It's all very well to practice these techniques in the classroom but when it comes to using them you will have to know exactly what it will feel like for real. The most important thing in kicking is to know that a kick will work.
Firstly we work with a partner. We use slow, well-aimed kicks to the knee area, not right on the top of the knee but to the side to break the ligaments that hold the lower leg on. Have your partner come at you as if to attack slowly, then step to wherever you feel is the right place to gain the correct timing and kick to his knee. Make sure that your heel is used each time and that you have hit the exact spot each time. Photo No. 161. After some time when you are sure that every kick is making its mark, start to get a little faster but be careful not to hurt each other. The attacker will tell you if the kicks are striking at the correct point. After some time you will be able to use a medium bag to protect your leg as your partner kicks at full force onto the bag. Remember! POINT YOUR KNEE INTO THE FORCE SO THAT NO DAMAGE OCCURS.
This is the closest thing to a real kick that you can aim for without really kicking someone. Photo No. 162.
The same thing can be done for kicks to the body. Hold the bag over the appropriate area and allow your partner to kick the bag using all of the above techniques except the back spinning heel kick. Train this one on the hanging bag.
Another useful leg kick is a sort of back kick to the leg. As your partner comes in, you should step out and use back kick onto his knee. Photo No. 163.
Everyone has a favorite leg kick so find the one most suited to you and use it. Then keep using it until it is perfect and has become sub-conscious. You should use only a few techniques and leave the rest for fun. In a real situation you have to be very sure that your two or three techniques will work. Leave out all of the fancy leg sweeps etc, they might work in the classroom but in the street it's a different story. Kick to the legs and you will be all right.
As stated earlier, leg kicks are the hardest of all to block and so I will start with blocking these kicks.
I will be covering 'sticking hands' (the t'ai chi version) later. I mention this because this is also where we learn to block low knee kicks, or at least try.
Two people stand as shown in Photo No. 164. Keeping your wrists lightly touching, you now start to move around. One player should kick slowly to the knee of the other. You should be aware of the kick and pull your leg back quickly. Photo No. 165. I learnt this technique from an old arnis master in Manila, (Antonio Illustrisimo); the difference was that they would strike at each other's legs with the sticks. You must not look at your opponent's feet, always take in the whole body using your peripheral vision as later you will also be putting in hand techniques. After only a short period of this type of practice you will be able to perceive the attacks quicker and so you will be able to speed up the attacks. After you have evaded the attack you will be able to re-attack to his knee with another kick. The most important thing in this training is not to allow it to become a mêlée, keep it cool and learn.
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