How to practice low kicks
Low kick is one of the most frequently used kicks in martial arts generally, not only in muay thai. For example: low kick was banned technique in kick box and it is still banned in full contact nowadays. But with the introduction of K1 or MMA, the low kicks became one of the basic weapons of each fighter in full contact sports. You can find some tips and advices concerning low kicks in this article.
Low kicks are kicks which are relatively easy to master technically. Contrary to high kicks, you do not need any special stretching, even beginners can use low kicks. However, to turn low kick into a really destroying weapon, you need to really master the technique, which cannot be done by nothing else than infinite repetitions and drills.
Low kick aims on the thigh of the opponent and it is ideal to kick with a shank, approximately in it´s middle where the bone is the hardest.
You can see what strength and energy a low kick can have in this video. 60 kg heavy thai box fighter breaks baseball bats with the low kick. This thai fighter then evolves 350kg energy in low kick, which is the same as if someone threw seven sacks of cement on your thigh.
In kyokushin karate, fighters put more swing into the low kick and fighters do not twist mostly, but thanks to the speed in which kyokushin karate fighters kick makes their low kick very dangerous. As you can see in the edit from KO low kicks in kyokushin tournaments.
So how to practice the low kick itself? It is very important to learn to work with the energy of the whole body and speed right from the start. The basic leg should twist through this kick ant the kick itself comes out of the motion of the whole body. It is important to estimate the distance and the place where there is the highest energy and power in the kicking leg. It is also optimal to coordinate yourself, so you hit the thigh, or shank (if in defense) of the opponent with shank and not with fetlock. Example of the correct low kick technique is here:
You can see technically perfect low kick in MMA here:
And here are some tips for more advanced fighters how to kick low kicks in different style:
- When your opponent protects from your back leg low kick with his front leg shank, try to kick him into his back leg. The kick should be even lower in this case and energy should aim horizontally-this will allow you to cut him under. When you do this several times in a row, this will be psychologically bothering for him and it will make his defense against low kick with his shank more annoying.
- Aim your low kick higher than usually.
Most of low kicks aim either on tentacles above knee or circa to the middle of opponent´s thigh. Advanced fighters have these spots on legs strong and resistant from absorbing low kicks. Low kicks, which would send a beginner down, do not hurt them. That is why it is better to aim low kicks to other spots, higher, to tentacles in pelvis. Considering the fact that not many fighters kick into these spots, most fighters are not used to it and that makes this a painful and tough technique.
- Kick opponents back leg instead of front leg
Most of low kicks are aimed from back leg to opponent´s front leg and advanced fighters cover front legs very well, or have their muscles so used to these kicks that low kicks into the front thigh do not hurt them too much. Kicks aimed on the back leg are unusual and little used and thus very painful even for advanced fighters. The kick from the front leg aimed on the back leg is technically more difficult, but if you master the stepping in and twisting of the body, it is a very tough kick. Specialist in these kicks is for example Romanian fighter Daniel Ghita and in this video you can see what this technique can do to opponent´s thigh – in this case with the leg of our fighter Tomáš Hron.
4. After several low kicks aim the kick on head
Very effective technique, but for experienced fighters, who kick very well. If you kick the low kick only for the whole round, you will weaken opponent´s awareness towards other kicks. Not speaking about the fact that most beginners tend to cover their leg, when it is already hurting too much, with front arm which they put down. It is an optimal situation for the next kick to surprisingly aim towards the head. It is ideal to know how to do high kick in twist turned version – also called five kick. This seems to aim on opponent´s thigh, but in the last moment with twisting of the pelvis and the body, you lift the leg up to opponent´s head where he does not expect this kick. KO is almost guaranteed in this case. However it is very difficult technique and you need perfect coordination and stretching for it. How does that look in practice you can see for example in this video from specialist in five kicks Glaube Feitosa:
- ALWAYS have your hands close to your head when doing low kick:
The last advice is more about defense. The basis is that even if you have the best low kick, it can be worthless when you do not cover yourself while doing it. Especially, experienced boxers can see the moment when your arms go down while doing the low kick and they attack with a deadly hook towards chin. Because of this, the best approach for kicking the low kick nowadays is to apply the Dutch school, where while doing the kick you put both hands towards head and in the meantime you swing shortly with back arm which gives even more dynamics to the kick. Example of what can happen if you let hands off your head during the low kick is here:
And final recommendation especially for beginning fighters – the only way how to perfectly learn low – kick technique is to kick, kick and kick. If you want to be sure that you learn to cover during kicking properly, tell your sparring partner to give you hard hooks towards chin while holding the big lap (which is ideal for practicing low kicks). If you let few of them pass to your chin you will be more aware next time :)