UPDATE: The Leg Kick: Your Ultimate Guide to Using The Leg Kick for Mixed Martial Arts is now available! Click the link to get the book or click this picture:
One of the things you hear more and more in combats sports (in particular in MMA) these days is that “leg kicks don’t finish fights.” Somehow, people are under the impression that therefor the leg kick is not a worthwhile technique. Not just in the cage but outside of it as well. I know for a fact this is patently wrong, having use the leg kick both effectively on numerous occasions. As always, it depends on the person throwing that kick, the circumstances, etc.
I’ve written extensively about the leg kick and how to block it so I won’t repeat that here. I’ll post some links in the resources section down below. What I want to show here is the leg kick in a street situation because it can certainly work there to end a fight. There are other videos that demonstrate this, but this one is a great example.
Take a look:
As always, I wasn’t there and neither are you. We also don’t have the entire event on video, nor can we hear clearly what is being said. We can only go by this video and what it looks like. That said, it looks like the bouncer went a bit overboard:
- The drunk guy is perhaps obnoxious but he doesn’t seem to be aggressive. The bouncer shoves him back and the guy doesn’t seem to respond other than just standing there. His fellow bouncer (I assume) comes in and starts directing the drunk away. Again, no aggressive response.
- The bouncer announces his intent. You can clearly hear him say “I’m gonna leg kick this guy.” Now I don’t know where this happened or what legal authority bouncers have there, but it seems a bit early in the conflict to go out of your way to make it physical.
Again, I wasn’t there. There might be other factors involved that justify this leg kick, but I don’t see them right now. If you put that aside, let’s look at the technique itself:
- The set up is so-so. I’d prefer a distraction with the arms or something else, but you can’t argue that it didn’t work. What he did right was getting his whole body moving with his footwork. The bouncer stepped in deep to get lots of momentum into the kick.
- Double leg targeting. The kick seems to be targeted at the back of both legs. This takes away the drunk’s balance immediately, as you can see when he drops down hard to the ground.
- The kick angles up. If you look at the kick in slow motion, you’ll see it angles up a bit. This, combined with the targeting and the half hip turn makes it a mix between a kick and a sweep. You can see the results…
The guy is stunned on the floor for a few seconds and then requests a hand to get back up. He gets it and is then shoved away. He seems to be trying to save face a bit, but keeps his distance. The video ends before we can see if he left or tried to take a shot at the bouncers.
The leg kick, when used like this, ends a confrontation more than well enough. There is no blood, but the ability for the drunk to fight has been greatly diminished. He already wasn’t steady on his feet to begin with and the kick made him even more unstable. Even if he doesn’t register the pain completely, his leg muscles/sciatic nerve are dealing with the pain for him by refusing to function 100%. In a self-defense context, you can start running to safety as soon as he hits the ground. In a context where you need to follow-up, you have more than enough opportunity to hit him some more or get to a tool. For the bouncer, however ill-advised the kick might have been, he isn’t hitting the drunk in the head (with all the potential for brain injuries and lasting damage.) and knocking him out. Such a KO and the subsequent fall could cause the drunk to hit his skull on the pavement, and cracking it as he falls down unconscious and can’t even do a reflex action to try and absorb it.
It’s not perfect, but it’s not terrible either as a less than lethal response.
That said, it takes a lot of training to get this kind of accuracy, speed and power in a leg kick. Doing so under adrenal stress is even harder. But frankly, this goes for all techniques. My point is this: even if you don’t like the leg kick, don’t discount it as useless in the street. Or think it’s something you don’t need to learn to defend against. As this video demonstrates, it suck to get hit by one.
For more information on how to perform a powerful leg kick and how to block it, here are some additional articles: