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 Two; Your Intended Kicking Application:
How do you intend to apply your kick or kicks? Are you using them to set-up another technique, or are you using them as a finishing technique? Are you applying them at a low section, midsection, or high section level? Lets take a look at each one of these possibilities.
As a Set-Up Technique:
Are you using your kick as a way to distract or off-balance your opponent in an effort to close the distance and set-up a more effective technique? This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. For example; executing a low section kick in order to draw your opponents attention away from punches intended for the head, or kicking low section in order to off-balance your opponent as you shoot in and go for a takedown. The combinations are virtually endless.
My instructors were always adamant about telling me to use my kicks to set-up my hands and my hands to set-up my kicks. This is very sound and practical advice.
As a Finishing Technique:
Are you using your kick as a finishing technique after already setting-up and hurting your opponent with something else? This too can be accomplished in a variety of ways. For example; utilizing a left jab followed by a right cross to the head, with a low roundhouse kick to the outside of the opponents thigh or knee to finish him off, or utilizing the same hand combination followed by a kick to the groin. The combinations that are available to you in order to use your kicks as a finishing technique are virtually endless.
Regardless of how you utilize your kicks, they should be executed in such a way that they are never seen by your opponent until after they have already hit him.
Kicking Low Section:
I consider low section kicks to be kicks applied to anywhere from the level of the thigh down to and including the foot itself.
One of the best reasons to initially kick low as a set-up technique is to redirect your opponents attention from you to the pain he is now feeling somewhere on his leg or foot. This will have a tendency to not only make your opponent more hesitant to attack, but it also opens up his head for you to attack with your hands.
Kicking at a low section level, although still balancing on one leg, is a lot more stable than kicking at a midsection or high section level. This minimizes the risk to you while still allowing you to use your more powerful weapons, your legs.
In general, it is harder for your opponent to see a low section kick coming than it is a midsection or high section kick. Of course this is all relative to the skill of the person kicking.
I consider midsection kicks to be kicks applied to anywhere on the body (front, back, and sides) from the level of the groin to the height of the solar plexus.
One of the best reasons to kick to the midsection is after already hitting your opponent with one or two punches to the head. This usually disorients him enough to allow you the opportunity to land a kick to the groin or solar plexus which can effectively end the fight.
A very important point to remember when kicking at a midsection or high section level is the ease in which your opponent can grab your kicking leg if you dont execute your kick correctly by returning your kicking leg to the ground faster than when it came off the ground when you first initiated the kick. I guarantee you that you do not want to be hopping around on one foot while your opponent is holding on to the other. Doing so will result in nothing but pain and embarrassment for the kicker.
Kicking High Section:
For the most part, I do not recommend kicking at a high section level and will go so far as to say that 99% of the time it should not be done. However, like anything, there is that 1% of the time that it can and does work effectively. Whether a high section kick is effective or not is primarily determined by the skill level of the kicker. Although there are other extenuating factors involved that are generally not under the control of the kicker. These factors will be discussed in the third article in the series.
Like the old saying goes, Its better to be safe than sorry. This applies very appropriately to the use of high section kicks in a self-defense situation. Therefore, for the most part, I recommend limiting the use of your kicks to low and midsection levels.
The next article in this series will deal with the third of ten components needed to kick effectively in a combat or self-defense situation. That component is, The Environment.