Under: karate, Self-defense
30 Sep 2012

When I was a kid – I remember “accidentally” kicking a cousin in the nuts as we were fighting. Sure I did it on purpose but it was only a tap. My poor cousin was rolling around on the ground and several generations of males at the family gathering were frowning at me. My dad took me aside and told me (this was a different time), “John – only girls kick.”


Well now in the post-boxing era – kicking is a generally accepted form of fighting. There are many fighting methods and no real acceptance of “the right way to fight.” One guy might favor boxing, another karate, and yet another jiu-jitsu. Each martial artist thinks they have an edge over the other.


The question in this post based on the popularity of sport fighting (boxing, mma, judo, wrestling…) – would you use a groin kick in a fight – or do you even know how?


Heh heh… I can see it now. I’ll get a lot of comments from the salty old dogs like me saying of-course! And a bunch more that are luke warm to the idea since they never train with them.


When I watch fighting on TV – it all seems fake to me – even my beloved kick boxing because in a real fight there would be no high kicks, rolling around on the ground or even forward fighting stances (unless they had iron cajones). In a real fight where you could do what you wanted to do (assuming you trained for it) – fights would last a couple of minutes – tops. If you were only fighting one guy – maybe seconds because one groin kick would end it. [no – there is no such thing as a super man that can take a good shot to the nuts unless he is on PCP.]


When I was coming up the ranks – I soon learned who I could get-away with kicking high. In tourneys it was cool to kick your opponent in the head – not because you got more points (I did not in open tournaments) but  because it was a decisive strike that had a lot of power if you needed it!


Whenever I fought some guys – they would nail me with a scoop kick to the nuts whenever I kicked high. Even with the wrap-around cups – that hurt! So I soon learned who I could not kick high on.


The key-learning is in self-defense – one cannot throw kicks above the waist unless the other guy doesn’t know what he is doing (I don’t like to depend on my opponents mistakes). Now there is another reason to keep kicks low – Wrestling or Jiu-Jitsu. Both martial arts can take advantage of high kicks and either use the kick for leverage or kick out your supporting leg.


Now as a former wrestler in school and dabbling in jiu-jitsu a few years ago – I have always had the highest respect for the ground fighter. Why one of my hardest fights while working the door was against a wrestler. The thing is once you go down to the ground – you are fresh meat for anyone’s buddies to kick you in the head. In my experience you often do not know how many people you are fighting before you have to start.


Even if you are a ground fighter – in self-defense – use your standing skills (hopefully you have some) because in real fights – going to the street is not good (unless you are lucky).


What about those muay thai, boxing, kick boxing, or mma forward stances? They are cool for developing a lot of power for kicks and punches but only if you have a gentlemen’s agreement to avoid the family jewels.


My last point is the old addage that you fight the way you train is true! If you do just sport martial arts without throwing in some point fighting or at least doing that in the gym – chances are you will fight the way you train… if that is without groin kicks – then no groin kicks.


I will say any world class fighters in any martial art will get by since they are at the top of their game… it is the rest of us mortals that have to train the way we expect to fight!


What do you think? By the way my answer is Yes – I would (and have) kicked the nuts in a fight and Yes I know how!



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13 Responses to “Groin Kicks – Will you use them in a fight?”

  1. Greg Says:

    Sure I’d kick anyone in the groin if I needed to, but just like anything else, I wouldn’t rely on it. I have, in fact, given a full on punt to the family jewels and my opponent was not even fazed. Drugs were not involved, just adrenaline.

    I’d rather use groin shots as a way of keeping my opponent “honest”, so to speak.

  2. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Greg – I’d rely on the kick as much as anything else I guess… meaning I always strike what is open. I used to love the groin jab or jab groin combos to bridge the gap.

    yep Honest is good – better than never never land. :)

  3. Dr. J Says:

    Prior to my Tracy days, groin kicks were a no-no.

    I remember that first time with Jim. He was demonstrating the flip kick to the groin with me. He said, “I’m going to kick you in the groin with my front leg. Are you ready to block it?” Bam, he hit me there!! Wow, that was fast!! Soon I was doing it that way (and the scoop kick too):-)

    Groin became a primary target for me after that, with careful success in tournaments, and very satisfying success when forced to defend myself against bullies that didn’t know when to back off!
    Dr. J recently posted..Lab Notes: Obese Kids Have Less Sensitive Taste Buds; Doctors Grow New Ear on Woman’s ArmMy Profile

  4. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Dr. J! It is good to see a kindred spirit’s experiences.

    I was surprised at the flip kick when I first came to Tracy’s. It’s faster than a shuffle wheel kick and packs a wallop!

    I always enjoyed fighting someone in a forward stance (until they learned). The other thing I noticed a lot with some formal styles is they did not cover their ribs… I showed them my side-kick.

    Its kind of funny but I don’t remember using groin kicks much when I was working the door… I guess I was holding off using the big guns in case.

  5. Matt Klein Says:

    Back in the day when groin kicks were allowed in tournaments, we all learned how to use them well, especially the flip kick as Dr. J above talks about. Not only did it work against high roundhouses, you could also come underneath a side kick and land a point, that loud “pop” could not be mistaken. And sometimes you could tell you really put some pain into your opponent.

