The leg kick isn’t as sexy a technique as a superman punch or a spinning heel kick to the head, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore it!
It’s been proven in countless Muay Thai kickboxing and MMA matches, and definitely has it’s applications in the street as well.
Low kicks have one HUGE advantage over kicks to the body or the head in that they don’t need the same level of flexibility and/or warmup that the higher kicks require. Even if you’re 50 years old and just rolled out of bed you should still be able to kick someone in the knee or the thigh!
Also low kicks are less risky than higher kicks because it’s much harder (though not impossible) for your opponent to grab them.
There are different types of low kicks, including sidekicks, oblique kicks, foot stomps, and foot sweeps. But the most common low kick – and the one we’re going to be talking about today – is definitely the low round kick with the shin to the outside of your opponent’s thigh.
This is a reliable attack in self defense because it’s a large, gross motor movement that doesn’t require as much fine motor and targeting skills as the other kicks. Basically in the low shin kick your leg turns into a baseball bat swinging through space and no matter where your opponent’s leg is your shin is going to crash into it.
Now notice that I said ‘shin’ and not ‘instep’!
In fact the most common mistake with the low round kick is to slap him with your instep rather than impacting with your shin. You should be looking for a dull thudding sound of your shin cutting into the meat of his thigh rather than a slapping sound which means you’ve made impact with your instep.
Try this with a friend: let him kick your outer thigh twice, once with the instep and once with the mid-shin area. You’ll find that getting hit with the shin hurts WAY more than getting hit with the instep.
(And the legal ramifications of temporarily paralysing someone’s leg with a low kick are quite different from knocking them out with punch and them dying from the ‘second hit‘ as they fall to the pavement.)
Now it’s true that a streetfight isn’t a 3 round MMA match or a 5 round MMA match. That means you might not have the time to gradually pummel your opponent’s legs into non-functionality. However you can paralyse your opponent’s leg with one really good shot, especially if he’s not conditioned to the damage.
But even if you don’t take out his leg you can still use the low round kick to distract your opponent (hit them low so they drop their guard, then attack them high)…
Or the pain from a low blow could convince him that you know what you’re doing and dissuade him from further aggression…
And if you use your kick correctly it can sweep him off his feet and act like a takedown…
And finally, if your kick is very powerful, you can actually break bones in your opponent’s leg.
We had a bunch of leg kick examples from MMA and kickboxing in the highlight video at the top of this article. So let’s finish with a couple of video examples of this technique getting used in the street…
At 44 seconds into this video a bouncer unleashes a ‘sucker leg kick’ on a drunk patron that completely takes him off his feet. I’m not saying whether he was in the right or not, but it was undeniably effective…
And at about 20 seconds in this video a not-very-powerful leg kick destabilises one of the combatants long enough for the other guy to throw a KO haymaker to the head…
Alright, so when something works in kickboxing, MMA, and the street then you’ve got to start taking it seriously!
Time to start including some low risk, high reward low kicks in your arsenal.
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