US Army Combatives

5-2 Kicks

5-2. KICKS

Kicks during hand-to-hand combat are best directed to low targets and should be simple but effective. Combat soldiers are usually burdened with combat boots and LCE. His flexibility level is usually low during combat, and if engaged in hand-to-hand combat, he will be under high stress. He must rely on gross motor skills and kicks that do not require complicated movement or much training and practice to execute.

a. Side Knee Kick. When an opponent launches an attack—for example, with a knife (Figure 5-1, Step 1), it is most important for the defender to first move his entire body off the line of attack as the attacker moves in.

As the defender steps off at 45 degrees to the outside and toward the opponent, he strikes with a short punch to the floating ribs (Figure 5-1 , Step 2).

Then the defender turns his body by rotating on the leading, outside foot and raises the knee of his kicking leg to his chest. He then drives his kick into the side of the attacker’s knee with his foot turned 45 degrees outward (Figure 5-1, Step 3). This angle makes the most of the striking surface and reduces his chances of missing the target.

b. Front Knee Kick. As the attacker moves in, the defender immediately shifts off the line of attack and drives his kicking foot straight into the knee of the attacker (Figure 5-2). He turns his foot 45 degrees to make the most of the striking surface and to reduce the chances of missing the target. If the kick is done right, the attacker’s advance will stop abruptly, and the knee joint will break.

c. Heel Kick to Inside of Thigh. The defender steps 45 degrees outside and toward the attacker to get off the line of attack. He is now in a position where he can drive his heel into the inside of the opponent’s thigh (femoral nerve) (Figure 5-3, Steps 1 and 2). Either thigh can be targeted because the kick can still be executed if the defender moves to the inside of the opponent rather than to the outside when getting off the line of attack.

d. Heel Kick to Groin. The defender drives a heel kick into the attacker’s groin (Figure 5-4) with his full body mass behind it. Since the groin is a soft target, the toe can also be used when striking it.

e. Shin Kick. The shin kick is a powerful kick, and it is easily performed with little training. When the legs are targeted, the kick is hard to defend against (Figure 5-5), and an opponent can be dropped by it.

The calves and common peroneal nerve (Figure 5-6) are the best striking points.

The shin kick can also be used to attack the floating ribs (Figure 5-7).

f. Stepping Side Kick. A soldier starts a stepping side kick (Figure 5-8, Step 1) by stepping either behind or in front of his other foot to close the distance between him and his opponent. The movement is like that in a skip.

The soldier now brings the knee of his kicking foot up and thrusts out a side kick (Figure 5-8, Step 2). Tremendous power and momentum can be developed in this kick.

g. Counter to Front Kick. When the attacker tries a front kick, the defender traps the kicking foot by meeting it with his own (Figure 5-9, Step 1). The defender turns his foot 45 degrees outward to increase the likelihood of striking the opponent’s kicking foot. This counter requires good timing by the defender, but not necessarily speed. Do not look at the feet; use your peripheral vision.

When an attacker tries a front kick (Figure 5-9, Step 2) , the defender steps off the line of attack of the incoming foot to the outside.

As the attacker’s kicking leg begins to drop, the defender kicks upward into the calf of the attacker’s leg (Figure 5-9, Step 3). This kick is extremely painful and will probably render the leg ineffective. This technique does not rely on the defender’s speed, but on proper timing.

The defender can also kick to an opponent’s kicking leg by moving off the line of attack to the inside and by using the heel kick to the inside of the thigh or groin (Figure 5-9, Step 4).

h. Counter to Roundhouse-Type Kick. When an opponent prepares to attack with a roundhouse-type kick (Figure 5-10, Step 1), the defender moves off the line of attack by stepping to the inside of the knee of the kicking leg.

He then turns his body to receive the momentum of the leg (Figure 5-10, Step 2). By moving to the inside of the knee, the defender lessens the power of the attacker’s kicking leg. The harder the attacker kicks, the more likely he is to hyperextend his own knee against the body of the defender, but the defender will not be harmed. However, the defender must get to the inside of the knee, or an experienced opponent can change his roundhouse kick into a knee strike. The defender receives the energy of the kicking leg and continues turning with the momentum of the kick.

The attacker will be taken down by the defender’s other leg with no effort (Figure 5-10, Step 3).

i. Kick as a Defense Against Punch. As the opponent on the left throws a punch (Figure 5-11, Step 1), the defender steps off the line of attack to the outside.

He then turns toward the opponent, brings his knee to his chest, and launches a heel kick to the outside of the opponent’s thigh (Figure 5-11, Step 2). He keeps his foot turned 45 degrees to ensure striking the target and to maintain balance.


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