5 Ways to improve your leg kicks.

As a part of my own training and development as a martial artist, I have spent the last few years researching the history and techniques of different systems. To better understand my roots it is important for me to know what techniques and principles other styles of martial arts use.

Many of the same techniques appear in every system, just tweeked a bit to suit the style. A widely used kick (especially in the old style systems) are the leg kicks. Made famous by the Thai Boxing and MMA sports these kicks are found in all styles as an effective self defence weapon.

I taught Muay Thai for many years and thought I would share this drill with you. It worked really well in teaching my students where on the leg to strike. I was then able to build on this foundation and help them understand how to incorporate set ups and defense. This drill is universal and any student practicing leg kicks can use it to add variety to their training.

Here is the video I did with my training partner - Lower Leg Template

This drill is split into 5 separate techniques which flow in one drill. It is based on angles of attack, which I am a big fan of. Standing and trading is not really my thing.

Angle 1 ( Outside Right Leg Kick )

The right leg steps 45 degrees to the right to set up your hip rotation. Rotate your hips toward the outside of your opponents thigh, striking in a downward round kick with your shin.

Angle 2 ( Top of the thigh leg kick )

The left leg steps 45 degrees to the left and drive your shin down on top of your opponents thigh. My Instructor once did this drill lightly in training and I remember limping out the gym.

Angle 3 ( Inside Left Kick )

Skip forward and deliver an left inside leg kick with either the top of the foot or shin. I use this to feel range and to split my opponents legs apart off balancing them.

Angle 4 ( Inside Right Kick )

If you opponent has a wide stance, double skip to the left delivering a right inside shin kick. If they constantly check your outside leg kicks, you can set this kick up using a fake round kick motion to get your opponent to raise their leg. Double skip to the left 45 degrees and deliver the right kick, which will sweep or off balance them.

Angle 5 ( Left Outside Kick)

As the rear foot is difficult to reach its a high risk move, but with the correct set up can be devastating. The Left leg steps 45 degrees to the left to close the distance and set up rotation in the hips. Rotate the waist toward your opponent and deliver a left shin kick to the outside of their rear thigh.

The beauty of this drill is, you can add your own set ups and counters personalizing it to suit your style.

This drill really did help me understand the importance of angles in sparring.

Hope it helps.

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