Cady Goldfield wrote:
Any strike to the noggin with a blunt instrument, arriving at the peak of acceleration, is gonna leave a mark. I just question whether the foot is the best of those blunt instruments with which to deliver that strike, when there are equally effective ways that are easier and leave one less vulnerable to countering.
And I note this after a quarter of a century of karate and TKD study. Again, high kicks (for anything but sport competition) are for the exceptional, but not the average or typical practitioner.
Thanks for the reply to my comment. I brought up the example of Mirko Filipovic because that was an example of someone using a high kick successfully against expert BJJ fighters, olympic wrestlers, k-1 fighters, judo gold medalists, muy thai fighters...etc.
Keep in mind that he is known for these high kicks, everyone he fights is expecting him to use the left high kick, his opponents are experts in grappling and taking down their opponents, and yet he still pulls it off. Obviously, not everyone will be as good as Mirko, but then again, how likely is it that anyone of us will face olympic level wrestlers on the street. It's just an example that it can and has been used succesfully against opponents who would be best suited to counter it and take down their opponent. (which is considered the biggest risk of throwing a high kick.)
As far as there being "equally effective" and "easier" ways of striking or dealing with an opponent, I would say that it all depends on the context. I think any technique would be effective under the right set of circumstances, yet a poor choice in other circumstances. A high kick is just one more tool in your toolbox to use if need be. A pefect example is Ray Mercer (professional heavyweight boxer) going into K-1 to fight Remy Bonjawski (kick boxer). Why box a boxer when you can kick him in the head. By the way, the fight was over in about 10 seconds from a high kick to Mercer's head. In that situation, that was a good tool to use.
I agree that it is a difficult skill to excel at and be able to pull off in a fight, or self defense situation, but so is everything I've learned in Aikido and every other martial art I've trained in. It's just the nature of the beast. That's martial arts. If you want an easier more reliable weapon, but a gun. Training to do something difficult is what makes it fun!
For what it's worth, I used to share the same opinion as you that it was just not a practical technique. Then I saw people use it succesfully over and over again, and I realized it was the incorrect application of the technique by many people that was faulty, not the concept of the technique itself.
That's just my humble opinion.