03 Jul Let’s Talk About Your RoundHouse Kicks
Congratulations to those who won the 21 Krav Challenge. Expect an email for your reward. For everyone else, try again for next month!
As a part of our constant effort to provide our students with a broad approach to training, we created a mobility program that will assist with your practice. Here’s a link to the Newest mobility drill sequence. I wish to see students taking more initiative in preparing for class and taking an active role in being their coaches. Warming up with that drill can make your class time far more efficient. As the material we cover gets more complicated, you will want to develop the strong foundation skills in mobility, balance, and body awareness. Try a basic warm-up and practice those techniques five to seven times before every class.
Once you are warm, you can start practicing the kick. The roundhouse kick to the knee is one of the most effective and efficient kicks. Because it comes from the side, it’s very unexpected and hard to see. It’s also a powerful kick because of the hip and body rotation, Delivered to the knee, it can cause devastating amounts of damage. This skill will increase your ability to improve the position and get to safety.
However, if we are on the receiving end of one, we don’t want risk breaking our leg. This is not only horribly painful but makes you unable to escape the aggressor. Therefore, we have to know how to block it. To defend a roundhouse kick, we want to practice our roundhouse kicks. We just covered this material in my Sunday noon class, so I hope it’s fresh in your minds.
First, this is a round kick, as in a circle. Many times, I see people kicking like it’s a front kick. You want to turn your hips out and come in with a circular movement. That means pivoting on your other foot. Practice these pivots slowly until they are fluid and natural to you. Remember that the power comes from the rotation. This was proven in a study by the School of Sport and Health Sciences in Queensland, Australia, which actually measured the power of different kinds of roundhouse kicks, and reported that effective kicks are marked by “rapid pelvic axial rotation, hip abduction, hip flexion, and knee extension velocities, combined with rapid movements of the center of mass towards the target.” In plain English, good rotation, good flexibility, good extension, and speed make an excellent kick.
Second, this isn’t a high kick. We’re going to the knee. While kicking high looks very cool, it is inefficient and pointless in a street fight. You can fall over or hit a strong point in the body, which makes your kick ineffective. You aren’t trying to be fancy; you are trying to get home safely. The weak point of the knee is all you need to do the damage you need. You can modify the height of the kick by the height you raise your knee. This is also an excellent way to predict the height of your opponent’s kick.
Third, consider your distance to the target. Kicks are longer-range attacks and can lose some effectiveness at closer ranges. You need to position yourself for this kick to be effective so that you are hitting the knee with your shin. If you hit with the top of the foot, you can break your ankle. If you strike with the lower part of your foot, you can smash your toes. Both would leave you in a terrible position, unable to defend yourself.
Fourth, remember to extend through the target, cutting through it like an ax through a tree. You don’t want just to tap the leg. You want to break the knee and keep going to cause the maximum damage.
That reminds me of when I was training for the IDF Krav Maga championships; my coach would always be yelling about breaking the opponent’s quads. Good advice!
Now, we can discuss the defense. First, we need to practice recognizing roundhouse kicks. It’s not something easy and requires studying your opponent’s movements and can only come with lots of sparring practice.
Remember, someone who kicks in a street fight knows what they are doing. They are going to kick fast, and aren’t likely to telegraph the next move.
When doing the defense, make sure you rotate into it, to protect your sciatic nerve and to dissipate the impact. You also want to block with the big muscles of the leg. Avoid impact close to the joint, where there are a lot of small tendons.
When creating your defense, think about creating a straight line down out to the floor, with your toes diagonal. You want to catch the kick and check it hard. Make sure you extend out at an angle so that the kick lands on the very hard shin bone and not the more vulnerable knee or ankle. I know people groan about full gear, but if I let you do a kicking class without it, you would all be in a lot of pain the next day. It really hurts to land a kick there.
The important lesson here is what comes immediately after a counter-attack. After blocking, I move to position myself for a return roundhouse or a strike to the face. I’m not going to remain in the line of fire for them to hit me again.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both leg and arm counter-strikes. A return round kick to the inner leg is much more challenging to do but can be devastating if done correctly. Arm strikes have the advantage of being easier, and the attacker’s attention is downward, leaving them open, with a lot of sensitive, weak points available. Still, it also might need repeated strikes to be effective.
Remember, this is still P4 material, and it will require a lot of practice to get it right. Every repetition brings you closer to competence. Practice different kinds of combinations, calling out the weak points and seeing how you can move to target new ones.
Remember, you have numerous options; some are good, and others are better. If you are reacting and defending and moving and counter-attacking, you’re already doing good. Now seek to improve further.
Next week begins the first of three entries discussing chokes. We’ll be devoting a lot of time to it since it’s one of the simplest attacks. You don’t need much talent or fighting knowledge to choke someone. However, since it is cutting off air to the body, it is extremely life-threatening, and quick reaction time is critical. So keep warming up your legs, but also add in some extra cardio to improve your breathing.
Also, reach out to me. If you are struggling with any of the material, talk to me. If there are videos you want me to make or subjects you want me to cover, tell me. I miss you all, and I want to be there for you.