Kicking Ass in Mixed Martial Arts
The legs are the most powerful striking tool on your body. In terms of power striking with the feet, shins, and knees trump fists, forearms and elbows pretty much every time. However using your legs takes a little more finesse because more balance and flexibility is needed to kick effectively. This is especially the case in mixed martial arts where someone can easily take you to the ground if your off balance, such as when you have one leg on the ground when kicking.
Kicking in Traditional Martial Arts
Many traditional martial arts involve kicking techniques. Each brings a separate aspect of using the legs as weapons to the table
Taekwondo Teaches many types of kicks. The focusing point of taekwondo striking is based around the balanced stances so if mastered this provides a solid base from which to attack the opponent with the legs. Also taekwondo incorporates spinning kicks and kicking combos into the technique which are more unpredictable and more powerful in a fight.
Muay Thai teaches very straightforward and powerful kicking techniques. It also works well with using the fists because it is a kickboxing martial art. This makes it very popular with many mixed martial artists. The roundhouse kick, front kick, and the knee strikes are probably muay thai’s most commonly seen techniques. A roundhouse kick is a powerful body, or even leg, strike that uses the rotational power of the whole body. A front kick is a more deffensive kick to the opponent’s core. Muay thai knee striking is known to be a deadly weapon in a fighters arsenal. There are no pads worn on he knees can quickly decide a mixed martial arts fight.
For some basics on muay thai kicking techniques click here
Karate is also a martial art that puts strong focus on kicking technique. The karate technique focuses on a quick moving stance with fluid movements. This allows for very quick kicking opportunities which are unpredictable and can be powerful with the right technique. Like taekwondo, karate also puts a lot of emphasis on balance but also flexibility. This flexibility allows for all parts of the opponents body as well as all parts of the foot/leg to be used as weapons.
This is a video of Bill “Superfoot” Wallace who was the Professional Karate Association’s middleweight belt holder.
Kicking in Mixed Martial Arts
Something that holds true in any venue of fighting competition is to not kick with the top of the foot. There are many little bones in the foot that can easily break. However striking with the shin provides a solid striking tool that is much less likely to break. A karate technique is to strike with the heel which can give a very tough surface to strike with.
Leg kicks can be a very useful weapon in a mixed martial arts fight. Its a tactical move to wear down the enemy’s base. Kicks to the body can also wear down an opponent by attacking his ribs, or with a well placed front kick, or teap kick, the solar plexus to stun the opponent.
Flexibility is really the key to kicking effectively. With more flexibility you can achieve more power from roundhouse type kicks by getting more rotation. However flexibility also gives your kicking knockout ability as well. If you can easily kick at the level of an opponent’s head/face then that gives you a powerful knockout strike to add to your arsenal.