are high kicks practical for self defense

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are high kicks practical for self defense

Postby koriki69 » Sun Mar 03, 2002 3:34 pm

Are roundhouse kicks to the head to dangerous to attempt in a street situation?
I was able to score regularily in class and tournaments with a punch roundhouse combo. On the street I thought only low kicking techniques were good. Anyways with out going into details I got into a altercation. I was shocked at how ineffective my kicks to the legs were in stopping him from rushing in. I won but wonder if perhaps it wasn't a mistake to avoid my tried and true roundhouse combo instead.
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are high kicks practical for self defense

Postby david » Sun Mar 03, 2002 3:54 pm

"High kicks" & "practical self-defense" make a sort of oxymoron.

Street clothes and shoes often get in the way of high kicking even if the defender is capable. Wet and snowy conditions come into play for many of us. Hands are generally faster than feet reaching to the target and recovering.

Having said the above, I have seen high kicks effectively used. I have also more folks going down and taking a beating for attempting a high kick. Think... Are you fighting for show or for your life. If latter, go for ugly and effective.

Low kicks -- harder to see and easier to launch and recover from. How effective, depends on the kicker with respect to power, targeting, and overall fit in the tactical arsenal.

As I get older, I much prefer striking up close and personal. Hit firstest, hit mostest. This means with fists, elbows, knees. If you want kick him in the head, wait til he drops from the other attacks. Then you can take your time planting your shoe imprint.

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are high kicks practical for self defense

Postby student » Sun Mar 03, 2002 7:22 pm

In class and in tournament there are rules. Certain techniques are barred. Certain targets are forbidden.

Some people can make high kicks work. I'm not one of them, and I study TKD! (and Wing Chun, and Jujutsu - varied arsenal....)

If you have not attempted to make you high kicks work against a resisting opponent who is under no constraints about counters (tackles, leg lifts, etc.) are you sure you can make them work on the street?

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are high kicks practical for self defense

Postby turbotort2000 » Sun Mar 03, 2002 7:49 pm


Sorry you found that out the hard way. High kicks including the roundhouse to the head have their place in self denfense training although it is not in application. You are going to find that as you grow and learn in martial arts that although kicking should be used in moderation, if at all, that it can be an effective tool in a clinch. You can use the your side kicks and front kicks to injure the attackers legs if there is space between you but you are tied up with that person. Where the high kick training comes in is it prepares you to throw powerful low kicks. In my personal experience the only people who I felt had enough power in their kicks at all to warrent ever using them were people who had the ablility to kick beause it develops the muscles and coordination level to kick hard. To give you an sports analogy think of it as a batter warming-up with wieghts on his bat. He is not planning to keep the wieghts on the bat when he steps to the plate, but working his swing with them gives him added power in his baseball swing. Learning high kicks does the same for you low kicking ablilty.
When to kick is a tougher judgement to make in a fight. Rules of thumb of when not to kick would include being on a hill, a slippery surface or wearing tight jean. What you sacrifice when you pick-up a leg to kick is monumental. If sacrifce you mobility. When you pick a leg up the other leg has to stay, realitivly speaking, the the same spot. When you are working hand techniques though you can move around. The tradeoff is power.
Your realization has given you the opportunity reevaulate the kicking repitore that you have and how you could use them effectivly in a fight. Do abandon what you have learned but rather put it into senerio-type training while in the safety of your martial arts school with your friends. For instance, a guy rushes you--practive, in slow motion at first, side kicking his shin bone (which causes his knee to lock up), or front kicking the front of his thighs. If you get together with your friends you will figure a lot out and hopefully your instructor or instructors will be open minded to this.
On a last note kicking is probably not the best way to stop a bulls rush, but look at other stratgies like turning when he grabs or sprawling if you are on surface that allows that. If you learn to think backward, from the opponets point of view, i.e. what gave him conifedence in the bulls rush than you can preformulate stategies that will work.
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are high kicks practical for self defense

Postby Allen M. » Sun Mar 03, 2002 8:27 pm

Even the knee is often week in a fight unless you are seasoned

Most who can kick high do not realize just how much power they do not have. For starters, high kicks are totally useless unless you can put something behind them. Even more important, any kind of kick is absurd unless you absolutely know you can do something with it. One out of ten or more “advanced” practitioners have strong kicks. It gets exponentially worse with intermediate and lower levels. Shoes and speed, causing a fast connection, can sometimes make up for lack of power.

