So we have seen a few sample techniques, mobilising our upper limbs to bring the fight to an early end and overcome our opponent. We will now focus on another set of weapons available in our arsenal: the legs. The interest of leg techniques resides in two factors:
The striking power
With larger muscle groups, developed by carrying our bodyweight all day long and exercise, the kicks inflict much more damage in one hit than punches. Targeting the legs is a good way to neutralize your opponent or knock him off balance. One leg crossed out, fight’s over.
The safety of the distance
Longer limbs allow you to strike from a reasonable length, without exposing yourself to the opponent’s punches, and even from his kicks if he is shorter than you. Keeping your opponent at a safe distance with kicks allows you to catch your breath or plan your next attack.
Kicking techniques are legions and each one have an interest, but I will share with you those four, because of their simplicity and their efficiency:
1. The question mark kick
This technique uses diversion and leads to a kick to the opponent’s head.
Those guys break it down for you:
2. The lateral kick to the kneecap
This one is not fit for competition, as it is a self defense move. Its primary goal is to disable your attacker by damaging, and possibly fracturing, his kneecap. It is even more efficient if you are wearing shoes with a hard sole.
3. The sweep of the opponent’s front foot
The timing is the most important part of this technique.
History’s human weapon did a pretty decent job describing this technique:
4. The Thai inside sweep
This one is a beauty. You inflict pain and you sow the seed of doubt in your opponent’s mind. All courtesy of the Kingdom of Siam.
I will let the lads demonstrate:
Kicks are energy demanding but efficient. They must be used with care. I almost never strike to the head as an experienced fighter can usually read the trajectory of a kick. Another big issue is that high kicks leave your groin exposed.
As I said before, you must practice regularly and under the supervision of a qualified teacher. For shin conditioning, I recommend hitting the heavy bag, rolling a bottle or a rolling pin on them a few times a week or for our friends leaving in tropical climates, testing the banana tree kicking. The goal is not to break your tibias but to slowly toughen them up. It is paramount to train both legs. It takes time and Tong Po is only a movie character.
“But what if the other guy is so close that I can’t kick or punch him?” I am glad you asked. Part III of our series is coming soon with the standing throws that will send your foes flying.