighting the main difference between a front kick and a teep kick.

Front KickTeep Kick
A front kick is used in every martial art form that employs kicks. This includes traditional forms like Kung Fu, Karate, and Taekwondo.A teep kick is a more recent technique developed in Muay Thai and adapted to be used in combat sports.
A front kick is primarily an offensive maneuver used to attack and cause damage.A teep is more of a strategic move to create space between yourself and an opponent. A teep can be used to create an opportunity for the next attack.
Front kicks are typically performed within a fixed range; a front kick won’t land on an opponent that’s a little out of range.Teeps involve traveling with the kick and can be performed on opponents who initially seem a little out of range.
A front kick involves keeping the standing leg grounded and extending the knee on your kicking leg to create maximum impact.In a teep kick, you must extend the corresponding hip forward while straightening the knee on your kicking leg. This movement allows you to reach beyond your current range.

If you want a more detailed understanding of the difference between a teep and front kick, check out this YouTube video by fighter Joe Valtellini:

Why Teep Kicks Are Useful

We’ve already mentioned, in brief, why a teep is an essential element in combat sports today. But let’s go over a few reasons you should master the teep and use it during fights.

  • Check an opponent’s range. A teep is your most extended weapon and allows you to check how far an opponent is so you can get a feel for the fight. You can throw a teep to check if it makes contact with your opponent, and based on this distance, you can adjust yourself in relation to your opponent.
  • Stop an opponent’s aggression. When your opponent is moving towards you for a tackle or throwing a punch, a teep can help arrest their momentum and spoil their technique. As such, a teep is an excellent defensive maneuver when employed at the right time.
  • Push back an opponent. A teep is designed to push an opponent away, and while it may not hurt, it’s an effective technique to shove your opponent back towards the ropes. This ability to create distance and push an opponent into a vulnerable position is why teep kicks are so popular.
  • Mess with your opponent. A teep takes little effort compared to some of the other fighting techniques. So you can start throwing a teep and quickly stop the momentum and move into a more offensive maneuver. If your opponent is expecting a teep, faking them can be a valuable strategy to gain an advantage.
  • Throw them off balance. You can use teeps to push an opponent’s leg when they’re moving forward, effectively throwing them off balance and ruining their aim.
teep kicks are useful

Final Thoughts

While a front kick and teep are often used interchangeably, both techniques are pretty different and used to achieve other goals in a fight. If you want to improve as a fighter, adding the teep kick to your arsenal can help you get to the next level.