Best Kicks for Self Defense
When it comes to hand-to-hand combat, kicks are a highly underutilized form of attack. After all, kicks have more power and range than any other form of strike, and since they are underutilized your attacker is less likely to see them coming.
However, in the realm of self defense, not all kicks are created equal. Some high-flying, acrobatic kicks are much more at home in a Hollywood movie than they are a real, life-and-death situation. To help you discern which kicks are worth including in your self defense arsenal and which ones are better not to attempt, we’ve put together a list of the best kicks for self defense.
Push kicks are relatively easy to perform and are great for creating separation between you and your attacker. If you are able to land a push kick hard enough on your attacker’s midsection, you may even be able to put them on their back/and or knock the wind out of them. A push kick aimed at the front of the knee, meanwhile, has the potential to break or at least seriously damage your attacker’s knee.
However, it is important to offer a word of caution: push kicks are easier to catch than most any other kick, which could put you in a dangerous position. You have to be very careful not to telegraph your kick and to perform it swift enough that it is difficult to catch on order for push kicks to be effective.
The Thai kick is one of the favorite weapons of many professional fighters for good reason – it’s devastatingly effective. When you perform a Thai kick, you are able to transfer a ton of power from your leg and core into your kick, effectively turning your shin into a baseball bat. The Thai kick can be aimed at your opponent’s leg or their midsection, with varying effects depending on where it lands.
If you’ve seen MMA fighters shrugging off leg kicks without much effect, it may not seem like a Thai kick aimed at the leg does a lot of damage. However, this perception can be deceiving. MMA fighters have hardened leg muscles that are used to taking punishment. More importantly, they also know how to distribute their weight in a way that lessens the effect of a leg kick. Your average street fighter, however, does not have these advantages, and a well-placed Thai kick aimed at the leg can easily put them on the ground.
A Thai kick aimed at an attacker’s thigh will damage the muscle and deaden their leg, making it impossible for them to put weight on it. A Thai kick aimed at the side of an attacker’s knee can knock their leg out from under them and potentially damage their knee to the point that they aren’t able to stand, and a Thai kick aimed at an attacker’s midsection can drive the wind from them and potentially break their ribs.
The snap kick is probably the easiest of all kicks to perform, yet it is still dangerously effective. Snap kicks can be aimed at the shin, but this can be a difficult target to hit and you risk breaking your foot or toes even if you land it properly. Instead, it’s far better to aim a snap kick at your attacker’s groin. A well-placed snap kick can forcefully drive the lower portion of your shin up into your attacker’s groin, which is enough to put even the most determined attackers into the fetal position. Also, a word of advice that many people don’t realize: groin kicks are almost as effective for stopping a female attacker as they are at stopping a male attacker.
Also known as a spinning back kick, a back kick is similar to a push kick in how it lands. The main difference is the turning motion of your body that transfers a lot more power into your kick. A well-placed back kick can easily knock your attacker off of their feet and deal a lot of damage in the process.
A back kick is a great attack for when you have to transition from having your back turned to your attacker to defending yourself. This situation could arise if you are attacked from behind or if you try to run away from your attacker and they catch you.
A Word of Caution
While the kicks listed above can be devastating attacks in a self defense scenario, there are several different things that you need to be aware of.
The first is something we’ve touched on already, which is that kicks can be caught. Even an untrained fighter has a chance at catching your kick if it is not performed correctly or they get lucky, and if they manage to catch your kick they are going to have a significant advantage in the fight.
Another word of caution is that kicks can throw you off balance. With enough training, this drawback can be overcome, allowing you to throw a kick without ever losing your balance for more than a brief moment. However, if you try to throw one of these kicks without having practiced it over and over again you’ll more likely than not end up on the ground.
We should also note that a couple of the kicks mentioned can cause life-long damage. A full force snap kick aimed at the groin can destroy a person’s reproductive system, and a full force push kick or Thai kick aimed at the knee can cause a person to have knee problems for the rest of their life. Unless you are in a situation where defending yourself is truly your only concern, these attacks are best avoided.
Finally, we can’t stress enough the importance of training when it comes to executing kicks. On the whole, kicks take much more practice to perform correctly than punches, and they also have a lot more ways that they can go wrong.
If you are interested in learning how to perform these kicks in a way that will actually be effective in a self defense scenario, we invite you to contact our gym today.