The knee is NOT the best target for self defense

Akira

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There's one other point I want to make...a strike to the knee is very easy to avoid, just a small step back.

Blindsage I didn't call anyone a liar, I'm just saying in my experience knee strikes haven't been effective. Other people may have used them with great success. I can only speak about my experience.
 

blindsage

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There's one other point I want to make...a strike to the knee is very easy to avoid, just a small step back.
If you are thinking of a knee attack in just one simple context, with one attack vector happening. There are a lot of different context in which the knee could bee attacked. Thinking only of attacking it as a single attack from kicking range seriously limits your perspective.

Blindsage I didn't call anyone a liar, I'm just saying in my experience knee strikes haven't been effective. Other people may have used them with great success. I can only speak about my experience.
Appreciate the clarification.
 

Ojisan

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Most of the discussion has been around sparring situations or MMA. In self defense situations, at least in application of karate kata, the kicks follow the momentary locking of the uke in a position ( arm bar, balance disruption, etc,) where he cannot pull the knee out of the line of attack. In that scenario, you can severly damage the joint.
 

myusername

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My opinion on this is that like all targets, the knee is a viable one to gun for if it is available to you and your primary targets are not. Dependent on your given position it may be the only target available to you at the time so of course for self defence purposes it is wise to know how to attack it.

However, striking the knee effectively enough to finish a fight does require a high level of skill (or luck) to be able to do this consistantly. Like others on this thread, my personal view on knee strikes is that they are best used in combinations or to set up a more high percentage finishing strike.

In self defence to truly neutralise my opponent I feel that I would need to attack the high perecentage targets that interfere with the attackers air supply, blood supply or conciousness. These primary targets are the chin, jaw, temples, throat, carotid artery, cervical vertebrae.

I recognise that these targets are hard to hit as people naturally tend to protect them well. Therefore, we need secondary targets such as the knee, ribs, groin etc etc etc etc etc to distract the opponent and open up the primary targets. However, I would not rely on these secondary targets to finish a pumped up adrenalised attacker.

I do feel that the knee comes under a secondary target and NOT a primary one.

As for the OP's thinking about higher level abdominal kicks being better for self defence than knee kicks my instinct on this is to disagree. Purely on the basis that the higher you kick the more susceptable you are to having your leg grabbed and sacrificing balance. Obviously this will again depend on skill level and any opportunities in the attack.
 

mwd0818

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...These primary targets are the chin, jaw, temples, throat, carotid artery, cervical vertebrae.

I recognise that these targets are hard to hit as people naturally tend to protect them well. Therefore, we need secondary targets...

Interesting - I consider the chin, jaw, and temple to be secondary targets for the reason you mentioned - they are harder to hit and people tend to protect them well . . .

Of course it comes back to definitions and the way in which you treat primary versus secondary targets. I consider the knee a primary because it can open up secondary targets (temple, throat, etc.).

:)
 

Stonecold

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Interesting - I consider the chin, jaw, and temple to be secondary targets for the reason you mentioned - they are harder to hit and people tend to protect them well . . .

Of course it comes back to definitions and the way in which you treat primary versus secondary targets. I consider the knee a primary because it can open up secondary targets (temple, throat, etc.).

:)
I have been in many violent encounters, most guys dont defend the chin, jaw or head area, as a trained fighter would. Only skilled fighters work defence and think about takeing damage, most street incounters are fast, wild & uncontroled, charging in with chin up, head forward looking to land that looping hook punch to your head. I have always had success with the stright down the middle approach, hard lead leg front kick to the lower ab's followed by jab,cross to the face. As Mike Tyson said ( everyone has a plain .. till they get punched in the mouth ) . Don't get me wrong I will take any target given to me, this just workers well for me.
 

still learning

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Hello, NO two fights will be the same.....

Tarkets..hit them when available.....

Aloha, (Kona has a brand new "Tarket Store" )

PS: Good place to Tarket?
 

myusername

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Interesting - I consider the chin, jaw, and temple to be secondary targets for the reason you mentioned - they are harder to hit and people tend to protect them well . . .

Of course it comes back to definitions and the way in which you treat primary versus secondary targets. I consider the knee a primary because it can open up secondary targets (temple, throat, etc.).

:)

Yes I think this is a definition difference rather than a difference of opinion. The reason I call those primary targets "primary targets" is that they are the ones I am really interested in. The others are second in priority and only to be used if my primary targets aren't availiable or to open up the persons defences so that I can hit the primary targets.

