BEST Way to Kick for Real Self Defense!

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1. Intro to Guided Chaos Combatives Kicking

Often, I’m asked about the best way to kick for close combat. This is a good question because you’re severely limiting yourself if you only study ways to attack with your upper body. Kicking can play a crucial role in ending a situation quickly, creating space from a knife-wielding assailant and creating space to escape. Despite its importance, most martial artists and fighters practice kicking incorrectly for self-defense.

Their techniques are perfectly suited for a sparring situation wherein there is distance that’s maintained and a lack of real-world variables. To develop effective kicking for self-defense, focus on low kicks from the waist down, not chambering/“winding up” for more power and avoid retreating after you kick. Lastly, you must practice specific Guided Chaos Combatives exercises that will allow to practice kicking this way. 

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2. Rely on kicks that an be used at close range

Kicks should target the assailants ankles, shins, knees, upper thighs and potentially the stomach. A deadly close quarter fight against someone twice your size on an elevator for example doesn’t give enough space for spinning wheel kicks or even “medium range” kicks like roundhouses. A simple test proves this, have a friend stand in front of you about two feet away. Execute a spinning kick, roundhouse kick, front kick etc. while your partner reaches out and touches you at the same speed. What you’ll find is as you’re beginning your motion your partner can quickly touch you. Well, in reality that “touch” represents someone suddenly rushing into you forcefully to overwhelm you.

Therefore, use fast kicks launching your foot from where it is into it’s target. Stomp into the opposite leg that you’re kicking with to give you greater balance and power when kicking. Focus on SPEED when kicking to avoid delivering weak ineffective pushes with your leg. Kick your assailants shins, knees while bouncing your feet off the floor after you hit like a “rockette” dancer. This “bounching allows you to crush their toes if they’re nearby, gives you balance on slippery surfaces and gives you greater power. 

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3. Make your kicks quick and efficient

In addition. when you kick bring your foot straight to your target without bringing your leg back first. Chambering creates a large opening that can be taken advantage of by a fast attacker moving in. It’s more efficient to kick straight into your attacker recoil your leg quickly by bouncing your foot off the floor or just bounce straight into another target to minimize recovery. Remember that as you step continuously stomping into your strikes you develop great power so there’s no need to worry that your kicks won’t have power. Develop ACCURACY under high-speed conditions so you can land effectively on moving targets.

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4. Continuously keep attacking when you kick

The first kick you throw is apart of a continuous barrage that don’t end until your assailant is unable to continue or you’re able to escape. Avoid “retreating defensively” after you kick. This usually involves backing up and otherwise stopping your attack to ensure you’re defensively protected. Once again, this is fine in a sparring context where there’s room to move and otherwise no sense of urgency to end the attack very quickly. In the real world where dangerous weapons can be used and other assailants can get involved it’s better to kick and keep attacking offensively.

Therefore, when you kick move in closer to your attacker or to the side stepping off-line as we call it in guided chaos. Stepping close in front of your attacker has it’s benefits but being off to the side of your attacker is strategically safer and negates your attackers advantages. If you’re able to get totally behind your attacker even better but don’t count on it. Don’t expect to necessarily even be able to stay in front or to the side of your attacker for long as they’ll be moving. It’s more practical to be prepared to keep moving, stomping and stepping while dishing out front kicks, side kicks, roundhouse kicks etc. 

5. Combatives Training Drill

In Guided Chaos Combatives we practice a drill called Mexican Hat Dance that greatly increases your ability to kick at close range while you move around your attacker. Find a heavy bag and bounce your foot between the ground and the bag like you’re trying to crush someone’s toes. The ground itself is a target as you slam your feet and drop your body weight as quickly as possible. As your foot comes off from bouncing off the ground you can deliver front kicks, low shin kicks, or low roundhouse kicks. You can start to add knee strikes into the mix as well. Also remember that the key to moving faster is to be accurate, relaxed and don’t over commit your balance! Happy kicking!

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