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Thread: Kicking

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    Default Kicking

    What are your thoughts on kicking? When I came to kenpo, I came in search of the devastating hands, having heard that kenpo was "80% hands and 20% legs, and I did not consider myself to be a good kicker from my experience in other styles. Steve Finn changed that and now I consider myself an excellent kicker, and one of the only advocates of kicking that I typically find on kenpo forums.

    Thoughts?
    Dave

    "I consider that the spiritual life is the life of man's real self, the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern." - Thomas Merton


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    Default Re: Kicking

    Kicking is a very important part of the art. Well past 20% of the art. Kicking is found in many techniques, we just don't kick as high as some styles.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Kicking

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad
    Kicking is a very important part of the art. Well past 20% of the art. Kicking is found in many techniques, we just don't kick as high as some styles.
    But see, WE do, so I wonder why so many say they don't, or why they don't.
    Dave

    "I consider that the spiritual life is the life of man's real self, the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern." - Thomas Merton


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    Default Re: Kicking

    In my experience Rob is right.

    We kick just as much as anyone...just not usually above belt level.

    In Sport Karate kicks are mostly confined to the areas above the belt line because the welfare of the participants is of major importance; they aren't trying to really injure each other.

    In Self Defense kicks are intended to injure or maim. Therefore our targets are a little lower (knees, groin, bladder.) And we do kick to the head, just not while the opponent is standing upright. LOL.

    It's been my experience that when you kick above the belt you are in effect giving up half your base and drastically increasing your chances of being taken to the ground. You're basically handing your opponent your leg.

    IMHO =)
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Kicking

    Kicks are very important and a lot of Kenpo guys, unfortunately, aren't great kickers because they don't focus on kicking. I have a black belt in Northern Si Lum Kung Fu (the Black Dragon System) where there was a huge emphasis on kicking.

    That stated, on the street, most of my kicks would be below the waist (the groin, knees, shins, ect) and I would utilize my hand techniques above the waist.

    One of the best Kenpoists I have ever fought, who was awesome with his kicks, was Clyde O'Briant. Despite his size, his kicks were very accurate, deceptive, and powerful.


    Jamie Seabrook
    www.seabrook.gotkenpo.com

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    Default Re: Kicking

    We each have a different journey and perspective. My thoughts on kicking are, I think, more traditional as for example explained by James Mitose in his first book on kenpo.

    I do respect those kenpoists who can kick high, etc., and I also love our "god awful ugly" kenpo kicks, (front rake, front scoop, heel scoop, heel rake, front lift, etc).

    Because of my job (still working as a street cop) I find that encounters occur at close to medium range which effectively discounts the use of kicks (at least high kicks). Furthermore, with all that gear on, and after sitting in a cruiser for an hour or so and then bailing out to restore order, I am certainly not ready to kick someone in the head. At that range I also don't fancy the idea of standing on one leg.

    I've only used kicks twice in my career. Both times they were front kicks. But I've used alot of what I call "soft kenpo". (see new thread).

    Salute,
    Jim

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    Default Re: Kicking

    I may have a bit of a different perspective on the issue of kicking. I practiced/taught Hapkido for many years before returning to the Kenpo fold. Having done that I have a great appreciation for the efficient methods of Kenpo's use of kicks. I say that because in Hapkido, though we certainly had our share of flashy, high, and spinning kicks, the heart of the effective kicking curriculum was low/medium core, low extremity based. By that I mean that when it came to using your legs in a self defense situation you were kicking to the solar plexus or below, always preceding any kicks above the waist with moves that lessened your exposure when you raised the leg. This was complemented by numerous sweeping techniques as well. Kenpo, as most curriculums are structured, has culled and isolated this type of thinking and moving. Though some may kick high occasionally, hopefully it is taught with a modicum of common sense relating to self defense situations.

    Someone recently asked me to post a comparison of Kenpo and Hapkido (which are far more complementary that most assume). I'm working on that issue and hope that it may be of some service.

    Respects,
    Bill Parsons
    Triangle Kenpo Institute
    www.trianglekenpo.com

    "I know Kenpo!" "Cool... do you know how to use it?"

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    Default Re: Kicking

    Though some may kick high occasionally, hopefully it is taught with a modicum of common sense relating to self defense situations.
    I can agree with this.

    Basically, I feel that the reason that "kenpo does not kick high" is because most are not taught to. The self defense techniques do not contain high kicks, and none of our modern ancestors were known for placing an emphasis on kicks (Mitose, Chow, Parker, Tracy).

    I however, came out of a kenpo school that not only taught them, but taught them well and expected them to be used. The phrase that I heard often was, "People who say high kicks are impractical are people who can't kick high." I have found that, for the most part, to be true.

