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Challenging the Masters part 7: Should leg kicks be allowed in all dojos?

Updated: May 4

Anthony sits at his desk, lost in thought. He lifts his head and sp

Yep, Sesame Street was definitely cooler than the Muppet Show. Oh wait! That's not why I'm here. Hey folks, your favorite rabble rouser is back in the building. On the heels of my hotly debated full contact issue, I wanted to address one more portion of that thought. And that my friends, is about kicking the legs in sparring. Now, outside of most Thai boxing schools, and kyokushin(a hard-core style of karate) kicks to the legs are almost a taboo subject or something. Me personally, I think that leg kicks are groovy. But then again, I am a pretty good leg kicker :)

So, while I am sitting here feeling correct, I am going to tell you why most schools don't allow them at. Well, the main reason is because they hurt. Anyone who has ever been hit with a well-placed leg kick can tell you that there is nothing cute about it. Most martial arts teachers will say something like," Well, we don't want anyone getting hit in the knees." That is a valid concern, but a weak one. In class, or in any competition that I can think of, striking ANY joints is illegal. Knees, spines, necks, and throats, these are all off limits. So, I am thinking that with a few lessons in control, and maybe even PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT, there really should be no problems with allowing leg kicks

The second reason is kind of foolish I think. Leg kicks just don't look very cool. I know that sounds funny, but think about it. What attracts most people to martial arts, especially kids, is the aerial kicks and stuff that they saw on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or the Power Rangers. Nobody ever sold a kid on martial arts on the practical but undeniably less cool-looking roundhouse kick to the thigh. Marketing rules the martial arts world these days, unfortunately. Roughly 70% of the money made in the martial arts industry is made with children. So it does make sense economically that schools cater to children.

Now that I have said all of that, in the words of Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction," Allow me to retort." I say leg kicks are only slightly less cool than the Etch-a-Sketch that I still own and play with :) While they lack the flash of the head-level kicks from the movies, they are infinitely LESS risky to use. In a street confrontation, the higher your leg goes, the less balance you have in the supporting leg. Fighting for real is not like fighting for points. If you lose your balance and fall, you are going to get STOMPED ON. I have never liked the idea of being stomped on, so I usually keep my kicks, waist level and LOWER. Can I throw the head kick? Yes I can. Have I ever tried it in a real fight? Heck no I haven't. Not worth the risk.

Another important thing about leg kicks lies in simple reality. If you practice high kicks in the dojo, that is fine and well. But have you ever thought about how much it exposes your groin? I have seen some ugly accidental kicks that have sent grown men crashing to the ground in tears, new additions to the soprano section of the regional choir. Was it an accident? Sure it was, but was that pretty little high-kick that they were atttempting to land worth the risk? Not on your life. In real fights, you don't wear cups, and you have no guarantee that someone will not kick you in the nads if they get a chance. If I may make a confession here, if I had a chance in a real fight, I would kick to the nads first. Remember, you do not know what your opponent can do. He may have a had a little training himself. You never know. And as the owner of a perfectly functional pair o' nads, I would just as soon not have someone kick them up into my rib cage.

And while we are talking kicks here, look at what you wore to work today. Heels maybe? Jeans? A skirt? How high do you think that you can kick with a pair of jeans on? My guess is, not that high. Add the wallet in your pocket and your keys and cell phone, and you are destined to have a low-kicking kind of day. Low kicks are great guys, believe me. If you have never landed a good low kick, then you cannot even begin to imagine the look that crosses their face. Think of this, have you ever had a charlie horse? Well imagine a really, really bad one right in the middle of a fight. Not good for you at all right? Course not. Those things can ruin your whole day. And believe me, I may have had a few of my days ruined in the exact same way :)

But on to something else that we should worry about: legality. Now I say that it is better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6, but let's be real for a moment okay? If you can finish a fight with as little violence as possible, then you are truly an expert in your craft. Let me paint you a picture: You are out with some friends and some idiot wants to prove a stupid manhood point by starting a fight. Now as the good person you are, you do your best to avoid this fool. But maybe he just won't be deterred and he attempts to push you. Now, instead of kicking this idiot upside the head, you plant a leg kick on him that leaves him on the ground cursing you badly. Fight over. If you have to explain this situation to the police later, you can say," Officer, I am a martial artist. Instead of kicking him in he head, I just slowed him down with a kick to the leg instead of really harming him. Take him away. Score one for the good guys. You go home no worse for wear, and he goes to bet booked for assaulting someone. See how useful that is? VIVE LA LEG KICK!!!

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