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How To Incorporate Kicks Into Your Combative Workouts

(an excerpt from the Toughen Up Guide to Power Kicking)

I’m going to take a stab at discussing how to incorporate kicking into the power punching workouts that I lay out in my Power Punching Guide.  If you don’t have the guide, but have a solid striking skills base, you should have no problem following along.

My philosophy on kicking techniques is that they’re a valuable supplement to solid punching and striking skills and an important addition to your workouts whether you’re training for self-defense or fitness.

The points I’m about to share with you should get you “up and kicking” with a more comprehensive training program on pads, heavy bags or in shadowboxing drills.

You’ll soon be able to blend kicking techniques into your punching and striking skills for more vigorous and productive workouts.

A Punch Is Not A Kick.  A Kick Is Not A Punch.

Punches and kicks are NOT created equal. They are different techniques with different strengths, weaknesses and applications.

When designing your combative workouts, here are some kicking concepts to consider:

  • Kicking combinations should be short, simple and realistic.
  • Kicks alone are unlikely to end a fight.
  • Kicking techniques are great for setting up effective punching combo’s.
  • Kicking techniques can be powerful follow up techniques for punches.
  • Kicking is best mastered by integrating them with existing punching skills.
  • Adding kicks to a “boxing-based” workout will increase the intensity and conditioning benefits of your workouts

Lets take a look at these concepts in greater detail:

Kicking combinations should be short, simple and realistic.

Blasting out a solid combination of 3, 4 or even 6 punches in a row can be an effective fighting tactic.  You can overload your opponent with a blizzard of bone crunching shots, in rapid succession from a variety of angles so fast and so hard he won’t know what hit him.

Trying doing the same thing with a series of rapid-fire kicks would be impractical and downright silly.  Kicks just don’t work that way. Kicking combinations, if you do them at all, need to be kept short and simple.

Elaborate kicking combo’s leave you standing on one foot too long and will throw your body out of position and susceptible to being countered or taken to the ground.

Kicking alone is unlikely to end a fight

In the real world of self-defense and street fighting, kicks are seldom used by themselves to end a fight.

On rare occasions, you might be able to pull of a knock out with a well placed “boot” to the right place at the right time, but don’t rely on it.  If it happens?  Bonus!  But you’d better have a plan B ready if it doesn’t.

Even a solid kick to the groin for example, MIGHT drop a bad guy… but it might also enrage him to become even more violent.  Be prepared if that happens.

Kicks are slower than punches and usually have further to travel to get to the intended target. In most cases you’ll have to “set them up” to land them effectively.

That being said, a well-placed kick may give you an opportunity to “stun and run” if you deliver it unexpectedly to a sensitive target like the groin or knee joint so don’t rule them out either.

Kicking techniques are great for setting up an effective punching combo

Kicks are excellent techniques for creating opportunities to land solid punches.  A swift kick to the shin, knee, groin or midsection can draw the opponent’s guard and attention down and leave his head wide open and susceptible to a solid strike.

Low kicks, even if they don’t land can be convincing enough to get your opponent to “flinch” low and draw an attempt to block it or grab your leg.  This too will serve the purpose of leaving upper level targets unprotected.

Kicking techniques are powerful follow up techniques for punches

The sequence can also be reversed where your punching attacks create openings and opportunities to land your kicks more effectively. Punching at the opponent’s head for example, whether you land the blow or not, can create an opening for a solid kick to another part of the body that is left unprotected.

A follow up with a hard kick may also be a good idea, if you tag your opponent with a punch that is hard enough to temporarily daze or stun him, but not take him out of the fight…  now would be a great time to blast’m with a powerful kick that he’ll be less likely to avoid.

Kicking is best mastered by integrating them into existing punching skills

I find that the best way to incorporate effective kicks into your workouts is to “add them” before or after your punching drills.

Rather than re-inventing the wheel and trying to construct totally different kicking combo’s, take the punching combo’s that you’ve already developed and blend the kicks in with them.

Here are a few suggestions about how to do that.

In the Power Punching Guides, I teach a variety of punching combinations and training drills… “build ups, audibles, sets and reps” etc.

I’ll use the word “combo” to describe any effective punching combo… and the word “kick” to indicate when you’d launch the appropriate knee strike or kicking technique.

kick + combo

Throw a kick, land back into a solid stance and blast out  your punching combination.  Give some thought to what kicks would serve to set up the punching sequence.

combo + same-side kick

Launch our punching combination and end it with a kick, usually a roundhouse or knee strike, with the same side of the body as the last punch of your combo.  For example if, you threw a left-right-left combo, you’d add a left kick or knee strike to the end of the sequence.

combo + opposite-side kick

A simple twist on the previous drills is to end your combo by adding a kick with the leg on the opposite side of the body, as the last punch you threw.

Again, using the left-right-left combo.  Since your last punch was with your left hand, you’d add a right kick or knee strike to end you punch/kick

kick + combo + kick

This final variation puts it all together and will give you a challenging workout that will really work you cardio, your coordination and your ability to blend your kicking skills seamlessly with your striking.

Throw out a kick, land down with your punching combo, and end it with a kick or short kicking combination.

Exactly what kicking techniques and punching techniques you use isn’t that important… I suggest you experiment with various combinations and figure out which ones “fit” together.

You may find that your unique abilities, preferences, level of flexibility etc. will lead you to some kicking techniques more than others.  Have fun with it.

About Randy LaHaie

I’m the founder of “Protective Strategies,” a training and consulting company providing self-defense and combative fitness solutions to law enforcement, high-risk professionals and private citizens since 1994. I am a retired police officer, court-declared expert in use-of-force and critical incident performance, and a life-long student of self-defense and combative fitness. “My Thing” is to help people incorporate functional and minimalist workout strategies to improve their health, fitness and personal safety.

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