SP ARCHIVES: Low Round Kick

Simon Beckett wrote:

you wrote recently on another thread …

“… and it’s part of that clawing action for kicks both in the kicking leg and the support leg. I’m working flexors and extensors within the movement. Sometimes I focus only on one or the other, but you can actually focus on both.”

id like to discuss this in relation to your style of low round kicks (shown here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhualei4EK8)

often i hear people say something along the lines of, “just swing your leg like a baseball bat”. however if i interpret what you are suggesting correctly, you are actually incorporating a pulling action within the striking limb. at training today i tried to implement the idea and experienced a completely different feeling. on impact i pulled with the hamstrings at the same as extending the shin into the bag with the quads. i guess conceptually its as if you over-shoot with the knee, fractionally, in order to bring the clawing action into the equation. is that what you are referring to in the above quote? or am i off track?

Steve’s reply:

You don’t engage the flexors on the release of the shot, you engage them sometimes when you’re loading the shot. If you look up on you tube I’ve got a clip

and you’ll see that I wind up the leg by clawing back a little bit behind me, like I was kicking up dirt. That puts a bit of bend in the leg and I then use the rest of the body to drive out that fold like cracking a whip. I also, without a preload, sometimes just take the leg from whatever position it’s in and just kick it. THat’s also on the clip. The first I throw, the second I fire.

Within every action, there’s a pull and a push. But it’s very very difficult to break this down and put it into words. I think you’ve misinterpreted it, and I’d need to see you do it. It’s easy to show, and if you watch the clip it’s quite clear.

If you want a simple way of looking at it, when you walk you’re not only driving with one leg but pulling with the other, and this process keeps alternating. You always look for the pull and the push, the coupling of forces, because if you can do both you get more power.

Simon wrote: have you often used the low round kick to good effect, outside of the gym? what type of reactions have you got with it?

against untrained individuals, or those not trained in kicking, it can be devastating. however against higher level opponents i would guess its a lower percentage technique. for those only interested in self protection would you rate it as a highly recommended strike to develop?

heres a recent mma fight with a well known thai fighter. he throws a lot of leg kicks in the match to surprisingly little effect, even after 3 rds.


Mr muay thai wrote: i was wondering about lowkicks too Steve , i have always been taught to step across when delivering , but i dont see anyone doing this , is it wrong ? or ” bad technique ” ?

liked the clip too , i have a question about the bag , do you have it actually on the floor at the bottom on purpose ?

Steve wrote: Simon, the success of the low round kick is down to a lot of factors. The fact that it didn’t work in this fight doesn’t invalidate it. If you look the clip Luciano put up of Ernesto Hoost, he’s dropping good fighters with the kick. It’s just the way you do it, and when.

In that same way, just because a punch doesn’t work on a particular occasion, that doesn’t invalidate the punch. The fighter in this case seemed to be rushing the kick, and kicking more into the lower leg than the upper region of the leg. Seemed to be afraid of the takedown. Plus, the other guy could very well be conditioned, or there just wasn’t enough finish on the kick.

One thing about the round kick that comes out, and I saw it a lot with the OCFM seminar I did at Tony Pillage’s in September, as well as with Tony Pillage’s members and those who attended my courses at Steve Rowe’s, is that the round kick that they seem to be stuck with is one where the foot points forward and they kick upwards. They don’t angle the kick down into the leg, and the front foot doesn’t create an angle for the direction that the body weight needs to travel in order to support the kick. And the head doesn’t move in the direction of the force.

If you’re going to use the analogy of a baseball bat, then you don’t hit with the baseball bat going up into his leg, you hit him with a baseball bat driving down into his leg, and if you look at Hoost you’ll see that on a lot of his kicks. Even the ones to the head are sometimes coming down.

I’ll be putting up a couple of clips that show what happens if you kick upwards and he blocks with the upper portion of his shin. These clips are not for the squeamish, as I read on Shikon that some of the members felt ill when they saw them (Which surprised me, because it is after all a martial art. You are supposed to hurt people).




Simon, with regard to a self-protection context, it depends on the situation, your competency with the kick, and your opportunity. As you know, I never say ‘these are the techniques you should use’ as if the technique itself is going to save your life. It’s your ability to perform it in a live situation that matters. That’s why, no matter what the kick is, it needs to be tested in dissimilar and adversary training, and not compliant training. It’s your kick, and you’ve got to test it.

Even in similar training, like Muay Thai, you’ve got to test it. You can’t just assume that it’s good because you hit a bag with it or it worked in a drill or it seemed to work in a demonstration.

Craig, stepping across rather depends on the width of your stance when you start. If you’ve got a narrow stance, and you try a round kick from that position you’ll be directly in line for a right cross or a left hook. So the trade-off isn’t a good one. You need to step out to get the angle for the kick to come in, and to get the momentum of the body for the shot, and to put your head and body in a safer zone.

If you’ve got a wider stance, that step doesn’t have to be as much. But, to cut the angle, you can do this with a step, a skip, a jump, a hop—there’s lots of ways of doing it. A run. Whole bunch of ways. That’s what footwork is about; adjusting to what you need to do.

So, it isn’t wrong. It’s right.

About the bag: yes, I like it on the floor because guys’ legs don’t swing. And I like it hard, because guys’ legs are not soft. Soft bags encourage wrong skills, and if the bag’s swinging all over the place you’re getting the wrong result. Tony Pillage, for example, has got some very friendly bags. You’re not going to hurt yourself on them, and that’s good for kids, but you’ve got work up to a harder bag. And you don’t want it swinging all over the place.