High Kicks to the Head

Boomer

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High kicks...they are an unusual weapon. Like firearms, I don't personally believe that one must specifically be able to use high kicks in a combat situation to be a martial artist. However, if they are used, they should only be used if one has been trained to be effective in combat with them.

Just my thoughts though. :)

I do agree, it is a good point of view.
I will however, add this sentiment:
You DO what you TRAIN.

If you are a student of martial sport, where high kicks are the norm, then when confronted, you will react as your body naturally knows how...depending on the environment, this could be a bad thing.
 

Hand Sword

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There is one factor that I have seen happen quite a few times as well. It comes from those attackers (I'll assume we are all doing this as defense-RIGHT?) that have not trained in the arts. They are unfamiliar with seeing kicks come their way. When it does, you sometimes see, what I call the deer in the headlights syndrome. It's where they freeze motionless with a blank look in their eyes, and react after the hit happens. In my experiences I have seen some kicks that were really wound up and blatant land flush! After, you would hear the explanation from those on the receiving end go like "I saw it coming, I just couldn't get my body to move..I don't know what happened". As a 3rd person watching, it was the syndrome. It's almost like your brain searches through it's files of defensive measures against this unfamiliar attack, while the body waits.

The only other problem is accuracy. Those that train do have more with high kicks, but, even they have a problem scoring flush. If they do, then the rest of us, luck aside, will have a near impossible time. Going with above, those kicks that landed flush did damage but the fights continued.
 
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Kosho Gakkusei

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I do agree, it is a good point of view.
I will however, add this sentiment:
You DO what you TRAIN.

If you are a student of martial sport, where high kicks are the norm, then when confronted, you will react as your body naturally knows how...depending on the environment, this could be a bad thing.
Great point!! Alot of people's arguments have been, "I can do them because I train them and if you don't train them too they won't work for you." This puts a whole other spin on that argument.

It's surprising to me that not many proponents of this technique even seem willing to talk about environmental concerns and issues with range. I think to make any technique useful learning when to use a technique is equally important to learning how.

There is one factor that I have seen happen quite a few times as well. It comes from those attackers (I'll assume we are all doing this as defense-RIGHT?) that have not trained in the arts. They are unfamiliar with seeing kicks come their way. When it does, you sometimes see, what I call the deer in the headlights syndrome. It's where they freeze motionless with a blank look in their eyes, and react after the hit happens. In my experiences I have seen some kicks that were really wound up and blatant land flush! After, you would hear the explanation from those on the receiving end go like "I saw it coming, I just couldn't get my body to move..I don't know what happened". As a 3rd person watching, it was the syndrome. It's almost like your brain searches through it's files of defensive measures against this unfamiliar attack, while the body waits.

Good point as well. High Kicks that work on the street have alot to do with the ignorance and often fear of the attacker on how to handle them. One question, with the recent surge of popularity of the UFC, do you think high kicks have become demystified thus this advantage could be neutralized?

The only other problem is accuracy. Those that train do have more with high kicks, but, even they have a problem scoring flush. If they do, then the rest of us, luck aside, will have a near impossible time. Going with above, those kicks that landed flush did damage but the fights continued.

I have a problem with buying into the one strike - one kill philosophy or building off assumed reactions to different strikes. Be it with hands or feet. It seems to blatantly ignore Murphy's Law and what happens when you ASSUME.
:asian:I know most of us study eastern MAs but these western tidbits of wisdom still apply on western streets.

_Don Flatt
 

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I do agree, it is a good point of view.
I will however, add this sentiment:
You DO what you TRAIN.

I agree.

If you are a student of martial sport, where high kicks are the norm, then when confronted, you will react as your body naturally knows how...depending on the environment, this could be a bad thing.

And this is different from other techniques, how? Depending on the environment, a punch could be a bad thing - for example, a student I knew at the middle school where I teach tried to punch the SRO (School Resource Officer - a local police officer assigned to our school) - but the student (13 years old) didn't realize the SRO was wearing a bullet proof vest, and broke his hand. Environmental factors can affect any technique - and I don't think any of us who say that high kicks can be effective ever said they were the only kick - or even the technique of first choice - just another tool in the tool box, to be used as appropriate, like any other tool.
 

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Good point as well. High Kicks that work on the street have alot to do with the ignorance and often fear of the attacker on how to handle them. One question, with the recent surge of popularity of the UFC, do you think high kicks have become demystified thus this advantage could be neutralized?
_Don Flatt


Only if in goofing around they and their friends try kicking at each other. However, I still feel it would take a regular practice of it to overcome the freeze up. Based on that, I think the advantage will remain.
 

