Low kicks, or leg kicks to an American, are kicks with the shin of the attacker to the in or outside thigh of his opponent.
Low kicks can be very effective for two main reasons:
1. If you kick somebody off balance, it will disturb your opponent’s attack
2. If you inflict so much pain on the thigh of the opponent, the leg will be temporarily “paralyzed” and he won’t be able to continue.
How to execute a proper low kick:
1. Outside low kick: make sure that your “standing leg” is slightly bent at all times. The leg that hits the thigh of the opponent should be bent 90 degrees when it hits its target. Always try and hit the thigh with the upper part of the shin as this is the hardest part. Make sure your leg lands horizontal on the thigh. This kick is primarily used to attack the front leg but experienced kickboxers attack the back leg too. Outside low kicks are the perfect weapon against taekwondo fighters or (semi contact) karate fighters, as they tend to throw a lot of high kicks without properly knowing how to defend the low kicks. It is not in their system to block the low kicks and at the same time it will be harder to throw those fancy high kicks when your legs hurt and become feeling very heavy. A Perfect example is the fight between Valtellini and Raymond Daniels.
Outside low kicks are usually thrown after a series of punches to finish off the combination. It can also be used effectively when your opponent comes forward with a jab. The impact of the low kick will have a maximum effect and the opponent will not be able to block it on time as most of his weight is on his front leg.
2. Inside low kick – there are two main purposes of using them:
a. To inflict damage
b. To kick your opponent off balance.
To inflict damage, the kick should be more of a snap kick with the leg that hits being almost extended by the time it hits the inside thigh. This kick looks like a karate kick. It is solely used to attack the front leg. You can throw the kick from almost every position with no need to make an extra step. To kick your opponent off balance, the kick looks more like an outside low kick. The leg that hits the thigh is more bent and acts more as a push kick, you “push” your opponent off balance. This kick can be used to attack both the front and the back leg of your opponent. An absolute master of this kick is GLORY’s own HW champion Rico Verhoeven.
An inside low kick is a strong weapon against good boxers or fighters who tend to throw long combinations. You don’t want to go toe-to-toe with a good boxer with a big chance of getting hit by a good power shot. Instead, it is better to operate at a “kicking distance” and chop down the legs. Kick them every time he tries to attack you with punches. He won’t be able to block the kicks as he needs to plant his feet heavy on the ground if he wants to throw a strong punch. The kicks will hurt him a lot, most importantly throwing him off balance so he will not be able to hit you hard or even finish his combination. It can be very frustrating and annoying for your opponent.
Defending low kicks
There are two ways to defend low kicks:
1. Make them miss by pulling your leg back when you see the kick coming
2. Checking them: The secret to check the low kicks is to raise your leg slightly while pointing your knee towards the attacking leg with your toes pointing upwards. The trick is to make your opponents lower shin land on your upper and thicker part of the shin. The pain the attacker feels will make him think twice about kicking again. Most recently Chris Weidman defeated pound per pound best MMA fighter in the world, Anderson Silva, by properly checking his inside low kick. The result was a broken shin for Anderson ‘Spider’.
Have fun training the art of low kicks!
Martijn de Jong