Roundhouse Kicks for Self Defense
One of the most commonly used kicks is the roundhouse. Most beginners
taking karate or taekwondo start learning this technique within
the first few weeks of their training.
Years back we never taught defenses against kicks in our self defense
training. This was because only a very small percentage of the population
trained and those that did "would never use their martial arts training
on another person in an offensive way." Today, of course this is
We have literally millions who have had some martial arts or 'self-defense'
training. In the real fights I have seen where kicks were used,
a high percentage of the time they were roundhouse kicks.
Obviously today, learning to defend on the street against a roundhouse
kick attack is important. But should we use roundhouse kicks in
our own self defense efforts?
I think to answer the question properly we must look at the style
of martial art we are talking about, as well as the type of practice
and training the practitioner is involved in.
If you train in a style where you practice and use your kicks only
below the waist, work on developing devastating power in your roundhouse
kicks, then maybe they have a place in your self defense arsenal.
For everyone else, I would say no! Here is why.
First of all I only advocate using low kicks in street self defense.
High kicking can cause many problems like: Not being able to accurately
hit your target, especially under and adrenal rush. Slipping on
loose gravel, stone or sand. Having your leg grabbed by your attacker.
Not being able to deliver a high kick with power.
Using roundhouse kicks to the legs, knees and possibly the groin
can be effective but only if you can deliver them with sufficient
power. This is especially true with leg kicks.
Roundhouse kicks tend to be used with the instep in many styles.
Instep kicking presents a very large striking area and prevents
focusing power into a small area. For example, if you had to be
hit with a 2 x 6 board, would you rather take it on the flat side
or on the edge. No doubt the edge would do much more damage and
be much more painful.
Overall I do not recommend roundhouse kicks to my students for
use in self defense. We do, however, teach defenses against them.