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Well I'm rather peeved that while I've been busy working you've managed to make this last 10 pages!
My only comment however concerns Geoff Thompson, when Exile mentioned him people seemed to think he was just some guy who has written some books. I have trained with him, my instructor and he are good friends and I can tell you everything in his books is genuine. The same goes for Peter Conserdine and Iain Abernethy. Geoff is a very hard man and if he says something works or it doesn't, disbelieve him at you own risk. You will not get better 'reality' training than his.
In my job I do get confrontations invariably with males more often than not Fijians ( the British army is short of recruits so they went to Fiji, they've stopped recruiting them though as they are very violent when drunk and will rape and assault however we still have a great many of them, none under six foot and built like brick outhouses)Trust me, a head kick from Crocop will not stop these guys. A kick in the nuts, a smashed nose, a kick to the kneecap, a finger in the eye will however slow them down long enough to get a few of you restraining him. I have a kubatan aimed straight into his throat usually ( that little bit just above the sternum), a palm heel to the nose, grab his ears and knee him in the face does it too. They are usually sporting though and it's one on one. Then arrest the bugger. What's ideal though is the dog handler there! You can't beat the flashing white teeth of a GSD or Rottweiler who wants to 'play', you can keep the kicks give me a dog!
 
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Kosho Gakkusei

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Only if in goofing around they and their friends try kicking at each other. However, I still feel it would take a regular practice of it to overcome the freeze up. Based on that, I think the advantage will remain.

Just playing devil's advocate. One thing the UFC teaches people is to charge in with a tackle or wrestling shot to neutralize kicks. I've met many untrained young men who claim that's what they'd do against a "kicker" because of what they've seen on UFC. Does that mean for these guys much of the psychological effect that causes a freeze up has been disapated by their entertainment? Bearing this in mind I wouldn't want to take the chance my attacker(s) has a wrestling backround and attempt to lift my foot off the ground pre-emptively. I probably wouldn't use a pre-emptive kick to the head unless the attacker gave such a blatant opening for the front head kick (or the high section kick described earlier, frontward direction) that I couldn't resist. I wouldn't try to pull of a roundhouse or side kick to the head because it will be more difficult to recover from these as they cause you to turn your center away from the attacker.

And this is different from other techniques, how? Depending on the environment, a punch could be a bad thing.....

No one has ever said that a punch couldn't be a bad thing too. I think kicking is a bad idea more often than punching. Sometimes running away is the best idea, sometimes not. Spotting trouble ahead of time and keeping out of it is always the best thing. As to the differences between punching and kicking please re-read this thread as that's been discussed at length. You are free, however, to believe what you wish.

_Don Flatt
 

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let this thread go and sink out of sight so we can get on with reading posts that don't make us grind our teeth.
I beg to differ (and I don't beg often! ). I think this thread is a potentially beneficial discussion about practical application of classroom trained techniques, particularly kicking (one of my favorite subjects). For me, it is a welcome change from the fluff threads of “what color are the walls in your dojo/dojang, and how does that make you feel (happy, sad, angry)?

Kosho, I want to clarify what I meant by my comment about the speed of kicks.
5. Your opponent is drunk. (As long as they're drunk and you're not, you should have time for your high kick to the head.)
(note my red highlight. Just how much time do you think it takes for a kick to the head? Mine are not super-human, but get there faster than a block.)
I don't agree with this statement. The arm has less distance to travel and is innately faster.
The reason I quoted #5 and highlighted the red, is because it implies that an opponent needs to be “drunk” in order for a kick to get to the head unnoticed, or unblocked. My experience is that it does not take that much “time for your high kick” to reach the head, therefore it is fast enough to hit a sober person. My comment is not a comparison of speed of a kick vs a punch or a block. What I said is that the kick is fast enough to get to the head before a block is used to stop it. All I have to do is be within kicking range, and execute the kick faster than the reaction time of the human brain (about .07 to .10 of a second). Another way is to kick mid section first. They either block, or get hit. If they block, they are dropping a guard to do so which exposes the head. It only takes a fraction of a fraction of a second to change to a head kick since my foot is already at their torso.
The hook kick you describe would be viable in close range and has been mostly overlooked so far in the discussion. Personally, I would not be comfortable on one leg for even .1 seconds that close to an attacker.
Actually, when you think about it, everyone is on one leg for varying intervals during a fight. Unless you can last through every fight with little “baby shuffles” of the feet, you are likely to step when you avoid an attack, while punching, or during that clinching phase, and the process of shoot and take-downs. Judo practioners will often be on one foot while executing various sweeps, reaps and flips (often much longer than a kick and while standing closer). Does this mean that throws and take-downs are too risky and should not be attempted in real life? We might as well just end Judo training and Taekwondo kicking all together since it seems to be so ineffective in the street. Or perhaps it just takes a little better understanding of how and when these moves should be executed.

