When I was fighting lots of tournaments, fighting on the door, and sparring in the school – fighting was fighting was fighting. I did not vary very much from the way I trained and fought. Sure in a real fight I would end up knocking out my opponent instead of holding back a bit in sparring or racking up points in a tournament but I fought the same.
One of my favorite kicks in all venues was the hip and thigh kicks from my side fighting stance. Ok I am dating myself as everyone knows that side stances don’t work right? I mean MMA, boxing, Muay Thai all use forward fighting stances in their sport.
Well let me just say that forward stances can only work in today’s world where groin kicks are not legal and most schools have stopped teaching groin kicks for sport. People have gotten out of practice using groin kicks so forward stances that would not work against any competent karate fighter – flourish (front stances) in today’s sport fighting disciplines.
In this post I will talk about the wonderful low kicks that work in any situation and why you should use them in your fighting, sparring, and tournaments.
Picture this – a guy comes at you with a club. You see him as you are observant. You take a half a step back to miss his attack and kick his hip with your front side kick. You knock him back and you follow up with a wheel kick to whatever is open (body, groin, face) and stomp him into submission. No big deal. You did not have to initially get close to him.
This type of technique works because of the power of a side or rear kick. Works better if you know how to modify the kicks to increase power. I am leaving out all of the normal fighting skills you already have to be good at such as critical distance, initial movement, relaxation, explosion, and the ability to move around like a boxer with your front bow or side stance (not a forward stance that opens your groin).
So in the example above the guy with the club is outside your critical distance. You take a half step back to allow his attack (any kind of attack really) to miss. You then use initial movement to throw your modified side kick (Joe Lewis taught Tracy’s how to throw feet or hands with initial movement – to make the punch or kick hard to see). I modify my side kicks to just use the heel (it takes aiming your kick with an offset to hit your target). The beauty of the modified side kick is instead of the whole side of the foot as the striking surface, you narrow the striking surface to about one square inch (just hour heel) to increase the power of the kick.
So in a nut shell you have one powerful counter kick that can be aimed at whatever is in front of you. Knee, thigh, hip, side, arm in front of the side, or head… whatever is there – it make no difference – but whatever you hit will hurt your opponent if you want it to. The rest of the technique is just follow up. You don’t stop when you have an advantage in a real fight.
My favorite kick is the front side kick with or without my heel. Mostly when I spar I use the side of my foot and during in a fight I use the heel for its stopping power.
Now what you might be thinking about Jiu-Jitsu counter attacks? I think in the 90’s fighters got hared out by ground fighters maybe grabbing your foot. Maybe why a lot of people stopped using basic kicks. There was the rule changes in tournaments that started disallowing kicking. Back in the 70’s there were a lot of wrestlers around that would grab you and try to take you to the ground.
Just like today – back then ground fighting was limiting because once you were on the ground – any kicks to your head by your opponent or bystanders ended the fight. So just keep it in the back of your mind to throw kicks relaxed with some power – if it happens to get grabbed – work your defenses against ground attacks.
Sorry I did not get to other low kicks like the snap kick, wheel kick and rear kick. But you get the idea – get good at each kind of kicking defense or attack and coupled with critical distance and eventually initial movement (when you get good) – and you have a winning combination! There is nothing quite like a good relaxed and thereby powerful low kick to turn the tide in an altercation.