Targets that effect the airway, brain and blood supply are the only certain "manstoppers" because if they are attacked hard enough through strikes, strangles or chokes they will switch the attacker off. Adrenalised people can walk through groin shots and even fight with broken limbs (if they are conscious and desperate enough) but if they are knocked out then they aren't fighting! So those targets that can knock my attacker out are my primary focus.

Also, if I am in a lucky enough position to defend myself with a pre-emptive strike from the fence position I don't really want to waste my first shot on a knee strike! I want that first pre-emptive strike to count so I would be best to go for something simple and quick like banging them hard on the chin!
 

MJS

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Like I said before, if a target presents itself, I'm going to take advantage of it. Unless we KO the guy with one shot, chances are, anything we throw, is going to upset the guy, so I take the knees are not good targets, the guy will be too conditioned, the guy will have a good defense, comments, with a grain of salt.

Now, this isn't to say that there aren't some guys out there that are tough but is every guy who tries to carjack us, mug us, etc the next Ken Shamrock? I highly doubt it.

I hate to use this as a reliable source to go on, but what the hell...I'll use it anyways. :) Look at youtube. Seriously, how many street fights can we view, where the combatants are what we'd call skilled? I see alot of wild swingers. If thats the skill that we're going to face on the street, well, I dont think theres much to worry about. Again, this isn't to say these guys are to be taken lightly, because if you're not careful and they connect with something, you could get caught, but IMO, those guys or should I say punks, that we see are not trained or skilled fighters. Hell, some of them remind me of some newbies that I used to spar with. LOL. Enter into the ring feeling all big and cocky, swinging with all their might, yet a few well placed sidekicks to their gut usually took the steam out of them. ;)
 

mwd0818

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Yes I think this is a definition difference rather than a difference of opinion. The reason I call those primary targets "primary targets" is that they are the ones I am really interested in. The others are second in priority and only to be used if my primary targets aren't availiable or to open up the persons defences so that I can hit the primary targets.

Targets that effect the airway, brain and blood supply are the only certain "manstoppers" because if they are attacked hard enough through strikes, strangles or chokes they will switch the attacker off. Adrenalised people can walk through groin shots and even fight with broken limbs (if they are conscious and desperate enough) but if they are knocked out then they aren't fighting! So those targets that can knock my attacker out are my primary focus.

Also, if I am in a lucky enough position to defend myself with a pre-emptive strike from the fence position I don't really want to waste my first shot on a knee strike! I want that first pre-emptive strike to count so I would be best to go for something simple and quick like banging them hard on the chin!

Yup - theory and idea are the same, we are just differing on definitions. My secondary targets are considered as such because they will likely be the second targets you get to. But they are often the stoppers as well. The primary targets are the ones you focus on as your most likely opportunitites at first.

And I agree about the broken limbs, which is one reason I like destroying the knee if necessary - it's real tough to continue a fight when the function of a supporting structure is destroyed. :)
 

still learning

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Hello, In any strikes? ...which will be more easly damage?

the fist to the face? or a kick to the knees?

muliple attackers....best to end any attacker as quick as one can....KNEES is one good way too...

Aloha, ....fist to thoat might be a better face tarket?
 

wolfeyes2323

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knees are a fundamental target, as are all major joints in the body,
the bonus with knees is that pressure to the knee will , also unbalance
and drive the opponent to the ground . Damage to the knee seriously
limits mobility, and causes great pain.
The effects of attacking the knee are also psychological, and emotional .

this is true even if it is not your knee, It is one thing to see someone
Ko’d , it is quite another to hear his knee being torn , and
the cries of the recipient and he writhes in pain.

the knee is a easy joint to attack and damage because the
weight of the individual works against him, the knee
just has to be misaligned and the recipients own weight
will do the rest of the damage.

How we attack the knee determines the amount of damage
and the effects, In sports leg kicks seldom damage the knee
because the angle of the kick is in and up, this hurts but the
knee is strong enough to resist and the recipient can
lift his leg or move his weight from it , so no damage is done.

the knee is most giving if attacked from behind,
kicking behind the knee and dropping your weight downward
on the back of the leg , will drive the opponent to ground
but not damage the knee, because this is the direction
the knee works in.

the knee is strongest from the front
Kicking into the front of the knee is easily resisted,
this is the strong side of the knee, and this has
little effect, unless it has somehow already been
straightened or hyper extended.

the knee is most vulnerable if attacked from the sides at a downward
angle . as a hinge joint it is not designed to move in this direction.
To attack a joint like the knee or elbow, (both are hinge joints)
pressure is applied above the joint and at the other end of long
bone attached to the joint. This is a classic arm bar, when speaking
of the elbow,
When speaking of kicks, the ground acts as the trapping mechanism
for the foot, Once the knee buckles under downward pressure ,
the foot is trapped sideways against the ground, there is no
way to elevate the pressure by moving the foot, the weight of
the individual is on the misaligned joint , and the recipient can
not fall fast enough to stop the damage.

