Why Kick High – When You Can Kick Low?

As I was watching my oldest daughter’s swim practice tonight, I saw two boys, maybe 11-12, show of their karate skills off in the corner of the pool grounds; just a little mock fight. Every kick they threw aimed for the head.

I’ve only been training for about 10 years. But the older and more experienced I get, the less I want to swing my foot all the way up to somebody’s face. If your martial arts style focuses on high kicks, and you practice them often, more power to you. But for most martial artists… here’s a simple test. Take some chalk and draw a smiley face on a heavy bag. Now, kick it. Aim for the face. Not that easy, is it? You’re aiming for the ear, and you end up on the neck. You’re aiming for the neck – and you and up kicking at the shoulder.

I think there is a reason why it’s so hard: Our feet are meant to stay close to earth. The more I try (and fail) to kick high accurately, the more it seems like a misplaced effort. Kicking at the head is kind of like punching at the feet. Those tools are meant for their own dimensions.

Kicking the legs, on the other hand, is a beautiful thing. You can close your eyes and throw a roundhouse accurately, right in the Gallbladder 31/32 area. (A nod to all of you who practice pressure-point fighting, like we do at AKJ.) And what better way is there to fight somebody who is bigger than you? Chop them down at the legs. Then, go to work on their face.

My oldest one also takes martial arts. The other night, we were sitting on the couch, re-watching Frozen. There is a scene where one of the heroes fights a Snow Giant: big, mean, nasty snowman. The hero picks up his sword, chops off one of the Giant’s legs – and he falls off a cliff, unable to keep his balance.

“He cut off his leg!” my daughter yelled. I sensed an opportunity. “Quick,” I said,” let’s go have a quick karate lesson.” Then I showed how she, although she’s only seven, can take down a guy my size if she kicks him the right way at the legs. I explained that certain leg kicks can be very dangerous, “so we never kick at the knees in sparring, or if someone is just being a jerk. But if a guy my size grabs you at the mall while your mom is shopping and I’m too busy chasing your little sister…”

“I’ll take out his legs.”

“That a girl. Take out one. That’s all you need. Here’s how, again…”

The leg is three times stronger than the arm. An average male is three times stronger than an average female. Do the math. If a young lady knows how to use her legs, she can quickly even out her chances. Without aiming for the face.

Aim low, friends.