View Full Version : low kick, what to do?

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Hagen Seibert
05-03-2004, 04:52 AM

a low kick seems to me a very dangerous attack.
One tries to hit with the shin or the lower part of the leg and aims to sweep you off your legs or give you a trauma.

I think itīs especially difficult if one tries to apply Aikido to it.
Itīs nearly impossible to blend with it in any way.

Also you are quite vulnerable to a low kick when you try to be in distance to grab and get into some arm lock.

Does anyone know a technique for that ??


05-03-2004, 05:09 AM
Don't grab - ever!

Aikido is not just locks, and it may seem difficult to throw, especially if you are thinking that you have to get hold of something to execute a throw. You can strike too and even just evade!

To tell you a technique to deal with it is a bit futile, as it depends on the exact situation, but here's a throw for you:

Attack: Low kick.
Response: Tenkan, Sokumen Irimi Nage.

Just one possibility which will hopefully get you thinking. The principle, which is infinitely more useful, is to evade and respond.

Hope that helps.

Nick Simpson
05-03-2004, 06:19 AM
Good advice mark, move out the way of the kick and then then you can respond with whatever you want, id probably pick an elbow to the face or if you wanted an aikido technique then a very direct tenchinage might work well, as the kicker may be slightly off balance, of course you have the option to smash the collarbone with tenchi and/or hit the face, its up to you.

05-03-2004, 06:38 AM
Think about number 4 in the 20 jo suburi,Tski gedan geishi. The attack to the knee can be seen as the same as a round house to the leg(same angle) so how would you translate that weapon tech in to your taijutsu its all the same. remeber that tski gedan geishi is also the same movment as irimi nage aswell.

Nick Simpson
05-03-2004, 06:51 AM
I'd say a roundhouse kick is very different to a straight kick aimed at the knee.

Hagen Seibert
05-03-2004, 07:03 AM
Hi Mark,
Would you like to explain what "Sokumen" Irimi Nage means to you?

Hi Nick,
to move out of the way of course is always helpful. Would you move in or move out or move sideways?
To get into elbow distance you would move in, right. So moving in and strike with elbow is one thing which can work.


Greg Jennings
05-03-2004, 08:06 AM
Watch films of full contact matches that allow leg kicks and make up your own mind.


05-03-2004, 09:18 AM
Pick up your leg, check to attackers leg, or if your leg is conditioned for it block with it.
There are also a few karate katas that address this by basically lifting the targeted leg - foot to oppoosite knee and back down.

05-03-2004, 11:29 AM
Sokumen Irimi Nage

Side Entering Throw

05-03-2004, 11:50 AM
At one of Saotome's seminars, he addressed this very issue. The technique he showed was to maintain balance and center and move your foot out of the way, by bending the knee without lifting the knee. Then, after uke misses your foot, return your foot to the orginial position but connect with the back side of uke's leg, causing uke to over extend the sweep. (there's your blending!) This, done right, will turn uke away from you and open up numerous possibilities.

I swear I can show this better than I can explain it in words...

Chad Sloman
05-03-2004, 12:36 PM
Zach, great example, that sounds like a really good idea.
Probably for me, if it was a mawashi geri to the leg, I'd treat it like a yokomen uchi.
We actually train for this in karate which is more or less a muay thai block that involves making a triangle with the targeted leg by lifting the knee and placing your foot at the other knee, but don't get too close because if he's like me he's going to be trying to kick the back leg so that you get knocked down. Probably the best and easiest is stepping slightly back at an angle so the kick misses and then entering for the counter attack, but then again watch for the combos.

Hagen Seibert
05-03-2004, 01:13 PM
Hey Zach & Chad,
that sounds interesting. Problem I see is how to know in time that itīs going to be a low kick to your lower leg instead to the upper part or the body. Because in that case heīll get you. So this only works when you can be sure about where heīs aiming (maybe have to see it in his eyes).

But I got this idea: Step forward slightly, lift the target leg like you described and point the knee at his leg just above his knee. That should stop the low kick with a very effective block.

Greg Jennings
05-03-2004, 01:45 PM
Problem I see is how to know in time that itīs going to be a low kick to your lower leg instead to the upper part or the body. Because in that case heīll get you. So this only works when you can be sure about where heīs aiming (maybe have to see it in his eyes).
You can do the same "destructing" of the kicking leg with the elbow when the kick is above the waist that you describe with the knee when it is below the waist.

I do not advise taking them on the forearms unless you have to.

The higher they kick, the longer it takes to develop and get back down, the more prone they are to being off balance and the more prone they are to letting their hand guard down.

My favorite response to a round kick is a power round kick to the knee of their plant leg.

Keep in mind that it's been a couple of decades since I was active in the ring and there have probably been a lot of innovations.


Chad Sloman
05-03-2004, 02:08 PM
Greg is absolutely correct, and his advice is probably better than mine, but.... that's why I treat a mawashi geri like a yokomen uchi. I don't care where the kick is going because I'm not going to be there, but the tai sabaki is the same for the high or low round kick. And like Greg said, in karate when I see the round kick I lift the target leg for the low kick and keep my arm up for the high kick so I'm protected on both fronts. I can spear his foot/shin with my knee on the low kick or I can spear his foot with my elbow on the waist level kick or I can absorb the high kick with my arm against my body. But this is not really an "aiki" way of dealing with a mawashi geri.

Greg Jennings
05-03-2004, 02:26 PM
What is "aiki"?