    My very first black belt, a police officer, would often complain to me about my use of high kicks in our workout and sparring classes. They were not useful, and even if they were, his uniform (polyester pants and a holster) prevented his right leg from reaching that range of motion. Bear in mind that he had absolutely no trouble kicking well over his head and could do the full straddle splits at the time.

    One night, he came upon a horrifying scene. The officer that had radioed for backup was down on his knees, and the assailant had a claw hammer and was about to lay into the officer. My student approached and yelled. As the assailant turned around, he hit him several times with good solid punches, achieving no real effect. He faded back without thinking, and stuck the steel toe of his boot into the left side of the guy's face. He went down, and after a struggle, the guy was cuffed and taken to the hospital.

    Now, in polyester pants, and holster on his right hip, without thinking, my student who did not think kicking high was useful resorted to it as a tactic and it worked. He shattered the entire left side of the guy's face. Yes, the man was standing.

    My instructor has himself on video tape performing a front leg roundhouse (we call it a wheel) from floor to head level and back to the floor in 5/32 of a second. His brother throws jump spin heel hooks as effortlessly and accurately as most people throw front snap kicks.

    Therefore, it is my opinion that the reason people in kenpo can't kick, or don't kick, is simply because, over time, it has been overlooked as a part of the curriculum. Much the way groundfighting was for so many years. It is definitely something, ability notwithstanding, that should be part of the toolbag.
    Dave

    "I consider that the spiritual life is the life of man's real self, the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern." - Thomas Merton


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    Default Re: Kicking

    Oh, and one more thing...there are a plethora of pressure points on the legs that are overlooked because one would not strike there. The development of the range of motion and accuracy necessary to pull off effective high kicks makes targeting points on the inner thigh a piece of cake.

    It is a tired old argument that people use too often without study of it..."If you can kick high, then you can kick low with more power."

    As you reach the limit of your range of motion, you lose power. So, if you can not kick higher than the solar plexus, kicks done at waist level are nearing your physical limit, and will therefore test your balance, speed, and strength. If you can kick someone who is 6'3" in the head, then kicking waist level will not begin to test you, allowing you to put all of your effort into the kick, not into doing the kick, if that makes sense.
    Dave

    "I consider that the spiritual life is the life of man's real self, the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern." - Thomas Merton


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    John M. La Tourrette (05-05-2007)

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    Default Re: Kicking

    I often say high kicks are impractical, but I can keep up with any TKD Blck Belt, I have met. The higher the kick the less power it has. A well placed low kick keeps you balanced, protected, and is much harder for your opponent to read and to stop.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Kicking

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad
    The higher the kick the less power it has.
    Sorry, just plain wrong.

    Respects,
    Bill Parsons
    Triangle Kenpo Institute
    www.trianglekenpo.com

    "I know Kenpo!" "Cool... do you know how to use it?"

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    Default Re: Kicking

    Quote Originally Posted by bdparsons
    Sorry, just plain wrong.

    Respects,
    Bill Parsons
    Triangle Kenpo Institute
    I agree. Rob, I think your statement is too general to be accurate. There is a point at which you will begin to lose power because of your limit of range of motion, but that can be overcome to a degree.

    To some people, high kicks are above the knee, to others, they are above the head.

    And ( I don't mean to flame here) most TKD blackbelts I have run across don't have any power in their kicks at any level because they don't really understand the mechanics of extension and recoil.

    There are also several ways to develop and measure power. For example, you can kick someone completely across a room with a side kick, or you can break his ribs without even knocking him down.
    Dave

    "I consider that the spiritual life is the life of man's real self, the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern." - Thomas Merton


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    Default Re: Kicking

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad
    A well placed low kick keeps you balanced, protected, and is much harder for your opponent to read and to stop.
    Have you ever studied Bill Wallace's kicking method? His kicks are very hard to read and stop, no matter where they are thrown. We use a modification of his method which, according to him, gives us more power and reach.

    I attended one of his seminars a number of years ago, and had the opportunity to talk with him at length about his method vs. the modification of his method I was taught. His method makes up for his physical limitation of his right knee. Our method takes his theory, and adapts it to people who do not have that limitation and can use both legs.

    I can remember sparring with my instructor early on, and getting kicked in the earlobe by a foot that I could barely see leave the ground, over and over until my earlobe was red and stinging. But he never hit my head, and never missed the earlobe. I can't imagine saying to him that those kicks would not "really work."

    Oh, and a higher kick does not sacrifice more base. There is the same amount of you on the ground when you lift your leg, no matter how high you lift it. It is simply a change in center of gravity. If you are flexible enough to kick head level without leaning back, then there is no difference in your balance either way.

