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Finlay's picture
Back to basics front kick

so over the last few months i have been taking the apporach to my application training of looking at the most likely/common untrained attacks and finding what the kata/pattern/form has to deal with it.

this has been fun, challenging and sometimes down right painful. so i thoguth i would share :)

I think that most people here (plase correct me if i a wrong on this) wouldn't really take the lower forearm block as a good defense for a front kick. So from the the most basic point of view how does your style or interprettion of your forms deal with a front kick to the groin

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

Hmm. kind of depends on how you are doing the "lower block", one of the most simple and effective kick takedowns I know of involves stepping involves stepping to the outside and doing essentially a 'lower block' to scoop the kick and dump them, it the same motion, it just doesn't stop like the kihon move does.

My own preference is for simplicty combined with laziness though;) so I aim to to use my knees for low line kicks if possible, for a groin front kick you can just turn your body and angle you knee spike into it as you do something akin to shuto uke/hammerfist/forearm shiver/whatever, and cover or trap with the other hand, also makes a kind of a 'crash helmet'  (to borrow Ian's term) and covers your buttons if you enter this way. has to happen all at once of course, and you can do this inside or outside the kick. Of course this may not neccessarily work the same for something like a deep thrust kick, a much larger attacker etc. so use your discretion, and also if you practice like this alot your training partners wil hate it heh...I try to kind of "scoop" with the foot instead of directly using the knee when playing with it in class, but you always end up handing out some nice bruises if you play with it.

If you want a bunkai example, it's very similar to the motion for the shuto from Gekisai, or the hammerfist from Saifa. Just make sure you are looking at the whole motion and not just the end points.

Zach_MB's picture

With a front kick you're only option is clearing the front line unless you can get in quick enough to jam it. Once you're off the line you can do pretty much whatever you're heart desires. Since their leg is hanging out infront of them, if you get ahold of it (I prefer an underhand grab) you can do a multitude of takedowns. My personal takedown of choice is raising the leg up while putting pressure on uptop to force them onto their back. But when you have that back corner of their body, you have almost any taget you could want, and it won't take much to get their back, which is just perfect.

Katz's picture

What's been said before is good.

The scooping motion described by Zach can be found in Pinan Godan, if I'm not mistaken (at least the way we do it in Tang Soo Do, don't know about other ways). The low spear hand that you pull back afterwards can be that scooping motion.

The other thing to think about is not maybe the lower block itself, but the intermediate step to get there. Once again I'm gonna talk about the way I've learned it, but as you move forward from one low block to the next, one of your hands stays down and is going to swerve to your inside line. That can be an effective pass through, if you step to the side at the same time. Plus, your blocking hand is free to do whatever from there: scoop the leg, hammerfist the groin, or what-have-you.

So basically, stepping offline is the basis of dealing with the front kick in what I do. What you do from there is bonus. Now if the distance is right simply bringing one leg up and blocking with the shin is a simple and efficient block. Only it doesn't end the fight. It's more of a "oh shit" move.

Tau's picture


From my Lau Gar days I recall "Jig Ma" stance (pronounced "Cheek-mah") which is essentially Hangetsu Dachi. Sifu explained that the purpose of this stance is to recieve groin kicks. On the one hand I can see this as the stance clenches the buttocks and rolls the pelvis forwards and upwards, hopefully removing the target.

On the other hand, I have to wonder if that isn't another misinterpretation that needs putting to bed in the pursuit of pursuit of pragmatism.

The core defensive movement of the Jujitsu that i teach is lateral stepping off midline. Entirely congruant with everything else mentioned here

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

Tau, that is also taught as a 'defense' against front kicks in some Goju,,personally I think they are  wayoff on the actual purpose of the forward rotated pelvis and all that, I don't think it has anything to do with blocking a front kick either.

There is something to be said for holding your lower body in such a way as to make you less vulnerable to lowline kicks though, for isntance the slight turn in or out of a foot can make you far more or less vulnerable to inside or outside leg kicks, and can even sometimes make them worse for the kicker. In the case of groin kicks from the front, my hunch is that the purpose of 'stance work' there is more to eliminate the existence of a target in the first place, rather than to act as any kind of late 'defense' against impact.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Here is one front kick counter from Pinan / Heian Godan which I hope is of use.

All the best,


karate10's picture

Nice display of Pinan Godan variation and smooth technique....Absolutely flawless.

Neil Cook
Neil Cook's picture

Hi Guys,

I've three ways of looking at this.

Firstly from a complete surprise where you have to move quickly, i push my bum back and come down onto it with the palms of both hands still moving backwards to get a bit of space. Although not tested in 'real' seario my girlfriend decided to play Kato (from inspecter Clueso) and throw a kick into my groin where i used this (several times) Just to let you know, she wasn't holding back, she was so sure i would stop it it didn't accur to her that i might not!

Second way is if i see it coming and have a bit more time. Ideally i'd get to the outside and scoop the leg like Iain illustrated then any takedown you wish to do. Once you've got them standing on one leg and off balance it's not that difficult to drop them.

Third is to ignore the kick and keep hitting. This one of course is for when you are closer so you can outpunch the kick.

DaveB's picture
As they say in southern Chinese systems, "hands deal with hands and feet deal with feet". Pick up your foot and jam the kick as it lifts. For kata reference see hiean 3 4 5, tekki 1 2 3, Nassau, kanji, empi... Anytime you see a knee raise.