    But I will add, that like Greg above says, with adrenaline (or drugs), there is a good chance your opponent will not feel it. I personally have been kicked there during a fight, and kept on going, and no drugs were involved. I have also seen demos where guys were kicked full power there and it did not affect them. It might affect people differently.

    I almost believe a good Thai kick to the legs is more debilitating, as you can see the effects in MMA if a guy is unable to check the kick. Man that does hurt, and takes awhile to get used to.
    Matt Klein recently posted..Left-handers in Martial Arts | Advantage or Disadvantage?My Profile

  6. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Matt! We had much of the same experiences at tourneys… the quick flip kick – back knuckle – reverse punch would win the day.

    Nice to know at least two guys with iron nuts now. :)

    I should say that if a kick was partially covered by the thigh (you know the side stance one had to fight to avoid the power of wheel kicks) – one could take some shots to the family jewels.

    I remember some guys that used to brag they could suck their nuts up at will – you know like small boys could – to avoid the power of ball kicks or even guys that would say they could toughen their nuts up with increasing force kicks (I think I read this in black belt mag one time). I’m not sure I would agree with either strategy as a good defense – even if possible.

    So while we are probably not in agreement about the stopping power of a good nut kick – I would take the slow but powerful thai leg kick any day over the quick scoop kick to my nuts. :)

    I guess my secret “Achilles heel” is out now… I don’t have iron nuts. :)

  7. David Hays Says:

    I say YES to the kicks to the groin. It makes them drop their hand just enough to use a jab (back-fist) and sets up so many other techniques. As stated above it keeps those high kickers honest

  8. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Dave! Boy do I remember your combos… and yes you do believe in groin kicks! :)

    For those who have never seen us fight – Dave and I were equal opportunity strikers… it did not matter what kick or punch or angle we would attack from – just that we attacked.

    And Dave (like me) was good at connecting with whatever one was open for (groin – bread basket – face) – with either hand or foot – it did not matter.

    So many guys have a favorite technique but Dave had all of the tools – you could not relax one bit.

  9. David hays Says:

    Thanks John,
    For those who read this blog I want to tell you all that John Zimmer was pound per pound one of the best and most effective fighters I ever had the pleasure to work with. He was fast and hit hard. Work-outs with John always improved my skills. He was the first of five fighters I had to fight as part of my 1st Degree Black Belt test. John and I had worked out and been friends for years at the time so I was expecting my good buddy to cut me some slack. WRONG! He made me earn the belt and I thank him for that.

  10. Zara Says:

    I only train for self-defense so we generally only kick low: the prime targets are the shin (not in itself a fight ender but great at creating openings), the knee (devestating), the tigh and the groin. The groin kick is quick, safe, fast and fairly difficult to block (especially if you’re in the wrong stance). At the very least kicking him low will provide an opening for strikes to the head so in my opinion the most effective strategy in a fight would be to strike high and kick low and vice versa. As soon as you get a hit in I’d clinch and employ knees, elbows and grappling techniques like quick takedowns. I believe if you’re facing a trained fighter (especially the sports variant) your best bet would be to kick his groin or knee since most people simply don’t train to defend against those attacks. For SD attacks to the groin (kicks, slaps, knees) are of prime importance in reducing differences in height, weight and strength: kick a man in the groin and he’ll naturally bend forward providing you with the perfect opportunity to knock him out and muscles or training don’t matter when you get them good. On the attack the groinkick pretty much functions the same way as a jab: as an opener and a feeler, with the exception that a good kick to the nuts can actually stop a fight completely.

    As to the practical aspects of it: obviously groinkicking isn’t very difficult but most people tend to forget that speed is more important than power so winding up is a bad idea. Just be quick and nimble and always kick with the front foot for maximum surprise effect. It’s possible to spar using groinkicks but caution should be taken given the extreme vulnerability of the area and the fact that cups only lessen the blow they don’t stop it. For those of us who still want children someday: it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  11. Richelieu Williams Says:

    Years ago I took a break from a house party and went out to my car to get more beer. I ran into a little hottie and started up a conversation. As I walked her back inside her man came flying out of the house at me.
    To make a long story short, I proceeded to tatter his face with punch after punch. I was pretty skinny back then so I couldn’t knock him out. He got tired of me embarrassing him with my barrage of jabs to the grill. He decided to charge me and try to take me down.
    I was so tired of fighting by then. I knew I didn’t want to wrestle this guy. The only thing I could think of while he was coming at me was planting my foot in his nutsack. I was successful.
    Needless to say he went down like a ton of bricks. If I had to do it all over again the only thing I would have done different is kick him harder. So dont feel bad about kickin your buddy. Anyone who engages in a fight deserves anything they get.

  12. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Zara! You make some excellent points. One I’d like to echo is that speed is more important that power. When I used to fight point karate – the rules were kiss contact to the head and full contact to the body. Since everyone else was focused on the head shots – I found it easy to stop opponents with a good body punch. Relaxing, pivoting and follow though the target (without fear of disqualification was one of my signature moves)…

    People that did not understand the power of a quick flip kick or counter punch – were easy targets and even easier in a real fight (where beer muscle is your chief opponent).

    Hey Richelieu, Great point about attackers deserving anything they get. While I try to respond in kind – especially living in California where the law uses a “reasonable man” standard, I good groin kick only takes one.

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