Chad Sloman
05-03-2004, 02:38 PM
DOH! You got me, I don't know..... :D I guess I mean that the blocking methodology for me is applying forced resistance where in aikido I would be trying to blend with it and not resisting, but that's just my very unqualified opinion

William Westdyke
05-03-2004, 02:39 PM
When all else fails go back to basics! I have a roommate who practices mixed martial arts and has been competing for the last 2 years in cage matches similar to UFC. His kick-boxing leg kicks alone have won him 2 or 3 fights. When we spar, he is always frustrated because they just don't work on me. The secret is so incredibly simple it works every time. Irimi, HARD, keeping your arms unbendable and aimed at his chest area. Similar to the happo giri or "8 directions" exercise you slide in as the round house starts. Its a simple matter of standing kokyu dosa to throw from there. It works because he needs a second to replant his kicking foot which completely missed the target or bounced harmlessly thigh to thigh. The only thing I would say in caution to this is it flat doesn't work against a side thrust or strait snap kick. You only add momentum to his foot in that case and can quickly have the wind knocked out of you. Hope this helped.

P.S. If you missed the timing on this, its perfectly ok to step back and make him come again. Eventually you will get the timing right and he will be on his butt.

05-03-2004, 02:53 PM
P.S. If you missed the timing on this, its perfectly ok to step back and make him come again. Eventually you will get the timing right and he will be on his butt.

Having trained with quite a lot of proficient strikers and having practiced striking arts myself, I would avoid moving backwards at all costs. If you pull your leg back to avoid the kick, or hop back, you are leaving yourself open for a stamping kick, where they sacrifice their balance to lunge forward and stamp down your front shin, and even better on to your front knee!!!

The Aiki way of moving off the line of attack is pure genius!

Greg Jennings
05-03-2004, 03:19 PM
DOH! You got me, I don't know..... :D I guess I mean that the blocking methodology for me is applying forced resistance where in aikido I would be trying to blend with it and not resisting, but that's just my very unqualified opinion
Look into the "aiki" thing. At how it was used before aikido and how the Founder changed the term. It's quite interesting.
I don't want to block, either. But someone will eventually catch you in a situation that greatly reduces your options. When that happens, having the check (which is a mini irimi to me) in your toolbox will be a good thing.

As William points out, jamming the attack (macro irimi) is a good option.

To me, the "aiki" thing ;) would be to head off the conflict altogether.


Hagen Seibert
05-04-2004, 05:48 AM
so weīve got some blocking versions now.

What about more aiki-like things.
In our discussion I found:
a) move in and jam the attack or push him over from close distance
b) move back out of range, but that leaves him free for another attack
c) move sideways, but what then ??
any experinences on that ??

Nick Simpson
05-04-2004, 06:30 AM
Move sideways, atemi to the face/solar plexus and stamp down on their other knee/shin.

05-04-2004, 08:15 AM
IMHO, movement, ma-ai. Low kicks leave the person still on one leg, take their balance. Move in, jam, and take balance. Move out, and let it pass. Blend tenkan along the kicks angle of attack and use the momentum to take balance.

Best bet, get a fellow student to slowly throw a few at you and figure it out. A lot of these things cannot be figured out theoretically in our heads. It is only on the mat that they begin to make sense.

05-06-2004, 12:12 AM
The most dangerous part of a roundhouse kick is the foot, because it moves the fastest. If you get hit with the thigh, it doesn't hurt because of the low speed. So, the safest place to be is close to your opponent. Since they are standing on one foot, even a small shove should take their balance. (in other words, enter, and fast. ) The hard part is reading your opponent, and being faster.

Aiki U-Dansha
05-27-2004, 05:29 PM
Hi! it may be usefull to make a Ushiro Tsuki Ashi and then a Sankaku Irimi.
To consider the attack as an yokomen uchi attack could be usefull either.

05-27-2004, 10:26 PM
To receive a low kick?


05-28-2004, 12:36 AM
Yeah a low kick/sweep will be harder to spot if they know what they're doing, but the angle of their leg means that the range is shorter than a normal kick, more like the range of a punch.
So the angles of attck will tend to be like a shomen tsuki or yokomen uchi with similar ma-ai.
How do you blend with them?

Beyond that, it's up to you which responses you make, but if they're on 1 leg their balance will be weakened.

Hagen Seibert
05-28-2004, 03:18 AM
Together with a friend who is 4. Dan JuJutsu we found this nice technique:
If heīs coming with the right leg for the low kick you enter, stepping forewars to his front side, left hand pushing toward his face. Itīs important to take a good step forward ant enter into a quite low stance. If you could comfortably hit his groin, thatīs fine. Then you use you right hand not for hitting, but to take his left leg away.

05-28-2004, 08:23 AM
I want to say from the beginning that I've only been doing Aikido for a few months so I guess you should take this from the source. Also, I have a very poor grasp of the Japanese terminology, so I'm just going to say this in plain English.

A while back my Sensei was physically pondering this same issue with some higher dan ranks. (The rest of the class was practicing a different technique, but I couldn't resist taking a minute to watch.) I'm pretty sure this technique could work pretty well against most kicks.

1) He broke uke's ki by punching the inner thigh of the kicking leg. This would work against almost any kick, as opposed to an elbow which would be hard to get low enough for a low kick.

2) Sensei threw uke however he felt. He tried different combinations but I seem to recall that the most practical was to sweep around to uke's rear and do a simple throw from uke's shoulders.

Again, please pardon my poor vocabulary but I think you will get the idea.

Greg Jennings
05-28-2004, 08:56 AM

You sound like a really nice guy, so please don't take this the wrong way...

Watch a full-contact match that allows leg kicks. You won't see anyone reaching down to low kicks with their hands. Well, they *might* until the other guy hook takes advantage of their hands being down and punches their lights out.

One of the many strategic benefits of leg kicks is that they *hurt* and weaken and eventually get the other guy to drop their hands thus opening their head for punches.

Don't take my word for it. Go out on the web and research what the competitive guys are doing. They have the very best of motivations to search out what works.