It is my experience that those who “toy” with kicking, and have not perfected the street application yet, will telegraph, kick slow, and recover even slower. They tend to adjust their weight before they kick, position their feet differently just before the kick, rotate their less flexible hip joints awkwardly, are off balance during the kick, and have a difficult time repeating a second or third kick, or follow up hand strike if the kick misses. A person could be an excellent kicker, in practice, and still not know how to do it correctly in the street.
I think it's been agreed by most that given the right set of circumstances they can work even if it's not the strategy we would chose. Perhaps we could elaborate on right and wrong circumstance as well as how to spot and create opportunities. I'd be interested in what those of you who train & prefer head kicks would have to say about this.
I think this is a fine objective, and I agree. Like ANY technique, given the “right set of circumstances” it will work. The only question of debate (in my opinion) is whether or not those circumstances are commonly present in most street fights, and is there any inherent risk once a head high kick is initiated that would exceed the normal risk of most any technique. I do believe it depends on the particular fight and many variables, including the environment, how you are dressed, and the skill and tactics of your opponent. As a general rule, I believe the high kicks should be avoided and reserved for specific moments, and only used by those who are trained sufficiently in how and when to use them in real-life self defense.

The downfall comes when otherwise skilled fighters, who are only beginning to develop their kicking skills, make foolish attempts at a head kick, spinning kick, jumping kick, or flying kick in the street. Now take note of this. I did not say that those kicks were “foolish” and should not be used. It is the “foolish attempt” by those who are not adequately prepared to use them yet. Some might choose never to go that route, and that is fine, but I think we have already established that it is not for everyone.

The real question is, should it be attempted by anyone, and how do they make it work with minimal risk. I usually discourage my students from even considering a high kick in the street until they are a Black Belt, because they are not trained well enough in those early stages. I have seen Black Belts around the world who were not ready, and might carelessly assume that they could kick high in self defense, only to be brought down. These are the stories you hear about “Black Belts getting beaten up.” Sometimes, good Black Belts can get careless, or over-confident, but in most cases, these “Black Belts” either come from a McDojo, or are just someone who has seen too many movies and claims to be a Black Belt.

Even if I am standing eye-to-eye (about 3 - 4 feet apart) from my attacker, and they have their guards right up to their head to prevent a head kick, there are always ways around those fists including varying the angle and trajectory.

There are many factors that apply when implementing any kick. However, there are non-martial artists (street fighters) who would argue that “the Martial Art is useless,” and they would just hit you with a 2x4. Those who don't train in the Martial Art, will put down its effectiveness, citing all kinds of weaknesses - - “you have to be wearing those pajamas for it to work and you don't have time to change” or “you won't be able to remember all that stuff, and it takes too long to get into those funny stances - - I would just jump you and take you down before you can think of your first karate move.”

For those who know better, the Martial Art does not work that way, and is very effective. Yet, there are Martial Artists who don't want to kick at all because, if and when they have tried it, it didn't work for them. They say, “kicking is a bad move, even kicking low. You are off balance, and I would just grab your leg and throw you down or tackle you.” If I were pathetic at kicking, my opponent might be able to do that, but that is not how it happens against a trained kicker. The same thing applies to high kicks. Those who have not trained in it at all, or those who have trained with kicks, but did not get the specifics of how and when to use them properly in the street will say it is too much of a risk.


