Let’s have a look in a bit more detail how attacks to the legs, by kicking, can be a very powerful weapon in Self-Defense.
The area most attacked in a typical violent robbery or confrontation, is the head and rightly so. It’s the shortest route to incapacitating an opponent if done well. So what tends to happen is there is an all out free for all, with swings to the head, hoping something will land. It’s the go to attack as many videos on Youtube show.
But what about kicking?
The problem with kicking, even if you are very good at it, is that it often isn’t very effective in the melee of a real street fight. It is difficult to execute and you can easily lose your balance, making you vulnerable to counter attacks. Plus, on top of that, it uses up more energy than other techniques and you can tire quickly, especially with extra adrenaline pumping round your system. It’s draining. But in spite of all of that, they can be effective, if you keep the attacks below waist height. Kicking to the legs can be a nasty surprise for your opponent as it is a form of attack that is unexpected.
Most people, whether they are involved in Martial Arts or not, have heard of the UFC ( Ultimate Fighting Championship ) or mixed martial arts. It’s the latest fashion in combat competitions and designed to test someones all round martial arts skills. Boxing still pulls in huge audiences but it doesn’t have the variety of skills necessary to master mixed martial art competitions.
But is it something useful in everyday street self-defense?
The argument for yes is that you learn a range of exceptional skills, stamina and toughness that an average person simply doesn’t have. So if you ended up in a physical confrontation you could dominate with ease and your opponent would be in serious trouble.
Alternatively, the argument for no, is that this very same skill level and the sense of confidence it brings can land you in serious trouble as your awareness levels and thinking skills take second place. This can put you in dangerous situations that you could have avoided in environments beyond your control, where there are no rules and no sense of honour.
Is it better to train aggression or cold calculation in Self-Defense?
This an interesting subject that comes up in various forms when discussing learning how to defend yourself. Do you simply learn how to pile in and aggressively attack your assailant or do you develop cold,calculating skills that help you clearly work your way out of trouble?
The reason this comes up often is because you can have different schools or styles that argue for both cases. On the one hand it is argued that once the adrenalin rush hits you, you shouldn’t fight that, but use it to drive an aggressive counter attack until you are safe. The other argument would be for staying as cool as possible so that you are aware of all the options available and you then act accordingly.
Different schools of thought
For instance, this quote from How to Drive a Tank goes for the GLF theory ( go like fuck )of winning a violent confrontation. Basically meaning that as soon as trouble arrives you hammer your opponent until he is no longer a threat.
“Real fighting is like the blitzkrieg (lightning war) tactics used in the Second World War or the ‘shock and awe’ tactics of today. As Mick says, ‘Pound the living fuck out of them with everything you can rather than have that standoff stalemate, pointing guns at each other for years.’
This of course has it’s advantages but could be flawed if it doesn’t work. If you tire quickly and your assailant has some “friends” that you weren’t aware of, you could be in serious trouble. You could also be in trouble if you weren’t aware that he was carrying a weapon as you went in Gung-Ho! It could also be a problem if your attacker preserves energy and you blow out. Then what?
With the rise of mixed martial arts and the UFC , fighting on the floor has come to recent prominence. It’s always been there, but in the early days of mixed martial arts fighting, the Gracie family specifically showed how effective Ju-Jitsu groundwork can be.
Ju-jitsu, Judo and wrestling are arts that have advanced levels of skills designed to work on the floor. In a self-defense situation, this can be an essential skill as a high percentage of fights go to the ground. If that happens you want to have enough skill to have the advantage and not be floundering around on a concrete floor whilst being choked out or punched senseless.
Why learn to fight on the ground?
Sometimes if you are in a dominant position from a striking point of view, the common thing the other person would do is grab hold of you. With no grappling skill and no ground fighting skills, if you are dragged to the ground, you are at the same level as they are. Training to dominate the initial grappling and then the takedown is essential. This can also help you deal with a ferocious stand-up fighter if they are gaining the initiative as, to quote self-defence expert, Geoff Thompson
“…often the most frightening of opponents in vertical fighting is an absolute mouse on the floor because he has no experience of that range.”