Martial Arts Myths: High kicks don’t work in the street

“High kicks don’t work in the street” is another one of those blanket statements that has been making the rounds for decades on end now. Many people still say this today so I wanted to tackle it in this installment of my “Martial Arts Myths” series (if you haven’t read them already, here are article one and two.) As usual, I’ll try to explain my reasoning and back it up with examples. That’s why I included a lot of videos in this post, to make sure you can see all the factors involved.

Without further ado, let’s jump right in and get to it.

High kicks don't work in the street

High kicks don’t work in the street…

High kicks don’t work in the street

To avoid confusion, let’s start by clearing up our terms a bit concerning this statement. When people say that high kicks don’t work in the street, they usually mean the following:

  • The kick is aimed at the head of a standing opponent.
  • The kick is used in a non-competitive, self-defense context like a violent assault in the street or any type of physical altercation between two people.

So we’re not talking about kicking a downed opponent in the head. Nor are we talking about a muay Thai or MMA fight.

Now that we’re clear about what exactly is on the table, I’ll just cut to the chase and say it right away:

The statement that high kicks don’t work in the street is a myth.

I’ve done it.

Friends of mine have done it.

A truck load of other people I know in passing have done it.

Even more people I don’t know have done it too.

All of us have used this technique and it has worked for us. There is no denying this. Therefor by virtue of this fact alone, the “high kicks don’t work in the street” thing is a flat out myth. Now before you go thinking I am advocating everybody starts using high kicks extensively for self-defense, hold your horses. I said no such thing.  What I did say is that I (and a bunch of others) have done so, which doesn’t mean you have to try and do the same thing because there are conditions involved. Conditions that determine if you will be successful when throwing that high kick or not.

Let’s take a look at them. [Read more…]