Do kicks have a place in self defence?
We think martial arts, we think kicking, punching, snapping and cracking! We think Bruce Lee literally kicking the crap out of multiple opponents, flying kicks and massive Ki-ai’s! We look at the Olympics and Taekwondo and see all sorts of wonderful kicks where legs get wrapped around people’s heads twice round in a split second. Basically kicks are awesome, impressive and a massive feature of the martial arts. What about self defence though? Do kicks have a place or will they land you in more trouble than their worth?
Me, personally, I’m not a massive fan of kicks. I’ve never used one in a real altercation but I can see their application if done right. I don’t use them as I’m no good at them basically. But what about the guys and girls who are good at them, the Taekwondo practitioners, the Karate experts, where do you guys stand on this?
Low level kicks up to about waist height I can see the advantage of. People normally won’t be expecting it, and a well timed outside leg kick to the knee or thigh can easily put someone out of action for quite a while. Look at some of the UFC guys leg’s after a fight, black, blue and difficult to put weight on. Waist kicks and front kicks, again I can see the practicalities of. The leg is longer than the arm and so is therefore great for getting a strike in early and creating distance, which as I’ve repeatedly said, I believe to be one of the main principles to take from martial arts and into self defence. Distance is everything and leg kicks can certainly keep the opponent at a distance if done correctly (even for me who’s the height of a borrower).
Effective use of leg kick here, low risk, high result
Any higher than the waist and I think we’re in danger territory. Kicks here are easier to telegraph, leave you off balance on one leg for longer and in general are just far riskier in my opinion. Even if I had studied head kicks and kicks above waist level for many years, I would still be reluctant to use one in real life as there are just too many what ifs? What if I don’t connect? What if I do connect? What if they grab my leg? Personally for me, I want both feet to be on the ground and planted as much as possible.
There’s also the practicalities. If you aren’t wearing shorts or loose training gear, as well as being properly warmed up, high kicks can be near impossible. Imagine attempting a high kick and not only missing but also pulling you leg muscle…not cool… If you’re a Justin Bieber wannabe and wear skinny jeans, its going to be difficult simply walking, let alone throwing a leg kick regardless of where it is. If you do wear skinny jeans though you may be deserving of a kick or two… 😛
So me personally, not a fan of leg kicks for self defence, but only because I’m no good at them, am as flexible as Jeremy Clarkson’s views on the Argentinians and see too much risk involved. Have people used leg kicks in real altercations? Have they worked? Have they gone horribly wrong?