Chuck Norris once commented, "There are few problems in this world that cannot be solved by a swift roundhouse kick to the face. In fact, there are none."In fiction, the roundhouse kick is one of the most badass martial arts moves one can make, spinning in a full circle, thus giving the kick the force of 360 degrees of awesomeness. In Real Life, such a move is Cool, but Inefficient. A proper roundhouse kick is spinning in just a partial circle, to give the kick some extra force, but without telegraphing the move too much. There is a risk of the opponent dodging the kick, countering with a foot-sweep, or even grabbing the leg if he is skillful enough, but a proper roundhouse kick is one of the faster kicks in martial arts and can be launched without a chambering motion without much loss of speed for force, which makes such a dodge or kick less likely. Of course in fiction, Rule of Cool says that doesn't have to be a problem, although some fighting games give a nod to the slower speed by making the full circle kick the slowest, but most powerful, kick that several characters have. In real life, the simple roundhouse was at one point considered to be the game-winning kick in many forms of competitive martial arts due to a combination of speed, power, ease of preparation, and speed of recovery (if the kick is blocked, the striker can use the force of recoil to power the next kick). A Sub-Trope of Spin Attack. A Super Trope to Hurricane Kick (doing several spinning kicks in the same move). Compare Kick Chick, Spinning Piledriver, Shoryuken.
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Anime and Manga
- Suzaku in Code Geass does this enough for for fans to make the Spinzaku meme.
- Digimon Frontier: Arbormon's main attack is called Roundhouse Punt, which involves him jumping up into the air and swinging out either his left or right foot.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: During the End of Evangelion, Asuka delivers a reverse roundhouse kick to an aerial vehicle.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid: Resident Kick Chick Miura employs this for several of her stronger moves, such as Bakken Hien (magically enhanced mid-air roundhouse kick), Bakken Hiryu (a roundhouse kick that sends waves of projectiles), and Bakken Tenshō Seiōha (a Finishing Move capable of dealing over 23,000 points of damage)
- In One Piece Jinbei the Whale Shark Fishman use a roundhouse kick against Wadatsumi's fist. In short, he manages to kick back and flip over a giant the size of a building.
- In Rosario + Vampire, Inner Moka, a vampire feared even by other monsters, often uses a roundhouse kick. In addition to being badass, it makes for a significant portion of the show's fanservice, as her Dangerously Short Skirt guarantees a Panty Shot.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the Dai-Gurren (a giant robot about the size of a battleship) runs up a mountain to perform a kick to a flying battleship. When they miss, they turn it into a flying roundhouse kick.
- Yamada of Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches has such a distinctive roundhouse kick people can recognise him by it when he's in another body.
- Strange Times Are Upon Us: Meromi kills a slave hunter with one to the top of the head (he was scrabbling for a lost revolver at the time). Helps she was wearing steel-toed boots.
- The Matrix films:
- In the first The Matrix, both Neo and Morpheus during the training fight, Trinity does it to a soldier during the battle in the lobby, and Neo does it to Agent Smith during the battle in the subway station.
- In The Matrix Reloaded, both Neo and Seraph, during their brief battle, Neo does it during the Burly Brawl sequence and the fight against the Merovingian's goons, and during the fight on top of the truck both Morpheus and the upgraded Agent use it.
- Jean-Claude Van Damme is fond of a variant in his movies where he leaps up and lands the kick while both feet are in the air. This should have left JCVD even more vulnerable to a counterattack than usual, but lucky for him no baddies (or heroes) ever intercepted the kick.
- Self-parodied in JCVD, where he fantasizes about taking out a gun-wielding crook using this move, but then in real life settling for a quick elbow to the stomach.
- In the X-Wing Series novel Starfighters of Adumar, Wes Janson K.O.'s a duel opponent with a roundhouse kick to the head.
Live Action TV
- The Saffron character does a lot of roundhouse kicks to the head.
- In "Objects In Space", Jubal Early gets punched in the face, and recovers by spinning around to do this kick.
- Walker, Texas Ranger liked to finish his fights with this move, often knocking the bad guy into Cardboard Boxes. Conan O'Brien showing such clips a lot also led to jokes about roundhouse kicks being quite popular in Chuck Norris Facts.
- Kamen Rider Kabuto's Finishing Move, while named "Rider Kick" after the traditional Diving Kick typical of the franchise, is actually a tachyon-powered standing roundhouse. Late in the series, Kamen Rider Gatack uses a jumping roundhouse as his own version, while Climax Boss Kamen Rider Caucasus from The Movie uses a standing roundhouse with less motion applied to it.
- The Awesome, but Impractical nature of this move is discussed in Burn Notice when Michael, playing a Russian mobster, has to fake a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown against his brother Nate, playing a government agent holding Michael and a human trafficker prisoner. While delivering the roundhouse kick to Nate's shoulder, Michael explains in his customary voiceover that the move is showy but probably survivable (Nate is knocked out of sight of the trafficker and ends up with a couple cracked ribs).