CM D.J. Eisenhart
 

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I would say that the parameters, what ifs or whatever else we may choose to call them, are in fact very important....
Maybe I'm misunderstanding here, but I get the impression that you're saying these factors are not important.
Yes, I agree that they are important, and should always be taken into consideration. However, sometimes people feel that each of these restrictions (shoes, clothes, terrain etc) will prevent the use of high kicks entirely, but that is of course not true. In the 70s, I bought a pair of those Chuck Norris Kicking Jeans with the extra stretchy material in the crotch so that you can kick with ease in the street (anyone else remember those). Anyway, whenever I go out, I take into consideration what I'm going to wear. If I am going to a bar or someplace of higher risk, I dress in loose clothes. In most situations, I wear shorts, sweat-pants, or other such clothes so as to not restrict my kicks.
So someone wearing a suit, a dress, jeans, sneakers, work boots, high heels is going to be able to execute these kicks without any issues?
If a person is not dressed appropriately for kicks, then don't kick at all - - simple common sense. I teach female students how to adjust their stance for quick defense if they are wearing heels, but recommend they either break the heel off or remove the shoe at the first opportunity. However, I believe the OP goes beyond the simple, what if I'm wearing cement shoes - - can I kick to the head? In my every day life, there are rare times (if ever) that my dress restricts my ability to kick.
Many years ago, my older brother would get some tough guys threaten to come to his place of business (a mechanic's garage) and beat him up. He would ask me to come hang out with him for the day. I would show up in my good dress suit. He would say, why are you dressed like that? To which I would reply, I don't intend to get dirty! My dress pants are a flex-material that stretches well, and I have always felt (like when working security) that there is a psychological factor with most people when attacking a person in street clothes as opposed to a person in a suit and tie (use a clip on or break-away tie for safety).
I have heard the "Well, if need be, I'll just take my shoes off." comment. So in the middle of winter and I know that CO can get some whopper snow storms, as I used to live there, people are going to take off their boots?
Here is one of those what ifs where I chuckle. How did it get to be in the middle of winter all of a sudden, and how did I get in CO? Ok, common sense again. It's winter and snow and ice are on the ground. Don't bother kicking regardless of what is on your feet. On the other hand, you don't think fights occur indoors in the winter? Feel free to take you boots off.... Billy Jack did.
Even if this happened during warm weather, what about the pavement? Unless the bottoms of ones feet are so dry and crusty, that one wouldn't feel anything, the pavement isn't that forgiving.
Ok, now here's the other side of the what if coin. The shoes are off. Are we on a side walk? Could I move over to a grassy lawn? Am I in a parking lot or on gravel. I have fought in those circumstances (while bare foot because my shoes were already off), and I kicked the guy in the head twice. My feet suffered for the sake of the skirmish, but I didn't notice it till after the fight was over. Plus, it wasn't just the kicking, but the moving about, blocking, punching, and defending against his aggression that scraped my feet up a bit.

Environement and what you are wearing are important factors. However, no matter what the conditions, we use what techniques we are capable of doing safely, and try to use common sense when applying high kicks. Don't rule them out entirely, just don't plan on using them constantly.

CM D.J. Eisenhart
 

exile

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Well I'm rather peeved that while I've been busy working you've managed to make this last 10 pages!
My only comment however concerns Geoff Thompson, when Exile mentioned him people seemed to think he was just some guy who has written some books. I have trained with him, my instructor and he are good friends and I can tell you everything in his books is genuine. The same goes for Peter Conserdine and Iain Abernethy. Geoff is a very hard man and if he says something works or it doesn't, disbelieve him at you own risk. You will not get better 'reality' training than his.
In my job I do get confrontations invariably with males more often than not Fijians ( the British army is short of recruits so they went to Fiji, they've stopped recruiting them though as they are very violent when drunk and will rape and assault however we still have a great many of them, none under six foot and built like brick outhouses)Trust me, a head kick from Crocop will not stop these guys. A kick in the nuts, a smashed nose, a kick to the kneecap, a finger in the eye will however slow them down long enough to get a few of you restraining him. I have a kubatan aimed straight into his throat usually ( that little bit just above the sternum), a palm heel to the nose, grab his ears and knee him in the face does it too. They are usually sporting though and it's one on one. Then arrest the bugger. What's ideal though is the dog handler there! You can't beat the flashing white teeth of a GSD or Rottweiler who wants to 'play', you can keep the kicks give me a dog!

Tez' post is 100% on the money, and it raises a point that bears on the issue of head kicks in SD but goes well beyond it.

People earlier in this post seemed to be questioning the validity of bringing something written in a book to bear on matters with which they had direct or indirect experience. But the contents of these chaps' books reflects decades' worth of careers in confrontation and control of extreme violence on a regular and frequent basis; I'd be willing to bet everything I own that in the course of their `working' lives, People like Geoff Thompson or Marc MacYoung have been involved in more dangerous CQ fighting in the course of a single month than any of us who've posted on this thread have seen in the course of our entire lives. This has been their livelihood. Not the one-off abberation, a bit of eye contact in a subway gone wrong or a booze-fueled flash fight in a bar, but night after working night of this stuff. I won't speak for anyone else, but for myself, I would feel mortified if I had to put my own experience with street violence—a couple of times a year, maybe, over the 10 years or so I lived in NYC, and one or two other episodes—against what these guys have done. So if we're talking about `what works for self-defense' in a systematic, high-probability way, I wouldn't dream of putting my own impression of what worked once or twice for me against someone who probably saw between fifty and a hundred fights a year during the course of his working life. Those careers are matters of public record; as Tez says, ask anyone in the `violence-control' business in the UK whether Geoff Thompson speaks from authority and watch the looks you get!

