Sparring Hip Kick and Other Low Kicks

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: karate, Self-defense
18 Mar 2014

5 Responses to “Sparring Hip Kick and Other Low Kicks”

  1. Dr. J Says:

    Excellent practical advise! From my limited experience what you suggest has worked for me. Whenever I have watched MMA, I look to see what leads to referee stoppages to allow the injured fighter to recover. Seems accidental groin strikes are the most common. If fighters could block them from their forward stance, I’m sure they would!

  2. Zara Says:

    I definitely agree standing too square on your opponent is dangerous: in JKD the bai-jong or on guard stance (also called fighting stance) consists of angling the front foot 45° so as to make it more difficult for the opponent to target the groin (a quick defense against this would be to simply lift the knee into the attack or just turn further and let him hit the tigh) while the upper body stays fairly square with the lead shoulder slightly turned towards him. For me this is the ideal stance since it protects the groin and allows for using the hands in defense and in boxing combo’s while retaining mobility for kicking.

    As to low kicks: in JKD low kicks are the rule, you’re discouraged from kicking high since this is easier to counter and once your leg is caught you’re going down. The only time I’ve seen them taught is when he’s running from you (you succesfully attacked or counterattacked and he’s backing up from boxing into kicking range). Bruce Lee was quite fond of using kicks as interception tools (called stop kicks in JKD), especially with the sidekick from the front leg, and it is pretty great for stopping someone either punching or kicking after which you can go on the offense while his balance is broken.

    I’m still more comfortable using my hands for striking or grabbing someone to grapple but I can see your how your strategy would work given enough practice and high familiarity with kicking techniques.

    As to the example of defence against a club attack: again this may very well work if you’re properly trained but in that case I’d like to get as close to him as possible to avoid a second strike from his weapon. The problem with staying at distance in order to counter with a kick might be that he might step back and strike the leg as it’s coming in but that takes training and against a good stickfighter it’s not likely you’ll be able to mount any form of succesful defense unless it consists of running like the wind or acquiring or pulling another weapon.

    I do have a question: when you say wheel kick do you mean a roundhouse kick, a crescent kick or a spinning heelkick?

  3. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Zara,

    What I call a wheel kick is not the spinning heel hook like I’ve hear MMA commentators say… so I guess terminology is different in styles or eras… not sure which. :)

    I was emailing a friend about the same… in part here is the explanation I gave him:

    I like the wheel kick – front or back leg depending on the situation. I also like the round house – from my understanding – comes more from the side instead of starting like a snap kick and flipping out.

    The beauty of the wheel kick is it can easily turn into a snap kick, side kick, heel kick or wheel kick from the same position. Really tough to block especially if coupled with initial movement (front foot starts the move independent of the body initially – then the rear foots pivots and slides along – no initial shuffle with the back foot).

    The critique I always heard about the wheel kick is it had no power compared to round house or Muay Thai round kick (unsure what they call it). They can torque body and front foot before or during their kick – it is totally telegraphed but has more power – what they are looking to do.

    My critique back when I was fighting was – they could not hit anything with that kick. Just like a superman punch… one would have to be asleep to get hit with that.

    So my answer has always been – how much power do you need to knock someone out with a kick? The wheel kick is more than sufficient. Even for body shots to unprotected areas.

  4. Jim Says:

    Getting up in age but reading these different posts and comments I have become very interested in getting involved locally in martial arts and self defense training. I took a class at an early age but didn’t stick with it for very long. I always admired and envied those that commit to martial arts and the work that it takes to gain the expertise and the peace of mind that comes from hard work and dedication.

  5. Kim Kimmel Says:

    As a recipient of many a “hip kick” and other painful “low kicks” I can without hesitation, attest to their effectiveness! I was always taught the best way to fight is with both feet on the ground. If you “have” to throw a kick, keep it rib level and below. Very good article John.