- Sam Beckett's signature move in Quantum Leap. In the episode, where he and Al switch places, Al delivers one to a romantic rival. When Sam asks how he knows how to do it, Al says he doesn't. Extra/missing knowledge is a known side effect of leaping, though.
- Lindsey Stirling's dancing often involves a few of these, though they're done more as delicate pirouettes than vicious attacks. When a video includes her in several places, she sometimes cuts to each place while continuing the spin.
- a signature move of Tommy End who works for companies such as Progress Wrestling
- In Castlevania games, Ninja Maid Persephone does a curtsy before doing a jumping vertical roundhouse kick at the player.
- A standard melee attack in Video Game/Crackdown.
- One of Kimahri's Overdrives in Final Fantasy X is a turning kick, called a Mawashigeri in some translations.
- Final Fight has Cody and Guy who both perform this. Though Guy's is more like a Tornado kick. Mighty Glacier Hagar has a Spinning Clothesline instead.
- In Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu, Jackie can do 180-degree and 360-degree spin kicks.
- Martial artists in Jagged Alliance 2 can do this to knock down enemies in melee unarmed combat.
- In The King of Fighters, characters such as Robert (Ryuu Geki), King (Muay Thai), and Kim Kaphwan (Tae Kwon Do) have this as either their standing strong kick, or performed during their special attacks. Robert's Genei Kyaku and King's Trap Shot, in particular, both end with roundhouse kicks.
- The 2D Mortal Kombat games have one of these for every character, executed by holding back when doing a high kick, that does decent damage and great knockaway. Rain from Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 gets special mention for using one so powerful that the opponent flies off the screen and ends up behind him.
- Signature move of Ty, one of the three playable characters in Pit-Fighter.
- Rolling Kick from Pokémon, whose Japanese name is Roundhouse Kick.
- In one cutscene in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) Silver telegraphs a punch and runs at Shadow. Shadow responds by stopping time with Chaos Control, calmly walking behind Silver and roundhouse kicking him in the back of the head. Widely considered one of the better moments of that game.
- The Street Fighter series has characters that do this as their strong kick, including Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Sagat.
- Many of Capcom's early fighting games actually used "Roundhouse" as a universal term for what is now known as the "hard kick", regardless if they were actual roundhouses or not.
- This is one of the many moves Sketch Turner can perform in Comix Zone - he can do it as he moves forward.
- In World of Warcraft, this is the standard animation for human rogues (other races kick differently) using the Kick ability (which doesn't do any damage but interrupts the target's spellcasting.) With the advent of the Monk class, the Blackout Kick uses a similar animation for all races and is a bread-and-butter damage dealing ability the monks use when fancier moves are on cooldown. Male Blood Elves also use a head-height roundhouse kick for some specific action animations, such as commanding a strong-but-stupid henchman to retrieve things in some quests.
- In Xenoblade, Melia's Starlight Kick is a clumsy leaping roundhouse kick that causes her to land on her rear. It hurts about as much as you'd expect it to, coming from a Squishy Wizard, but it can knock almost anything off its feet as well, two story tall dragons and robots included.
- The Matrix: Path of Neo has a roundhouse kick, like all The Matrix examples above.
- In Golden Axe III, this is Sarah Barn's Forward+Attack+Jump attack. It can be blocked, but it is fast and the single most damaging move in her movelist.
- Shantae and the Pirate's Curse has the Heavy Kick move. It deals more damage than a single, fully-upgraded hair-whip, but its slightly shorter range and long wind-up time from the spinning animation means Shantae will deal more damage with her faster hair-whips in the long run.
- Truth In Memetic Mutation: Chuck Norris, after retiring from his acting career, went to create his own martial art style: Chun Kuk Do, inspired on Tang Soo Do, which is indeed heavy on kicking, including roundhouse kicks.
- In traditional karate—that is, actual traditional karate, not what people think is traditional today—the roundhouse kick was not typically used as an entry move for the obvious "telegraphing" reason. A practitioner would dodge his or her opponent's attack, and then use a roundhouse kick as appropriate to strike at an open target.
- Legendary MMA fighter Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic is infamous for his left roundhouse kick, which has given him highlight-reel amounts of knock-outs, especially when hitting the head. He was for a time the most feared striker in MMA, and you'd see other fighters visibly nervous at the prospect of fighting him. In fact, any fighter who noticeably was NOT knocked out by the kick (like Mark Hunt, Hidehiko Yoshida and Fedor Emelianenko) instantly shot up to Memetic Badass status as a result. Famously, in an interview, Cro Cop was asked what the difference between his right and left roundhouse kick were. His response?
Mirko Cro Cop: Right leg: hospital. Left leg: cemetery.
- Ironically, it was that very same kick that Gabriel Gonzaga used to knock out Cro Cop in 2007 in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. As Joe Rogan said on commentary, "Gonzaga essentially Cro Copped Cro Cop."
- In fact, the roundhouse kick is quite common in MMA, particularly to attack the ribs/liver of an opponent.