Keeping the distance! Every now and then you need a powerful in your face technique to move an opponent back. Hello push kick!! Used sparingly the forward push or thrust kick can generate some space or setup a nice secondary attack. Mix it up because you can... Variations of this kick include starting from the rear leg or the front leg and also striking with the heel or ball of the foot. Be careful not to overuse it though as it may not be the fastest kick on the block, and could leave you predictable.
Here are the basic steps of the Rear Leg Heel Push Kick laid out in a horizontal fashion as a quick reference guide. You may get the poster size of this by clicking on the picture.
Now that you have the basic steps, you must practice them and refine your technique. Get those motor skills programmed in and fine tune the mechanics. As I said before, I would work with an instructor on the details because there are a lot of details in between each step and far beyond the scope of this guide.