I also have observed that people apparently unfamiliar with the qualifications of guys like Thompson, Consterdine and the others refer to them dismissively as `bouncers' or `fighters.' I find this baffling: surely, if the issue is the effectiveness of some technique for streetfighting purposes, we should go for our best pool of opinion to those who know what we don't about streetfighting, and those people will be, pretty much by definition, `fighters', no?—and bouncers see a lot of fighting. But these folks are not just fighters, bouncers, club doormen, etc.; they are also trained martial artists, many of them quite high ranking. Peter Consterdine is a 7th Dan Shotokan karateka, one of the highest ranked in the UK, and a long-time student of Wing Chun (training extensively in Hong Kong) who has also been on British International karate competition teams—and worked for a club doorman in Manchester [!!!]—a hell of way to have to make a living, if you ask me, but he did and he's here to tell the tale in robust good health. (And please, let's not forget that Matsumura and Itosu, the founders of modern linear karate, were involved in dozens of fights each during their lives, as were great karateka like Chotoku Kyan and Choki Motobu; and for the KMA folks here, remember that the Kwan founders and their students fought kakidemishi challenges with each other in the desperate days right after Liberation in the early 1950s, and those fights were anything but the kind of gentlemanly sparring enforced by WTF rules. So I don't think the kind of either/or that has at times been put before us—you are either a martial artist or (implicitly a mere) fighter holds water if you look at the history of the MAs unromantically, without the kinds of strange chivalric assumptions many people seem unable to get away from in looking at Asian MAs.)

The same kind of thing holds for the other people I mentioned, many of whom are part of or associated with the British Combat Association. And that's another important part of the story of why MAists who don't have to put their, um, skeletal integrity on the line on a nightly basis should pay the closest attention to what these people are telling us.

The BCA, and the group around Abernethy, is in effect an experimental research group in the MAs. These guys, with the collective equivalent of a century or two of the kind of experience I've described already, regularly get together to work out SD methods and techniques, putting everything they know about applications of MA techniques to the nastiest kind of fighting under the most practical scrutiny. These guys know how to kick high. They know how to use elbows and knees, they've been grabbed from front and behind in just about every way you can be, and they test out defenses and counters. Abernethy, in some of his newsletters, has described these symposia and workshops, and it sounds pretty bloody `live' to me! The assumption that these people don't actually know how to kick high, so they don't train high kicking for SD, strikes me as resoundingly... misinformed.

In bringing these people's experience into the discussion, therefore, I have only been trying to provide an avenue for us to get access to experience that very few if any of us actually possess. I think dismissal of these hard-won, battle-tested perspectives as merely "book-larnin' " from people who `don't know how to kick high', cuts you off from probably the most authentic source of information on real fighting that you're liable to get. I think a more considered view might include the possibility that these people systematically warn us about the considerable risks involved in high kicks in close-quarters SD situation precisely because they are so high risk, and lower-risk, at least equally effective moves are readily available—the forms of TMAs are, in fact, all about that. The knowledge is there; not everyone might want to take it into account, but it's there.
 

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LF, you've made some interesting and useful points in the discussion, and I appreciate the tone of your post very much!
No problem! I knew you really liked me, you've just had a difficult time expressing it! :ultracool

But I think that you have a misimpression of what the different statements about the parameters...
Not really, I'm only joking with you a bit about that. I'm just amused by the specifics that really speak for themselves. Example: Would you drive your car at night if both your headlights were burned out? No, not unless it was an emergency. Conclusion: Driving at night is inherently dangerous and shouldn't be done. That just doesn't make sense. Create a set of restrictive parameters that don't exist in every fight, and say that kicking high is too risky because of those parameters. If your headlights are out - don't drive at night. If it is not safe to do so, don't kick high. I say it can be safe when the parameters are right, so change the parameters during the fight, or don't kick high, but the kicks are still viable if you know how to change the parameters.

As the discussion proceeds, people bring in different numbers or sets of conditions as a way to fine-tune their response to what previous posters have been saying. People are using different numbers because they are approximating the conditionsthat's hardly changing the parameters!
I'm not really suggesting that anyone was changing their story and not following a logical train of thought as to what range kicks are used. The funny thing to me is when a general question is posed (if you go by the OP in this thread), it seems that this general topic of high kicks in street fights is discounted because of specifics that only exist in certain cases (not all, or even the majority of scenarios I have encountered have those parameters), in which it is obvious that the high kick is not practical. I say I might kick someone's head if the situation is right, and someone says something like that's foolish, high kicks don't work in real-life defense.