    It is simply a matter of skill. Obviously, I am an advocate of high kicks! But the key twofold. The kicks must be physically present in your arsenal, and you have to have enough common sense to know when and when not to use them.
    Dave

    "I consider that the spiritual life is the life of man's real self, the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern." - Thomas Merton


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    Default Re: Kicking

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenpodave
    Have you ever studied Bill Wallace's kicking method? His kicks are very hard to read and stop, no matter where they are thrown. We use a modification of his method which, according to him, gives us more power and reach.

    I attended one of his seminars a number of years ago, and had the opportunity to talk with him at length about his method vs. the modification of his method I was taught. His method makes up for his physical limitation of his right knee. Our method takes his theory, and adapts it to people who do not have that limitation and can use both legs.

    I can remember sparring with my instructor early on, and getting kicked in the earlobe by a foot that I could barely see leave the ground, over and over until my earlobe was red and stinging. But he never hit my head, and never missed the earlobe. I can't imagine saying to him that those kicks would not "really work."

    Oh, and a higher kick does not sacrifice more base. There is the same amount of you on the ground when you lift your leg, no matter how high you lift it. It is simply a change in center of gravity. If you are flexible enough to kick head level without leaning back, then there is no difference in your balance either way.

    It is simply a matter of skill. Obviously, I am an advocate of high kicks! But the key twofold. The kicks must be physically present in your arsenal, and you have to have enough common sense to know when and when not to use them.
    I have done a few seminars with Mr. Wallace including a 13 hour intensive session with both him and Joe Lewis. I am well aware of his deceptive kicking method.

    When it comes to sparring high kicks are a must but for practical self defense there are much more effective methods of hitting your attacker.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Kicking

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenpodave

    And ( I don't mean to flame here) most TKD blackbelts I have run across don't have any power in their kicks at any level because they don't really understand the mechanics of extension and recoil.

    There are also several ways to develop and measure power. For example, you can kick someone completely across a room with a side kick, or you can break his ribs without even knocking him down.
    I studied TKD back in the 80's at an ITF school. This is before the big WTF boom, and push for the Olympics. I had very good instructors who were extremely flexible and versed in the art of kicking. These guys really put me through my paces, and taught me a lot about kicking, even then I saw the dangers of high kicks. A major one being an exposed groin on many kick.

    Again I say high kicks are great for sparring, but not so effective for self defense.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Kicking

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad
    When it comes to sparring high kicks are a must but for practical self defense there are much more effective methods of hitting your attacker.
    I think you are right in many cases here. But there are times when the kick can and should be used, if the person has the ability to do so.
    Dave

    "I consider that the spiritual life is the life of man's real self, the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern." - Thomas Merton


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    Default Re: Kicking

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad
    I often say high kicks are impractical, but I can keep up with any TKD Blck Belt, I have met. The higher the kick the less power it has. A well placed low kick keeps you balanced, protected, and is much harder for your opponent to read and to stop.
    Couldn't agree more Rob. Well said buddy.


    Jamie Seabrook

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    Default Re: Kicking

    To a degree it really depends on the individual. I've sparred/competed against some TKD guys/gals that had awesome high kicks. Unfortunately for them, at the time I was training in Jiu-Jitsu and routinely trapped their legs (since they were kind enough to hand it to me ) and took them down and applied a grapevine, or knee bar, or ankle lock, or heel hook.....

    But I digress. LOL. Personally, based on my experience, I think the risk is to great on the street. I wouldn't kick above the waist. But, hey, if it works for you..great! The same techniques don't always have the same affect when executed by different people. Why? Cause we're all different!

    If you can land a kick to someones head while they are standing upright, you will probably do a lot of damage. But, IMHO, the consequences of not landing the strike are too great. BTW, I can kick that high (at least high enough to connect with someone no taller than about 6'1 anyway) I just choose not to. =)
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Kicking

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenpodave View Post
    What are your thoughts on kicking? When I came to kenpo, I came in search of the devastating hands, having heard that kenpo was "80% hands and 20% legs, and I did not consider myself to be a good kicker from my experience in other styles. Steve Finn changed that and now I consider myself an excellent kicker, and one of the only advocates of kicking that I typically find on kenpo forums.

    Thoughts?
    Well, I'm another.

    Dr. John M. La Tourrette

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    Default Re: Kicking

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad View Post
    Kicking is a very important part of the art. Well past 20% of the art. Kicking is found in many techniques, we just don't kick as high as some styles.
    The key is distance.

    Kicking is primarily for distances 5 and 4.

    Hands are primarily for distances 3.

    Dr. John M. La Tourrette
    ps. And head kicks are valid when they are set up correctly.

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