Low-line Kicks, Part 1

In our Gutterfighting, we utilize a number of different low-line kicks (i.e. below the waist).  As with other striking techniques, we tend to focus on kicks that are not highly technical, nor do they require tremendous flexibility.  I was reading somewhere recently about making techniques yours, and how it still takes practice to truly acquire a skill or technique, and I must agree with this mentality.  Just my two cents, of course, and though these kicks are fairly easy to learn, they still require some training.  We like front kicks, o’ou tek (hook or roundhouse) kicks, low destructive kicks (sometimes called a stab kick), shin kicks and stomps.  Because of my Muay Thai background, I also use a Thai kick, and have done thousands over the years.  We don’t work these very much in class because they are more technical, in our humble opinion, and those students with previous training in other arts tend to turn them into snap kicks anyway.  🙂  On rare occasion, we work the side kick.  This has never been one of my personal favorites, but it is just a preference thing.  We have probably worked the push kick (teep) once or twice. 

Front Kick 

We use front kicks pretty regularly, with the groin being a common target.  We also start beginners with front kicks whenever we do the O’ou Tek series of combinations.  It’s just a little bit easier for them to pull off technique-wise.  We often train the lead leg in combinations, but there is no reason why you cannot use the rear and kick a field goal right into the groin.  Some folks point their toes up (dorsiflexion) when they snap the kick, others keep the toes pointed out (plantar flexion).  I guess it all depends.  If I were wearing big boots, as I sometimes do, and I was going to kick to the groin, I would probably dorsiflex.  Then, my kick would look more like a spike kick, with a little or no snap in the lower leg, as well. 

O’ou Tek 

We take this from JKD.  It is basically a roundhouse or hook kick, and we use it below the waist with the lead leg.  When I trained it, I also used a Pendulum Step.  We don’t generally require the students to use that footwork, but it is important for them to plant the ball of the foot of the rear leg at the right angle to open up the hips.  Some students have a hard time grasping why they need to turn the toes away from the kick.  I had “lift and pivot” burned into my brain.  In any case, we often train this kick with a combination series.  A typical combination we use leads off with the o’ou tek, follows with a Cross – Hook – Cross and ends with the o’ou tek.  I love the flow of these drills. 

Low Destructive Kick

With these we are usually aiming for a knee, from various angles.  I think of it as a stab kick because of the way the leg is chambered and the way kick is applied.  From the front, I crouch my body a little bit as I chamber my leg, with my instep facing upwards.  I throw the kick down, towards the knee joint, just as if I was thrusting a blade towards the target.  With enough force, I can make his knee hyper-extend.  I retract the leg just as I might retract the blade after stabbing.  I can also do this directly from the side, pushing the knee inward towards the opposite leg.  It takes a lot of force to break a knee.  It is a hinge joint, and therefore is not intended to move from side to side, nor even hyper-extend by very many degrees.  Having said that, even if it is hard to break the knee, with the right mechanics, I can cause a lot of pain and probably inflict some damage by making it move in ways nature did not intend!

More Kicks in Part 2. . .


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