Switching is not for changing your stance. Switching is for generating power.
The switch allows you to load up the lead leg and generate immense force courtesy of the stretch reflex in the Achilles tendon, the same way a sprinter uses it to spring out of the blocks.
Essentially, you’ve got three targets: one, the ribs, particularly the two floating ribs that sit over the liver. Secondly, the forearm just above the elbow. Punishing the opponent’s forearms will take the sting out of their punches and also weaken their guard. As the hands drop, it becomes easier to strike the head.
Finally, you can kick to the head, which needs no explanation.
Switching also allows you to work high kicks into close-range fighting to great effect. A kick off the back leg requires more room and as the hip turns over, tends to conclude your combination.
Switching up off the front leg allows you to work kicks to the body and the head from what is essentially close range. It maximises damage and assists with the element of surprise.
All this comes with a caveat. Do not switch under the hip; it’s a weak kick. Take the time to learn to step through with a low roundhouse kick if you’re kicking the leg.
Execute each of the steps as follows:
Step one: Set up in a proper stance. The front foot is flat with the heel barely touching the ground. The rear foot is elevated with the body weight balanced through the ball and toes.
Step two: Drop the heel of the back foot and balance all your weight on it.
Step three: Lift the front leg until the thigh is parallel to the canvas, just as if you’re checking a kick. This has the added benefit of disguising what comes next.
Step four: Bring the ball of the left foot and toe down exactly level with the arch of the right foot. This is the most important part of the technique. Without this, you haven’t got the stretch reflex of the Achilles.
Step Five: Lift the right foot and replace it just forward of the left, so your feet are barely overlapping.
Step six: Enjoy the reflexive spring coming out of that front leg which has briefly languished behind the back as they have changed places, courtesy of a stylised step.
Step seven: Crunch the shin-bone onto the forearm/ribcage/neck or head of your opponent.
Case Study: Steve McKinnon
Australian cruiserweight kickboxer Steve McKinnon is the master of the switch. Watch that lightning fast front leg and see it in your mind as you practice.