How To Kick Why You Should Never Kick Above The Waist

The essentials of a kick are stability, targeting and recovery; to which training adds focus and no broken toes. Wilhout a stable stance from which to kick you arc only adding to your personal danger in street fighting.

Once again the movies have been very guilty in over familiarizing the Martial Arts through their portrayal of living Ninjas and flying backward kicks. Real street fighting is just so different. In fact, if there were rules to Street Fighting one would certainly be that you always kick below* the belt. For your own safety you should never attempt high, flashy kicks. When they fail you will feel silly and when your opponent lands a slammer through your open defence you will feel sick. Any opponent who uses high kicks on the street has obviously had no real experience and you should try to be nice to them

Remember, kicks should always be below the waist and preferably be at foot or shin level. The higher you try to kick the more unstable you arc likely to become.

Knowing where to kick is useful but knowing how to kick is essential for both causing and avoiding injury. In an ideal world you would have remembered to put on your size 12 steel toe capped boots before fighting, but alas ... you find yourself bare foot.

Martial Arts emphasise the importance of correct kicking not only for power but also for safely. It is remarkably easy to break your own toe when kicking an opponent... and rather awkward.

•All kicks arc delivered from the ball or heel of the foot with the toes raised up and out of harm's way. Kick like this and you will find kicking opponents remarkably painless, whilst your target will think he has been hit by a hammer.

•The next essential to a successful kick is recovery. Recovery means kicking and getting your foot back from the action without your opponent grabbing it or losing your balance. The higher the kick then the longer or less likely is your recovery and until you have recovered you are not able to nail the next one on him.

• If an opponent aims a high kick at you, try to grab hold of his leg. If you can do this he is then at your mercy. Running at him while forcing his leg upwards will floor him

• Being so solid, parts of the legs arc also good for defence. The femur (thigh bone) is the strongest bone in the body and is protected by substantial muscle groups which can take a fair amount of pounding. Any kicks aimed here will be absorbed relatively unnoticed. Bringing the femur op and across the groin is a basic self defence move to protect that region from attack.

• Unlike the fearless femur the knee can give aggression but is not too good at absorbing it. This is because the knee is a one way ball and socket joint limited in forward motion by the patella (kneecap) and backward motion by the calf and thigh muscles. Rather like the elbow it is superbly-strong when used at the right angle, but hates being abused or twisted in the wrong direction.

• Any effective attack to the knee will be from the side. A suitable knife edge kick, snap kick, or similar size 12 incoming will stretch and tear the assembly sideways resulting in incredible pain and a lop sided feeling.

• The effective defence to this ball popping, joint snapping missile is to roll your knee in and absorb the impact on the back. This move is worth practising and remembering.

• The shins arc very resilient to direct kicking but hurt like hell if they arc scraped with the heels or soles of a shoe. Many defence books will tell you to try and scrape your attacker's shins to cscapc from a bear hug, but this can be difficult.

A much belter dcfence for anyone grabbed in a bear hug from behind and lifted is to try running. It doesn't matter that your feet are off the ground but as your legs try and run they will hit your attacker. This, coupled with tin: sheer surprise of what you arc doing will result in the hug being released. If you try this release then remember to put your hands out in front of you. When you are dropped you will be projected forwards and should aim to land in a sprinters' crouch, the ideal position from which to run away (after all if they are big enough to lift you up in a bear hug why hang around?)

• Bringing the heel down on to the top of the foot is also a good release defence but it needs to be done with focus. You must raise your knee towards your chin before unleashing a blood curdling cry and focusing the energy of your heel downwards and through your aggressor's foot.

It's nice to be able to do fancy kicks because they impress your friends, but in street fighting you're not out to impress ... only to be effective!

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