Practice The Front Snap Kick Or Suffer The Consequences
When I teach self-defense seminar's I rarely teach the front snap kick. Typically the novice performs the front snap kick incorrectly. Participants might "push" the kick causing it to be slow or strike with the wrong part of the foot. There are a myriad of flaws that have to be addressed and corrected. Because of this, a single self defense seminar simply is not enough time to drill the kick.
Even after corrections are made, one must continue to practice the technique so that the kick remains fluid without telegraphing it. If someone wants to use the front snap kick as a self defense tool one must practice and understand the importance of WHY the kick must be practiced.
So...here is the "Why"...
Regardless of how fast, slow, pretty or ugly the front snap kick is, the individual throwing it is on one leg during the kick. Standing on one leg is never a good thing when defending yourself. You never want your assailant to be able to take you down or catch your foot.
That being said, it is my opinion that a fast penetrating front kick to the groin is a fantastic technique to use to defend yourself. The speed and low targeting of the groin makes this kick almost impossible to block or check. It is important to remember, though, that after the kick, you have to immediately put your foot back down on the floor in a position that is advantageous to you.
To execute the kick, start from relaxed standing position. With little movement from the upper body "brush" the kicking foot slightly backwards as the knee lifts (or chambers) to waist height. The instant it's "chambered", snap the foot forward.
Although it may feel counter-intuitive, it is essential that the karate ka ( one who studies karate) not put too much emphasis on the contact of the groin with the foot--but should focus MORE on pulling the foot BACK after contact! Focusing on pulling the foot back is what gives the kick such tremendous snapping power, AND it will allow you to put your foot back down onto the ground for balance.
Being able to defend your self using the front snap kick and still maintain your balance is the ultimate goal. Training and learning in the dojo combined with training at home will get the karate ka to that goal. Trying the kick a couple of times at a self defense seminar and then never doing it again until you unfortunately need it is a recipe for disaster.
So get in the dojo , train the front snap kick repetitively and correctly.
And put that foot back down!