540 kick

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A 540 gyro crescent kick

In martial arts and tricking[clarification needed], the 540 kick (Chinese:旋風腳 (Xuanfengjiao)) (also known as inside turning kick, jump inside kick, and tornado kick) is a jump kick move. It involves a rotation of approximately 540 degrees (although when performed correctly the performer has only done a spin of 360 degrees – not including whatever takeoff used).[1][2][3][4][5]

It is practiced various disciplines including Taekwondo, Tangsoodo, Wushu kung fu, Shaolinquan, Capoeira and some Karate styles but traditionally most associated with the Korean martial arts. However, the most prominent defining feature is that the same leg is used for taking off, kicking, and landing.[6] The other leg is used to propel the performer into the air, and is then retracted before landing. Many martial arts tricksters choose this move as their first move to attempt.[7][8]

Steven Ho 540 roundhouse kick, circa 1989. Ho helped to popularize the 540 kick in the mid-eighties.

The '540' has a history in ballet too, where it is performed as an advanced variation of a 'barrel roll'. Principal male ballet dancers include the move in their variation (solo) as a crowd-pleasing feat of excellence. The move and a variation of it, the reverse 540, has been present in ballet for quite some time now, and is used commonly by dancers such as Daniil Simkin, Tetsuya Kumakawa and Joseph Phillips. This move has been recently introduced into the world of professional wrestling, where it is commonly referred to as a "jumping corkscrew roundhouse kick".


Like most variations of martial arts kicks, the name of the kick is normally determined by the position of the foot, degree of rotation and positioning of the hips, and any additional kicks that may be added.

Fake 540[edit]

A jump kick that mimics the 540. You throw it up into an inside crescent, tuck the other and land on that right foot. The left doesn't take off like a true 540.

540 Crescent[edit]

This is the most traditional variation of the kick. The kick is executed as a crescent kick, meaning that the toes are pointed directly up. If aiming for a target, the target would be hit with the inside of the foot (from the heel to the big toe).

Reverse 540[edit]

Take off is like a 1-over 360 kick. If back on your right foot, throw it forward counterclockwise, tuck it and push off with your right. Jump up and complete 360 with an outside, counterclockwise crescent kick and land on the same foot. Look at the reverse image of a 540 and you can see it.

540 Roundhouse[edit]

This version rotates the hips about 90° more than a crescent before executing the kick. The kick is executed as a roundhouse kick, meaning the foot is flat and the toes are pointing straight forward. If aiming for a target, the target would be hit with the top of the ankle to avoid breaking the toes. It is also called a Bolley Kick by some in TaeKwonDo, and was popularized in the mid-eighties by George Chung and Steven Ho in open martial art competitions. In TaeKwonDo a generic "540" kick usually refers to the 540 roundhouse.

Lazyboy 540 (aka Playboy 540)[edit]

Also referred to as simply a Lazyboy, this version is practically identical to a typical 540. The defining characteristic is that the hands are placed on the back of the head. Sometimes they're placed on top of the head. This is to simulate the image of a person relaxing or lying down. This pose is struck in the air as the trick is performed to show the ease in which they can perform the trick, that they don't need the momentum of the arms to complete the trick, and/or to add style to the trick. This trick is also known as the Playboy 540 for its extravagance and confident posture such of a playboy.

Double leg 540[edit]

Take off on two legs with inside crescent kick.


Though, the body mechanics/execution are different, the Sideswipe and 540 are often categorized together because they both use the same leg to take off, kick, and land. This version is similar to a 540 kick, but the body is spinning as close to horizontal as possible. After the non-kicking leg is thrown up in the take-off, the body is leaned back so it is spinning horizontally. This move is not very useful as a fighting move, because it is hard to direct the kick to actually hit someone, and if the foot actually hits the target, all rotation will stop and the performer will be left without a leg to land on. Some may say this is the same case for the normal 540, but in the sideswipe, the body will be horizontal and it will be much more difficult to quickly direct the other foot to the ground to land on. And is a trick for a Combo kick.

540 Wheel[edit]

Also called a "540 hook", "Cheat 720", and "540 crescent" (which can make it confusing to distinguish between this kick and the one above). It uses the same takeoff, but instead of using the jumping leg to kick, the performer spins around another 90-180 degrees and performs a kick with the other leg. This kick can be either a hook or a crescent kick depending on the position of the foot. This kick is one of the few variations that actually spins a full 540°.

540 Gyro[edit]

In this move, the user will execute the typical 540 kick but instead of landing immediately on the kicking leg, he/she will rotate an additional 180–360 degrees before landing. It is rather uncommon in the tricking community, but is present in martial arts disciplines. It is most prevalent in Wushu.

540 to Splits[edit]

The traditional 540 however can be landed into the splits simply by sending the kicking leg backwards after the kick as been executed and extending the other leg forward during the landing. Theoretically, almost every trick can be landed in the splits, however, landing some of the more advanced versions of tricks like this would require extra height in the jump, extra rotation of the body, and a very keen sense of timing and spatial awareness.

Multi-kick variants[edit]

Some variants of the 540 include multiple kicks being executed while in the air. Some of those variations are:

Crescent 540/Feilong[edit]

Not to be confused with the 540 crescent, a crescent 540 is where a crescent kick is thrown out with one leg before the 540 kick is thrown with the other, essentially executing two separate kicks during the same motion. A slight variation of this is where the crescent kick is thrown as a sideways snap kick, followed by a round house kick. The hips must be rotated more before the kicks are thrown and the body tilts in the direction of the kicks, which can cause a person to lose their balance on the landing.


This is similar to a crescent 540 in that each leg does its own kick, however, the 540 kick (either crescent or roundhouse) is thrown out first. Immediately following the first kick, the other leg throws a heel kick. Ideally, both kicks should be executed before the first 540 kick lands. The mechanics to this variant are practically identical to a 540-wheel or cheat 720. A helpful tip to proper execution involves performing a roundhouse kick instead of an inside crescent kick, with the hips turned over and toes pointed. In doing so, after the first kick is completed, your hips are already turned over, and your body is in a better position to spin around and snap out the hook.

540 Triple[edit]

This is the combination of a crescent 540 and a jacknife, essentially executing three separate kicks during the same motion. One with the landing leg and two with the other. The kicks and their execution are similar to those of a 720 triple.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "World of sports indoor". Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "Black Belt". Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "American Tricksters". Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Inc, Active Interest Media (1 May 1993). "Black Belt". Active Interest Media, Inc. Retrieved 31 January 2017 – via Google Books. 
  5. ^ Inc, Active Interest Media (1 July 1998). "Black Belt". Active Interest Media, Inc. Retrieved 31 January 2017 – via Google Books. 
  6. ^ "Interactive graphic: How to perform a tornado kick in Taekwondo". Telegraph. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  7. ^ "Black Belt". Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  8. ^ Inc, Active Interest Media (1 February 1991). "Black Belt". Active Interest Media, Inc. Retrieved 20 February 2017 – via Google Books. 

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