After all, they say, how are you going to kick a 7' tall guy in the head as he climbs over the bathroom stall door where you are sitting on the toilet in a public restroom, with a slippery-wet floor, and he drops down on you from above? Wait a minute!!! When did my opponent become a basketball player, and how did we get in a public john? If someone asked, would you kick the head of a tall guy jumping you in the toilet, I might answer, probably not. However, if someone says that kicks to the head are too risky because the bathroom floor might be wet, then I say don't kick in that situation. However, there are plenty of smooth, dry surfaces where people actually have to defend themselves.

Another argument is, Kicks won't work because 300 people are pressing against you in a bar with two tables on your left, and a trash can on your right. I just start chuckling when I hear these kinds of what ifs. Ok, I won't kick then, but that wasn't the original question. What about when there is only 200 people and the fifty or so who are actually around you, clear back enough, and the tables are far enough to allow your leg to go up with ease? Or, what about when the fight spills out into the parking lot, or the angry guy you walked away from in the bar (and five of his friends) jump you outside. Hmmmm, let's see - - check for loose gravel on the ground, wet pavement, uneven surfaces, curbs and cars and other obstacles, then proceed with caution. In other words, be aware of your environment, and act accordingly. Can I safely use a kick to the head in this parking lot scenario? Yes (been there - done that).

Then comes the what ifs. What if his friend punches you from behind? What if he charges you and tackles you? What if the wind blows and a tree branch falls on your head, and bird feathers get in your eyes? All answers are the same. Respond to the situation, and use stable stances, counter defenses to their attacks. For close quarters, use hand strikes and elbows to the head, and low kicks if available. Nothing changes between what you would do, and what I would do, except that I might occasionally find the glimpse of a safe opportunity and smack the guy in the head with a kick or two.

Range: We're talking order of magnitude here, LF. What you don't note is that all of these numbers are comfortably smaller than the length of the average person's lower legfrom the knee hinge downlet alone that length plus the distance of the maximally raised knee. Regardless of what the description is, the kicking leg, traveling up, has got to get past the assailant's body en route to his head, which puts us in a significantly different fighting range.
Range is always in issue. Are they out of range? Are they too close to execute this kick or that strike? Range is usually, constantly changing throughout a street fight. Kickers tend to prefer to kick before the range is closed (preemptive if you will). However, the idea that most attackers will zoom right in to that CQ range and make all high kicks null and void is not what I have experienced. If someone charges in, they are likely to run into a low kick, or a fast hand or elbow, then they are likely to back off (if they are not already seriously injured on their first foolish attempt to rush in).

There is the argument that kicking is risky, but is the Close-quarters tie up really less risky? How about the shoot in and take-down. I spent many years wrestling, and know how to take a person down quickly, and how to prevent it. No matter how good a guy is on the mat, there are usually several attempts to shoot that fail. What then? In a wrestling match, the rules prevent a dangerous counter-attack, but in the street, I am going to hurt anyone who goes for the shoot.

You say standing on one leg (for a brief fraction of a second) is too risky? What about lowering your body near their legs, charging in head first with your back to the sky and no protection of the spine and other vital targets? CQ range is only good against a person who does not know what to do in close. I don't want to be close to my attacker, for good reason, but the last place they want to be is close to me. You don't shoot on an opponent in the street if they are standing there ready for you, and you don't kick them in the head if they are ready and waiting to defend against it.

Conditions: Every streetfight is different. People in the environment, the nature of the ground (moving, in the case of subways), tables and chairs, glass, gravel bits... in other words, non-dojang conditions.
This is absolutely correct. Every street-fight does present different conditions. Therefore, no rule of, this will work and that won't applies to any technique. Use the right one at the right time. Training regularly for non-dojang conditions is exactly what students (and young Black Belts) need.

I have made the critical assumption in my posts that the fight has been initiated, so preemptive striking is not at issue...
In connection with this last point, LF, you mentioned that you find arm techs risky because you have to be in vulnerable range to apply them. But again, the assumption is that the fight has already come to you, your best effort to avoid it notwithstanding. If an attacker throws a close-up round house or jab at you, you are already in that range. As to whether you should let that happen, there are a couple of threads running now on preemptive strikes; that's not, if I understand the OP correctly, what's at issue. So the assumption of this whole thread is that you're involved in an unsought close range attack already; what's your best shot at ending it quickly?

Well, exile, there is the problem when you make assumptions. You, and others might have moved the discussion to the specifics of unsought close range attack, but to claim (or assume) that this is the subject of the OP, please copy and paste the part of the OP that states that (in this thread only, not others you are involved in). This thread was an open question about kicks to the head in the street - - in general, with no parameters set. If you want to add into that a discussion including parameters, fine!

