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Roundhouse Kicks for Self Defense

One of the most commonly used kicks is the roundhouse. Most beginners taking karate or taekwondo start learning this technique within the first few weeks of their training.

Years back we never taught defenses against kicks in our self defense training. This was because only a very small percentage of the population trained and those that did "would never use their martial arts training on another person in an offensive way." Today, of course this is different.

We have literally millions who have had some martial arts or 'self-defense' training. In the real fights I have seen where kicks were used, a high percentage of the time they were roundhouse kicks. Even to watch a few "street kids" play fight, there will almost always be roundhouse kicks thrown.

Obviously today, learning to defend on the street against a roundhouse kick attack is important. But should we use roundhouse kicks in our own self defense efforts?

I think to answer the question properly we must look at the style of martial art we are talking about, as well as the type of practice and training the practitioner is involved in.

If you train in a style where you practice and use your kicks only below the waist, work on developing devastating power in your roundhouse kicks, then maybe they have a place in your self defense arsenal. These would include Muai Thai and some kickboxing schools. For everyone else, I would say no! Here is why.

First of all I only advocate using low kicks in street self defense. High kicking can cause many problems like: Not being able to accurately hit your target, especially under and adrenal rush. Slipping on loose gravel, stone or sand. Having your leg grabbed by your attacker. Not being able to deliver a high kick with power.

Using roundhouse kicks to the legs, knees and possibly the groin can be effective but only if you can deliver them with sufficient power. This is especially true with leg kicks. Here is an area, if developed properly, the round house can be truly devastating.

Roundhouse kicks tend to be used with the instep in many styles. Instep kicking presents a very large striking area and prevents focusing power into a small area. For example, if you had to be hit with a 2 x 6 board, would you rather take it on the flat side or on the edge. No doubt the edge would do much more damage and be much more painful.

Overall I do not recommend roundhouse kicks to my students for use in self defense. We do, however, teach defenses against them. See www.street-self-defense.com.

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