To insure that the weight of the individual is on the leg
before attacking the knee, we can seize the opponent
and pull downward, this draws his weight onto his
forward knee as he attempts to resist, unbalance,
once this occurs , it is like breaking wood for the fire with
a nice downward angled blade kick into the side of
the leg just above the knee. Snap , crackle , pop

This is a great kick done with shoes or boots, which just
enhance the effects.

The fact that the to resist unbalance from pulling a
opponent must put pressure on his front foot , means
that the knee is a easy target, as you can time when this
will happen, and somewhat control the ability of
the opponent to move his weight from it.

All of this and we have not even talked about kicking into
the nerves and major arteries above the knee on the inside
of the thigh before driving downward into the knee,
(best done with the toe tip, or cowboy boots : ) )

I have seen people take a punch to the face that I
thought would drop anyone,
I have seen people hit in the head with pool cues
bottles, and all kinds of other things and still keep
going, (they don’t have enough brains to be ko’d : ) )
If you get a kick angled downward into
the knee, EVERY ONE , and ANYONE will fall.
That makes the knee a great target.
It starts a reaction that none can resist.
Romney^..^
 

Kwanjang

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Interesting observation. I would concur! I think if you attack the knee it should be after you have deprived them of clarity of thought!
 

oftheherd1

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Interesting thread. Somehow I had missed it until now.

I think the knee is a great target. I often advise it over the groin for women facing a male opponent. In the Hapkido I learned, we often included the knee in our defense, whether is was a direct attack, or secondary in a continuing defense. Other than the way it was intended to use, the knee is weak. The patela is a floating bone and also weak. It can be dislocated from the side, top, or bottom. It can be broken if jammed to the ground from the back. A near miss may cause sufficient pain to the lower thigh or upper shin, to slow down an opponent (I was once struck on the lower thigh bone and couldn't walk right for a couple of weeks.) or will catch one of the opponent's legs in the thigh muscles.

People don't tend to protect the knee. But as others have said in this thread, no target is the only one to be concentrated on for self defense. You go for what you can get to while protecting yourself. But never neglect the knee, and don't go too high unless you certain of not being caught off balance. I was always told by my GM that the old Hapkido masters felt low kicks were always the best.

So no, I do not agree with the OP's assertion. All available targets are the best, including the knee.
 

Cyriacus

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Its all a matter of how you hit it.
A hit with the Ball of the Foot, coming on from the side (Youre standing in front), hitting hard enough could damage that Leg for Life.
And so forth.
 

OKenpo942

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I think the knee is a great target. Even if the target is missed, the strike will likely land somewhere on the leg and more importantly cause a stopping of momentum or a flinch, which for a good martial artist will be capitalized upon by following with subsequent strikes.

Best case scenario: The knee strike will hit it's intended target and have the desired result of immobilizing your attacker and ending the threat. Fight over.

Worst case scenario: The knee strike misses the intended target and does not stop the threat. You have failed to train and do not recognize the fact that the optimal rarely occurs. You hesitate when the desired result does not occur and you get your bell rung or taken to the ground. You have failed to prepare for a likely grapppling situation and you are beaten to a pulp. Fight over.

Likely scenario: See the first paragraph. You are a well rounded martial artist who has trained for both stand up and grappling realities. Subsequent strikes or submissions lead to desired end result (threat is neutralized). Fight over.

Bottom line; Don't fail to train for reality. Fights are too dynamic and there are an infinite number of variables to only train for the ideal.

James
 

softstylist

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I would agree with what has been said by others about striking what ever target is available at the time but the knee is still a major target to be considered. I come from a jiujitsu background and we always have a hold of the person in some fashion when we strike so kicking the knee is usually done when the attacker is not in a position to see it coming.
 

seasoned

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I would agree with what has been said by others about striking what ever target is available at the time but the knee is still a major target to be considered. I come from a jiujitsu background and we always have a hold of the person in some fashion when we strike so kicking the knee is usually done when the attacker is not in a position to see it coming.
Okinawan goju side kick, target, knee.
 
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