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Kicking It Like You Matter

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When you think of a powerful kick, what comes to mind? If you’re like me, Chuck Norris delivering a roundhouse kick pops in there first. It’s fast, it’s huge and it knocks the bad guy to the floor with a thunderous thud.

Or maybe you picture an explosive soccer kick, shooting a ball right into the goal, or a placekicker sending a football gracefully through the uprights. 

As you envision a well-executed kick, what do you see the body doing? It’s not just the leg sending the power. It’s the whole body. And you don’t have to be big and strong to deliver the kick that’s needed when you’re in a situation where it’s your best option. Here’s why.

The Science of the Kick

It’s all pretty exciting, really, because there are so many (literally) moving parts involved in a kick. Let’s examine them. 

During the kick, muscle movements combine with interacting joints and segments, and hip, knee, and ankle all play their roles. The biggest contributors, though, are the muscles crossing the knee joint teaming with the thigh’s angular velocity. Ummm… what?

Let’s put it in layman’s terms: Picture a guy about to kick a soccer ball. The movement begins when he rotates his hip into extension and flexes the knee of his kicking leg as he swings his leg back then forward. The energy shoots down his thigh coordinating with his knee, and fires out through his foot, which propels the ball. Score!

Now let’s see what the rest of the body is doing, beginning with the supporting leg. In studies with soccer players (referenced in the article “Kicking Biomechanics: Importance of Balance,” linked below), support knee and ankle movements are larger. When the players grasped a rigid support on the support leg side, the ball’s velocity skyrocketed. And, unsurprisingly, the non-dominant leg was the better support leg. 

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Let’s see what that looks like. Sally’s standing behind the ball near the goal. She grabs a fencepost with her left hand, left leg planted. She rears her right leg back and sends the ball shooting through the air. It flies past the goalie and slams into the net. Of course fence posts rarely appear in soccer fields, but you get the point. 

Either way, whether supported by the hand or just nice and solid on that supporting leg, you can deliver a powerful kick that’ll make the person wish they hadn’t messed with you.

What about the upper body? Well that depends on the type of kick you’re delivering. Stomp kick? Lean back, draw that leg up and bam! Slam the flat of your foot on the aggressor’s thigh.

Or higher if you can manage it. Or better yet, squeeze that upper body down as you bring your foot up. Then slam it down at an angle.

The groin strike is more of a pendulum swing with your leg as you face your opponent. As you swing that leg up, your body is rounding as you prepare and deliver that strike. Then drop back into a fighting stance.

The knee kick is a hoot. Here’s where you pull the back of the guy’s head or his shoulders down as you bring your knee up into his groin or floating ribs, or wherever you can land a solid hit.

And these are just the basics. There are so many nuances involved in any technique, and the kick is no exception. There’s always more to learn, further to go, in developing and using various kicks.It’s a fun, wild adventure.

The kick is a powerful ally in your fight, using all the body’s biggest muscles to drive your message home, supported by the rest of your body.  

So what does all this have to do with self-defense? I’m glad you asked! Let’s find out.

The kick is a powerful ally in your fight, using all the body’s biggest muscles to drive your message home, supported by the rest of your body.  

Self-Defense Is So Much More Than Punching

We’ve talked about all kinds of tools in our self-defense toolbox, including posture (, a whole series on using your voice wisely and well (see links below for more information), and even falling as a self-defense technique. Of course there’s the punch as well. Adding the kick to the kit is the logical next step.

And the kicks mentioned in the previous section can defend you beautifully, as long as you choose the right one at the right time.

How We Train the Kick

When it comes to any kind of strike, we begin with a strong stance. We experiment with foot position and the width of the stance. Each person is different, but basically a good strong kick starts from a good strong fighting stance. 

We experiment with shifting our weight back-and-forth, getting a feel for where our center of gravity is. 

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Next, we explore the different types of kicks. We use a variety, so we can select the right kick for the situation. Most people are familiar with a groin kick, but we make sure the foot is positioned so it’s not injured while delivering that infamous strike. Then there’s the knee strike. We also train the stomp kick. 

Working together with the instructor watching, we position, we aim, we strike. We learn proper distancing and how to shift our weight for maximum effectiveness.

As with anything we train, we keep practicing, and refining, applying any recommendations our instructor makes along the way. The goal is to keep this skill, like all the skills we train, in a state of ever-improving excellence. So we keep coming back to it, to hone it and have it ready.

The why of all this is simple. You deserve to be protected, and the best one to protect you is you. That includes learning when and how to deliver that kick. And to bring the fire fueling it from the sense of outrage and righteous indignation we help you learn in our classes. So you can kick like you matter. Because you do.

Those Pesky Objections

Some have asked, “Why can’t I just learn the skill in a seminar, for example, and not have to keep coming to class?“ If you’ve read any of our previous blogs, you know the answer to that question.

But if you don’t know the answer, here it is: you don’t know what you don’t know. One day, a few hours, is simply not enough and honestly, it would be irresponsible of us to tell you differently. 

Our heart is for women — for you — to be skilled and trained and ready for whatever attacks may come. No one, no matter how smart or talented or inherently strong they are, can get and retain all the skills they need, when they need it, in one seminar. That’s just reality. 

So what actually works? I’m glad you asked. The answer’s simple: learning from a skilled instructor, receiving corrections and continuing to come back and train to keep everything fresh. 

That’s it. It’s not complicated, but it does require commitment. Anything important we do in life requires commitment. That’s just reality. 

Could you go somewhere else? Of course! But we’re inviting you to join us. Be a Tigress. Begin your self-care journey, with your sisters by your side. And keep coming back. 

You’re always welcome here, and we’re looking forward to meeting you and working with you.

Join us.


Series on using the voice to defend yourself:

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