Lynn Seiser wrote:
IMHO, it really all depends on "who" is doing the kicking and how well they do it.
General rules are just that, general.
It also depends on who is being kicked at, and how well they know how to move in, connect with and control the kicker.
I spent the first 20+ years of my MA studies in karate and "old style" TKD (read: karate adapted by Koreans during the Japanese occupation). All of our kicks "back then" were low, in fact below the waist and definitely never higher than the waist. We focused on knees, insides of knee and thigh, ankle, instep stomping.
It wasn't until the late 70s that high kicking started to make a genuine presence. Koreans were beginning to move their training away from the Japanese model and more toward a nationalistic Korean style promulgated by Gen. Choi Hong Hi and other guys who had learned karate during the occupation, but also had vestiges of old Korean kicking arts. We started having to add wheel kicks and other high stuff to our repertoire. A lot of us old stylists grumbled about how vulnerable the movements made us.
And when TKD became an Olympics demo sport (later a full sport), the flashy kicks really took off. Even some kung fu and karate schools started adding them to attract new students who were dazzled by the acrobatics.
Are they useful? If you are really quick and powerful, you can make them work against...some people. Don't try them on a grappler, though. They eat those kinds of openings for breakfast. Maybe as a substitute for a sucker punch, but why take the risk.
Stick to low kicks, or even better, learn to kick like a sumo guy.