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are high kicks practical for self defense

Postby raulf7 » Sun Mar 03, 2002 9:42 pm

I dont think its safe myself.
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are high kicks practical for self defense

Postby Robby Boy » Sun Mar 03, 2002 10:37 pm

Don't want to insult any of my TKD and Chinese stylists contempories but in a life or death get down and dirty struggle kicks to the head should be the last thing one is concerned about performing.
Talked to more than a few youngster who joined the military(blackbelts) and said that thier high kicks were almost always ineffective and learned a lesson the hard way.
Although high kicks are spectacular to watch when performed by and expert at a demo or tournament would that person be foolish enough to apply same when savvy street guy has a knife or pistol pointed at him\her?
Youth,tournament groupies and Martial Arts couch potatoes along with the combative untrained think that they(high Kicks)are spectacular. And they are pretty to watch.
Bill"Superfoot"Wallace was once quoated in a magazine that read, "Everybody wants to be able to kick to the head."
Street logic makes me ask,"Why?"
Jim Robinson
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are high kicks practical for self defense

Postby TSDguy » Sun Mar 03, 2002 11:16 pm

People say Aikido moves are too complicated and slow, Judo exposes your back, and you shouldn't go down with BJJ in a fight. You should make what works for you work in the right situation. That doesn't mean a high roundhouse is the best thing in the world. Try out lot's of different techniques in different scenarios and find the ones that are simple and safe and natural for you. I know more than several TKD guys that have used kicks in street fights and plenty of TKD guys that THINK they can but I hope they never do.

Just my opinion. No expert over here.
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are high kicks practical for self defense

Postby koriki69 » Sun Mar 03, 2002 11:57 pm

In tournament I used to step back as a person attacked and then roundhouse to the head. I was good at it and scored a knockout in a tournament. I think in this situation I probablly could have scored. The ground was alright. I benched the technique due to thodox theory. Still I won the fight he couldnt really hurt me and lost his will to fight after a few punches to the head and perhaps the leg kicks had an effect. But still the fight was way too long perhaps if I f had challenged my thinking it could of ended quicker with a kick to the head. Perhaps geuss there is a time and place for every technique. Still I dont know if I would use high kicks. But sometimes maybe its not such a bad idea if an opening presents itself. Still it does leave you open to the groin and to someone grabbing your foot.
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are high kicks practical for self defense

Postby Stryke » Mon Mar 04, 2002 2:37 am

high kicks are not often practical in real situations , take em lower , if you can kick easily to the head how simple would it be to kick to the knees legs etc

Im sure there are exceptions , balance is everything and if your kicking your on one leg thats half your balance gone right there

are high kicks practical for self defense

Postby Harpoon » Mon Mar 04, 2002 3:29 am

But imagine if someone has mastered kicking. Kicking in a real fight (fast and furious) is suicide unless you know what your doing, but if you do... the leg is twice as long as many times more powerfull. You should be able to kick, no matter the clothes, and I don't think some good hard-soled shoes would detract from a kick (heavy boot in the face? Ouch.)
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are high kicks practical for self defense

Postby Van Canna » Mon Mar 04, 2002 3:37 am

In a previous thread, a while back, I posted the story of one of our best high kicker, and strong tournament fighter from Bob Bethoney’s dojo, getting involved in a fight.

Half a dozen punks in an open field for no reason chased him, other than they did not like the way he looked.

They had knives, and did catch up with him and a couple of his friends, one of them getting stabbed in the back as he ran.

He faced off a couple and was able to drive them back with front kicks and shin shots to their thighs.

What was significant was his statement that his high kicks would not work under the adrenaline dump; all he could do were the front kick and the low kicks to the legs.

The effectiveness of _ Low kicks to the legs do depend on the individual, as it has been posted.

Many do not kick well because they do not condition well. In many Dojo I see little taps with the instep to the conditioning partner, a pretty much useless practice. You program to hit with the instep and you invite disaster.

The shin is the weapon and it must be conditioned and programmed to do most of the hitting with the whole body behind it.

A very good way to train shin kicks full power, is to take down your bag, prop it on the floor with someone holding it, and slams kicks home at close range.

Think of your shin acting as a sharp edged baseball bat on impact.

Learn to throw those kicks with a “spinal whip” at very close range, and your chances of stopping someone will increase.

Van Canna

[This message has been edited by Van Canna (edited March 03, 2002).]
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are high kicks practical for self defense

Postby Ted Dinwiddie » Mon Mar 04, 2002 3:42 am

If one kicks high, one must be very close to the opponent; within arms reach for sure.

I seem to remember a video clip of Mr. Pomfret making very effective use of a roundhouse kick to the head. I was impressed... Maybe not a street fight, but NHB with grappling and infighting skills and trained opponents.


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are high kicks practical for self defense

Postby Shaolin » Mon Mar 04, 2002 5:52 am

I would not recommend it.

Remember that when you do a high roundhouse you are moving one of the most vulnerable parts of your body very close to the enemy and putting it on public display, albeit it briefly. You are also asking a "non-trained" person who "doesn't understand" that he is supposed to be sparring, to rush in and tackle you.

The Wing Chun response to this kind of attack is usually a front kick with the heel to the Center of mass of the opponent....yes there. Image


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are high kicks practical for self defense

Postby Guest » Mon Mar 04, 2002 8:19 am

I saw a guy try to throw a high spinning kick in a bar fight a few years back. He caught his knee on one of those stand up tables that are mounted around suport beams.

He went down like a ton of bricks. His advisary fed him boots until the bouncer got there. The guy took about six in the face.

He learned a couple of things that day. Image



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