However, common misleading statements includes kicks are not a good idea for the street because they don't work at close range. Well, the do work at close range under certain circumstances which we could discuss, but to use the CQ argument to blanketly discount kicking to the head in street fights is unfounded, and a matter of personal opinion, personal experiences, and not based in fact. Neither is saying that the OP here does not include discussions of either preventing CQ attacks, or breaking free of them during the fight. Let's get to reality, and stop trying to restrict the fighter with what if parameters just so you can prove kicks are too risky.

The incorrect argument that I see represented in the CQ fight has already started so no preemptive discussion is allowed, is that, first of all, that was not part of the OP's stated question, and secondly, ranges change. I can very well deal with an initial rush to CQ and then regain distance - - so we are right back to the original long distance kicking range. Even if someone maintains a close range on me, my training is designed to block, parry and redirect attacks, release from grabs and apply my own controls, and off balance my opponent so that I can move around and do what I want, including kicking to the head when the opportunity presents itself.

The cardboard-like description of those rejecting close quarter high kicks makes it sound (to my ears) like we kickers are just standing there on one leg while this super-skilled close-quarters grappler is all over us with stuff we don't know how to deal with. It sounds as though we are going to be nose to nose and try to do a front kick up the middle, and you say that's impossible! Well, of course it is!!! But no one says that this is how a kicker is going to respond. Common sense! The leg from the knee down has a set measurement for each person. If the opponent is closer than that distance, the front kick (or high kick) is not going to fit between.

The preemptive forward high kick to the chin is impressive if the opponent is charging in, and the kick reaches appropriate height while the distance is closing so that the impact of the chin drives the head back just as the attacker is laying hands on your chest. That is not the same as standing toe to toe and bringing the forward high kick up between two bodies where there is no room. So everyone is thinking, that's what I've been saying! Well, yes, of course. Common Sense!

Conversely, when my opponent is within a few inches, all is not lost for head kicks. It has been mentioned that you can quickly step back, or push your opponent away and create the distance needed to kick the chin. This is still using high kicks in CQ street fighting, it's just that you don't have to lock yourself into this 18 range, and stay there. I can also be at CQ, and bring the roundhouse kick over the side of the shoulder and strike the head as I described before.

The argument seems to be that once my attacker has started the fight, we are already at close quarters (not always true), and that once we do reach CQ range, we are going to stay there for the rest of the fight (absolutely not true). I am not an amateur at street fighting, and I don't train my students to be. My opponent does not control me, nor the range at which we fight, no matter how good they are. Every time they choose to get close, they take the risk of getting hurt, and I have the option of moving to increase the range.

It is foolish if they want to relentlessly pursue me to a close range because I am very dangerous there as well. So, if they want to last long in the fight, their best bet is outside of my kicking range, and far away from my hands, elbows and knees. The only safe thing for them to do is to turn and walk away (does that sound arrogant, or what!!!). It's not just true about me, but should be for anyone who knows how to kick, AND use their hands.
The people I've cited are experimentalists, LF; they work on SD techs in live training that very few people would wish to experience themselves.
...as I've said before, are violence professionals, as I am not and would not want to be; I find their credentials bona fide and impressive, am glad they do what they do to make the results available for those of us who's just as soon do something a little less dangerous for a living,
....the people whose work in this area I take seriously are saying that given the inherent risks and inherent difficulties in executing a head high kick at close range in a `street'-style conflict and environment your odds are worse if you opt to do so, and that you're probably much better off training other weapons than trying to train high head kicks as way to improve your odds.
I can appreciate your confidence and trust in professionals who have trained with a variety of other experts, experimented in hundreds of real-life situations, drawn conclusions, and published books. However, I think you should keep an open mind to opposing points of view from other experts. I don't want to come off here looking like I'm bragging, but I am also an expert with many years of experience in real-life combat, security and police work, military training (non-combat), and practical, Reality-based, Martial Art training with many other experts.

Many of the security and LEO professionals in my area, who do the kind of work of violence in the workplace, Executive Protection for major corporations, international oversees bodyguards for political diplomats and VIPs, come to me for training. I have not yet published a book, but that does not make me any less knowledgeable on the subject as those with whom you are familiar. I am just less famous! :ultracool

There will always be groups of experts in any field that disagree on major points, and often times, you can not accurately say that one group has a better argument than the other simply because one group has not had success where the other group has, or because one group publishes books.
Finally, I think it would be best to avoid the issue of who has been rude to whom, who owes whom an apology for what...
You're right! It is difficult for people who have been rude to a friend to see their rudeness, let alone apologize for it. Among my friends, instead of trying to defend why we shouldn't have to apologize, we just apologize anyway so as to ensure we did not unintentionally offend someone we care about. My apologies for suggesting that anyone apologize to Kacey.
Henceforth, speaking strictly as a participant in this discussion, it would probably be much better for the health of the thread to try to avoid charged personal topics and issues, and stick to the issues raised in the OP.
Yes, lets stick to that OP....

