This ten article series will deal with the various components that need to be addressed when considering the utilization of a particular kick in a combat or self-defense situation. These ten components can also be used by the tournament competitor although certain segments would have to be modified slightly for the tournament aspects of kicking, rather than the more intensive nature of using a kick or kicks in combat. Although all of these individual components are important, they are most effective when combined together and utilized correctly when executing a kick.
Although I will only be discussing one of the components in this article, here is the complete list of all ten of them.
1. Your Kicking Ability
2. Your Intended Application
3. The Environment
5. Striking Implement
6. Striking the Correct Target
7. Initial Impact
9. Retraction or Follow Through
10. Return to Fighting Position
Component One; Your Kicking Ability:
Your kicking ability is just that, your kicking ability. Not your perceived kicking ability, but your actual reality based kicking ability. This may be a hard pill to swallow, but you may not have the ability to utilize all of those flashy spinning and flying kicks effectively in an actual self-defense situation. Now the good news, if you can realize this and accept it, then you are off to a lot better start than most people who like to kick. Awareness is the key to survival, and nothing is more important than self-awareness.
Now there are a lot of self-defense experts out there than dont advocate kicking at all in a self-defense situation. However, when you do a little research into why they believe this, most of the time you will find out that they had a bad experience and/or witnessed a bad experience with someone who tried kicking and ended up getting the worst end of the beating. This is almost certainly due to a lack of proper knowledge not only of how to kick, but also the who, what, where, when, and why of correctly applying a kick. Which unfortunately seems to be fairly common with a lot of the McDojos that are so prevalent in todays society. These articles will help clear up some if not all of those problems.
For as many of the self-defense experts that are out there that dont advocate kicking, there are many more that do, although they recommend that you should never kick above waist high. For the most part this is very sound and intelligent advice, and should be adhered to for the most part by everyone. However, like every known rule or law, there are exceptions. For those few individuals out there who are truly gifted in the art of kicking you can, with careful planning and intelligence, execute kicks to a standing opponents head with amazing results. I know Ive done just that on numerous occasions.
Now how do you know just how good you are at kicking? Well, first and foremost unless you are a truly perceptive and honest person with yourself, you can forget about asking yourself. If you do, youll probably be able to execute any one of a dozen or more jump spinning kicks taking out as many as two dozen ninja villains before your feet ever touch back down on the ground. Way to go Hollywood!
The first person you should consult with is your instructor. If he is qualified and competent (you shouldnt be with him or her if they arent) he will be able to fully assess your ability and give you his honest and forthright opinion. The next group of people you should speak with is your senior classmates. They too should be able to give you their assessment of your kicking abilities.
Now after you have spoken with your instructor and your senior classmates, you can then talk to yourself. Now I dont recommend doing this in a public place or your liable to end up getting a visit from the large men dressed in white carrying the butterfly net and the canvas jacket with extra long sleeves. What I do recommend is a private time of self-reflection where you can honestly evaluate your own abilities.
Here is a list of the important items that I feel you need to look at when considering what level your kicking ability is at.
1. Length of time spent learning those kicking skills.
2. The degree of flexibility that you have in your legs.
3. The amount of power that you are able to generate with your kicks.
4. Your ability to execute every aspect of those kicks correctly from start to finish.
5. Your own past experiences in actual fights, not sparring in the dojo or at a tournament.
6. Your ability to effectively and consistently land a kick on a training partner anywhere from the waist down without them seeing it even after it hits them.
7. Your ability to execute that very same kick without telegraphing it.
8. Your attitude towards being confronted with a violent situation.
9. Your overall physical condition.
10. Your ability to use your brain intelligently.
One of the best training aids that I have ever used and still do is a large full length mirror. I have used a mirror to train with ever since I first started taking lessons over 25 years ago. It is without a doubt the most important piece of training equipment that you can use, if it is used correctly. What you want to do is to stand in front of the mirror in a fighting position. Then without thinking about it, execute a kick at your reflection in the mirror. Now a word of caution, make sure you are back far enough from the mirror that you arent going to actually hit it. This can not only be dangerous to yourself and be very expensive, but you could also end up with seven years of bad luck. If you believe in that sort of thing.
When you can stand in front of the mirror and execute a kick, or any technique for that matter, without telegraphing it then youre starting to make some real progress. This is not an easy thing to do, but you can do it. It just takes a lot of time, hard work, and proper instruction.
The next article in this series will deal with the second of ten components needed to kick effectively in a combat or self-defense situation. That component is, Your Intended Kicking Application.