Low Kicking for Self Defense!

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Self-defense
3 May 2009

6 Responses to “Low Kicking for Self Defense!”

  1. Neal Martin Says:

    Hey John. I agree with what you are saying about using the low kicks for self-defense purposes. To my mind a low kick to the leg or groin is one of the most effective self-defense techniques there is. Not only does it allow you to strike from a relatively safe distance (as opposed to stepping in to punch) it is also quick and, as you say, is effective against even bigger opponents.

    At the same time, I wouldn’t write of the high kicks altogether. I have used them a couple of times without really thinking and they have worked. In one instance the other guy backed of when he realized I could do that. Not something I would ever intentionally do again, but sometimes you just react and that’s that.

    If you are practiced enough and fast enough you can make high kicks (especially of the front leg) work for you. Some of my best techniques are high kicks so I would never dismiss them as being useless. At the same time I would never recommend them for self-defense purposes either. Why take the risk?

    I’m also glad you recommended staying relaxed while kicking to facilitate speed. I make the same suggestion in an article on kicking I wrote for my blog (Urban Samurai). People too often miss the importance of keeping relaxed while kicking so it’s nice to know someone else feels the same way.

    Great blog! I’ll continue to read your stuff!

  2. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Neil,
    You are right about the using the high kicks without really thinking. I found when I was a doorman for 2 years, I would fight like a was sparring. The good thing is I was in great shape and fighting guys with beer muscle!

    I took a look at your blog and it looks like good information!

  3. Are High Kicks Pointless? | urbansamurai.org.uk Says:

    […] this article after reading something that John Zimmer posted on his My Self Defense blog. John wrote an article extolling the virtues of the low kick whilst also more or less dismissing the high kick as being of little value in most situations. So I […]

  4. Zara Says:

    I think high kicks could work but only against inexperienced opponents or in cases of severe disparity in skill between the two fighters. If you’re up against an experienced opponent or against someone whose style is very low-kick orientated (even if they haven’t been training for very long) you’ll lose and self-defense situations this usually means you’ll be demolished (kick someone in the knee or groin and he’s basically at your mercy). That being said against drunken people or the untrained nearly everything will work and a high-kick that does connect is a very cool sight. In our dojo (I train in modern ju-jutsu with elements of other styles, especially various types of kickboxing) we only use low-kicks and since we do not spend the majority of our training kickboxing the kicks that are used in application are nearly always variants of the snapping front-kick, either to the knee or groin. This works especially well against high-kicks (as you said evade and kick the groin from underneath, if you have any training in it there’s very little he can do about it), another tactic we use is catching the leg and performing a throw. Since most kickers do not know how to break-fall properly and fights usually occur on the street (which means landing on a hard surface) this would be pretty devastating, that’s even without any follow-ups (strikes to the groin, leglocks).

    Of course if he’s very good and throws punching-combinations combined with feints and kicks (both high and low) you’ll be in trouble but then again fighting against a trained opponent is always risky and difficult. If you are going to use high-kicks I would advise first checking your opponent’s skill and reaction-time (feint a few times and see what he does) and never use them as stand-alone techniques. A jab-cross combination followed by a high roundhouse has resulted in quite a few knock-outs in the ring so I’d imagine there’s a relatively high chance you’ll be able to pull it off in the streets too but I’d still be careful. If you’re wearing heavy trousers or boots it’ll be more difficult and chances are you’ll be tired or intoxicated and this combined with the lack of a proper warm-up will make your attack slower. Is it possible? Yes, Is it safe? Hardly.

  5. Urban Samurai Says:

    Some excellent points made there. High kicking in jeans is probably not a good idea. Neither is doing so while drunk. Well argued.

  6. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Zara, All good points!

    Hey Neil, Spot on!