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

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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

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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

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When he’ll wake up, he will wonder where it came from.

This technique uses diversion and leads to a kick to the opponent’s head.
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1. It all starts by faking a front or low circular kick, making the opponent lower his guard, rendering his upper body vulnerable

Capture d’écran (479)

2. Then quickly turning to the side and switching the trajectory of the leg to aim at the opponent’s head

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3. The ideal two options would be to hit the cheek or the chin with the talus bone (ankle joint), or if you are at a closer range, the whole face with the lower part of your shinbone

 Those guys break it down for you:

2. The lateral kick to the kneecap

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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.
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1. The kick in the kneecap was one of Bruce Lee’s favourite. As you can observe from his personal sketches, the first step is to fake a punch to make your opponent focus on your upper body

2. Then cock back your leg as if it were a spring, to give all the possible power to the kick

2. Then cock back your leg as if it were a spring, to give all the possible power to the kick

3. Strike with all your strength with the heel or the side of your foot if you are wearing shoes. Use the sole if you are not.

3. Strike with all your strength with the heel or the side of your foot if you are wearing shoes. Use the sole if you are not

3. The sweep of the opponent’s front foot

The timing is the most important part of this technique.

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1. You must catch the opponent as he steps towards you to launch his attack. You have to catch the side of his foot just before it touches the ground, when his weight is transferring from the rear to the front, like the fighter on the left of the picture

2. Launch a circular movement, turning with your hips to give greater power. Catch the side of his foot with the sole of yours. It is a similar mation as the judo throw Ko Soto Gari

2. Launch a circular movement, turning with your hips to give greater power. Catch the side of his foot with the sole of yours. It is a similar motion as in the judo throw Ko Soto Gari

3. You can achieve greater success by pulling the opponent's lead arm or pushing his shoulders towards the ground

3. You can achieve greater success by pulling the opponent’s lead arm, or pushing his shoulder, towards the ground

4. you can follow up by striking your opponent on the ground in order to end the fight

4. You can follow up by striking your opponent on the ground in order to end the fight

History’s human weapon did a pretty decent job describing this technique:

4. The Thai inside sweep

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 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.
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1. This move ideally starts after you caught the leg of the opponent after a middle kick attempt. You will lock his foot under your arm, maintaining him sideways

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2. You will then kick the back of his calf with your shin in a circular motion, while pulling the leg you caught towards the sky and the outside

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3. It is has a double use for you. The opponent is on the ground, vulnerable to your attacks. The fall also desorientates him, especially if he falls on the back of his head

I will let the lads demonstrate:

Au boulot!

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.