If You MUST Kick High…

This morning in class, we discussed high kicks briefly. I am not a big fan of kicking high in a streetfight, but if you must…

It isn’t completely a useless skill. If a fighter was a poor kicker, then I would certainly advise against high kicks. And by the way, most people–including most martial artists–are not very good kickers. A good kicker can certainly put such a skill to good use, but the natural question to ask is

What is a “Good Kicker”?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

People tend to blur the answer to defining what is “good” and “bad” in the martial arts. Since this is my blog, allow me:

  • Good = effective and efficient in attacking, difficult to counter
  • Bad = ineffective and inefficient in attacking, easy to counter

Easy enough? So, say what you think is good or bad, speed, power, flexibility, balance, blah blah blah… But the bottom line is when this guy uses his skill, does it hurt, and can you stop him. Now, let me elaborate a little more:

  • you have destructive power
  • you can launch your attack quicker than an opponent can react to it
  • once you execute your technique, you are able to follow up that attack quickly
  • you can hit the target you want, when you want to, with the damage you intended to inflict

How about that? So, by these definitions, a man who can only kick to his waist level can be a “good kicker” if he is “effective” when he attacks. A guy who can’t squat but 200 lbs can be a “good kicker” if he can kick you in the ‘nads on cue and you can’t do a thing about it. A fighter who looks completely awful while knocking his opponent out with kicks can make you laugh, and make you cry at the same time. And, yes, if he can kick your nose, your shin, and your jaw–and you can’t do a damned thing about it… he is a good kicker.

When fighters advise against kicking high, they are assuming that the high kick can be easily countered and won’t be “effective” in combat. But if you are one of the few who can kick faster than the wrestler can shoot for legs–and you can break his thigh with that kick–go for it. Just make sure you are better at landing kicks than he is at countering them. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have used high kicks to fight a group, and I have used them to fight a guy with a pipe.

Here’s a simple mathematical formula for you intellectual types:  Better at what you do >  better what he does = success.  Better at what you do < better at what he does = you get your butt kicked. Or taken down…

I understand that some of you will prefer kicking. Aside from what we normally know as “good kicking”, like flexibility and stuff, focus on developing your kicks to be faster, kick harder and more accurately, and retracting your kicks better.  Only then will you be effective at using high kicks.

There is one other item I did not discuss in detail, and that is learning to counter the counters to your kicks. One would think that this would be already figured out, but it usually isn’t. Add this to your training and you could be on your way to being a real-life Tony Jaa on the street. Hope I’ve given you plenty to ponder over.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Author: thekuntawman

full time martial arts teacher, full time martial arts philosopher, and full time martial arts critic

2 thoughts on “If You MUST Kick High…”

  1. I think this is one of the best breakdowns of a subject I have read in a long time!
    I especially like the equation for “intellectual types”. It holds true for just about everything we do in life.

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