I was checking out the thread in the TKD forum about Forms/Pooms and it morphed into a debate about the effectiveness of high kicks to the head. What are your thoughts about high kicks on the street?

_Don Flatt
 

exile

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Yes, lets stick to that OP

I just want to point out that the OP is itself a reference to a debate in a different thread that this one split off from. And in the context of that earlier thread, the argument about head kicks began as the result of a particular post, which is here. Now what you'll note about that post that's relevant to question of the OP is the following passage:

However, non of these techniques are fight enders. You may poke a man in the eye or rip at his groin but as long as he maintains consciousness he maintains the ability to cause you harm. The only way to decisively end the altercation is to strike him in the head with a powerful blow, hence the high kicks in TKD.

This was, if you read on in the thread, the basis of the disagreement about high kicks that morphed into the current debate. You'll also note that Kosho, stoneheart, me and others who were involved in the debate on that thread `transferred over' to this thread, which Kosho started in cooperation with the Moderator's request that we keep to the OP for that first thread, which concerned the value of forms. Now as the passage from the `triggering' post makes clear, the poster is assuming that (i) the fight is in progress, and has in fact reached the point where a finishing strike needs to be administered, and (ii) the high kicks in TKD originated for the specific purpose of delivering those strikes. In effect, if I've established sufficient control over the attacker to deliver a throat strike after deflecting his punch, bringing myself close in to him on the outside and delivering an elbow strike to his face, say, followed by a knifehand to his now exposed throat, while controlling his punching arm with a hikate-like grab/retraction, I now am going to need to put him out of action with a high kick or I'm going to be in danger, and that that's why there the high kicks of TKD.

Kosho's OP, as the initiation of a conversation about the SD value of high kicks, was made in this explicit context. Those of us who were participants in that earlier thread from the beginning, knowing what the discussion had been about, continued it with the same background assumptions, as is I think pretty natural, no? Pre-emptive strikes and so on were not included in the potential uses simply because the argument which we're now in a much later phase of began around the issue of a fight not just in progress, but at an advanced stage. I really don't see why any of the assumptions I've made in the discussion need special justification, therefore; they were part of the original debate from the outset.
 
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I can see where both exile and LF are coming from but I say we open the discussion to pre-emptive kicks as well.

Personally, my favorite part of the thread has been playing mythbusters with some of the rediculous claims that have been made. So open up the paramaters so we can get some more claims - I'm just waiting for someone to claim they can elongate their limbs like the Indian Guy in Street Fighter!!!

In all seriousness, I apreciate honest and inteligent discussion about the application. So, why not discuss and define the parameters of this technique with realistic assestment as to it's risk.

_Don Flatt
 

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I Just think that its one of those things if you can do it and are comfortable doing it and you are confident that it will work in the situation that you are in.............why not?
 

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Here is one of those what ifs where I chuckle. How did it get to be in the middle of winter all of a sudden, and how did I get in CO? Ok, common sense again. It's winter and snow and ice are on the ground. Don't bother kicking regardless of what is on your feet. On the other hand, you don't think fights occur indoors in the winter? Feel free to take you boots off.... Billy Jack did.
I'm lost on why you'd need to remove boots to kick in the first place. Why discard a force multiplier? Boots also simplify targeting a bit. (Not much of an issue hard vs soft target when the boot's taking the force vs the foot itself etc.)

Wouldn't striking in general suffer in the winter? Heavy jackets etc would all act to disperse the force of strikes. A punch is still generating a lot of forces antagonistic to balance on ice...
 

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One thing the UFC teaches people is to charge in with a tackle or wrestling shot to neutralize kicks. I've met many untrained young men who claim that's what they'd do against a "kicker" because of what they've seen on UFC.

Isn't that what Matt Hughes was trying to do when he got knocked out by GSP's roundhouse?
 
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Isn't that what Matt Hughes was trying to do when he got knocked out by GSP's roundhouse?

Not if we were watching the same fight. He was trying to not get kicked in the nutz again, dropped his guard and took it on the side of the head.
 

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Not if we were watching the same fight. He was trying to not get kicked in the nutz again, dropped his guard and took it on the side of the head.

Looked to me like he started to shoot in then flinched from a feint by GSP.

That's how I land 90 percent of my high kicks: I feint elsewhere and catch 'em wide open. It's almost too easy anymore.
 

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