Monday, 7 December 2009

Kicks for Self Defence

Street fights are normally quick, explosive and intense situations. Usually they are finished before anyone has the chance to call for help and in today’s day and age, the use of weapons to ones advantage is becoming ever more a harsh reality. So because of these reasons, are kicks for self defense worth executing?

Well firstly, most of us should know that kicks are more powerful than punches. By watching a heavy bag kicked, then punched, one can quickly see this. The legs are much larger than the arms (usually) and this leads to a more powerful strike with them, and in a street environment, where the possibility of multiple opponents is common, one must quickly be able to take one person out in order to deal with the next, or run which is always a better choice.

High kicks should be the last thing in ones mind however when concerned about street fighting. One simply does not have time or space in order to execute them. Now, im sure that you may have seen once or twice a street fight, either in reality or on the internet where high kicks have been effective for self defense, and sometimes it does happen. I have seen such videos. However, I have also seen hundreds more videos where one does not have the time or space to execute high kicks and if tried, could possible leave one in a lot of danger.

So does this rule kicks for self defense out? Certainly not! Maybe high kicks yes, but who said that kicks have to be high. If you are someone who has always used kicks above the waist, then welcome to the world of slightly more realistic and punishing kicks.

Firstly think about the fact that there are plenty of low targets for one to aim at. The groin, the knees, the shins, the feet (which can be stomped), the thighs and if one has the time and space, the hip bone. There are so many targets to choose from.

Then think about the fact that one will possibly be wearing shoes in a street fight. These shoes may have hard soles or hard toe caps which will only make stomps and kicks more effective.

Then also think about the fact that the hands can be used to control. In the dojo/gym, or in a competition or a ring/cage fight, against a skilled opponent, it is very rare that one will be able to control there opponent with there hands whilst delivering leg techniques (apart from in the clinch) but on the street , against a untrained thug who will probably not know your intentions, and when, chances are, you are very close in to your opponent, you may be able to grip, claw, hair pull, eye gauge etc with your hands, will stomping, kneeing, or kicking your opponents low targets. In a sporting event, this would get one disqualified for sure, but on the streets, it may be required to survive.

Kicks do have a place for the street, but one must realistically incorporate them. Kicks found in films may work once or even twice, but to think that they shall work all the time is very wishful and one would do better to think about, start training and start incorporating low, more realistic kicks into there street self defense training.

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Neal Martin said...

Hi Mark. Good post. I have used kicks before in self defense situations, more or less without thinking. I think if you are predisposed to kicking in the dojo a lot then that will carry over into a live situation. They can be very effective, and in one case a round house to a guy's ribs put him off persisting with his attack. they can show that you are not to be messed with and can make opponents think twice before attacking you again. They are also good for striking from a distance if you don't want to get too close. Like you say though, caution must be exercised when using them.

John W. Zimmer said...

Hi Mark,

I agree with all of your points but I'd add that kicking range if farther than punching range. If one uses distance to his advantage, he does not have to put himself in harms way, while for instance, fighting off a kinfe attack (using body, hip, shoulder fakes and surprise to pull off the kicks without getting cut).

Good post!

SenseiMattKlein said...

I also agree that kicks have their place in a good martial artists arsenal. If you get knocked down you can still kick the attackers shin, knees, and groin from the ground. Women in particular have much less power than men in the upper body, but I have some 14-year old girl students who could put a man in the hospital with their kicks. Head-high kicks are too risky as they are easy to counter, but if you have your opponent on the ropes, why not?

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