Leg kicks are one of the basic kicks in martial arts like MMA, Muay Thai, and kickboxing. In martial arts, leg kicks are used for many different reasons, including scoring points, crippling the opponent, and in some cases finishing the opponent.
A well-placed leg kick can destabilize the opponent and create an opening for a good finishing kick. It is indeed a versatile weapon that could help you control and eventually win the fight.
However, although leg kicks are very effective in weakening the opponent, most athletes tend to avoid them because they hurt so much.
The reason why leg kicks hurt so much is that the impact of the kick usually sends unique and very sharp pain signals to the brain.
What are leg kicks?
A leg kick is a kick that targets the calves or thighs of the opponent by kicking the meaty part of their leg with your hard shin bone.
The main goal of a leg kick is to reduce your opponent’s mobility by targeting the peroneal nerve which is very painful.
There are three main types of leg kicks, calf kicks, outside leg kicks, and inside leg kicks.
Leg kick is a lethal weapon in a fight because it damages the leading leg that the opponent uses, thus reducing their flexibility and ability to move in and out of striking distance.
In martial arts, distance control is a crucial element in fighting, and leg kicks allow you to determine where the striking game will take place.
Throughout the history of martial arts, leg kicks have been regarded as a game changer in fights. This is because they are lethal and if used well, they can slow down the opponent, compromise their flexibility or even finish them off.
The key to a leg kick is that it must be kicked with enough force in order to inflict maximum damage to your opponent.
If you strike without proper force, then the reward will be minimal but the risk will be high. If you don’t throw a powerful strike, then it will have very little effect on your opponent and you will also give them a chance to counter.
You also need to know how to stay out of danger when launching your shin to your opponent’s thighs to limit the chances of being caught out.
Why do leg kicks hurt so much?
If not launched correctly and tactfully, leg kicks can be more of a curse than a blessing to you. In fact, it could easily end the fight in favor of your opponent.
A check to a leg kick means that the strike is blocked with the top thickest part of the shin or the knee. As a result, there is a clash between the weakest and the strongest part of the shin.
The weakest part of the shin in this case is that of the attacker while the strongest part is that of the defender.
When the weakest and strongest parts of the shin clash, the weakest part suffers the most. That explains why leg kicks are usually very painful to the attacker.
There have been cases where the two shin bones (fibula and the tibia) break completely after a well-timed check and it is extremely painful.
If you watch footage about leg kicks from Connor McGregor, Chris Weidman, and Anderson Silva, then you will see how painful a leg kick is if it is not well timed.
How can I make my leg kicks less painful?
Although leg kicks hurt so much, they are still an invaluable weapon in a match that can give you an upper hand over your competitor if well executed.
You just need to know how to make it less painful on your side and more lethal to your opponent. Below are ways how to make your kicks less painful.
Condition your legs for leg kicks
One of the ways to make your leg kicks less painful is by conditioning your legs. Leg conditioning simply means ensuring that your legs are strong enough to deal with hard kicks.
Having strong shins can be the difference between incapacitating your opponent and winning the fight and being out of the competition for months because of a broken fibular or tibia bone.
The recommended ways to condition your legs include kicking heavy bags to improve and strengthen your shin density, exercising your legs regularly to strengthen the surrounding muscles
As well as reinforcing your shin bones, and maintaining a healthy diet that comprises calcium and vitamin D for strong and healthy bones.
Always set up leg kicks
Another great way to make your leg kicks less painful is by setting them up. This means having a clear strategy on how to get your opponent off guard with a powerful leg kick.
You can do this by occupying the attention of your opponent by throwing one or two jabs before striking them with a powerful leg kick.
Never throw a leg kick that is full of power without a good setting because it will be so painful.
Hit with the sharp part of the bone
Always pivot on the support leg and strike with the sharp part of the bone. You are more likely to get hurt if you land on the flat part of the bone.
Commit to your strike
There is no point in throwing a leg kick if you are not willing to commit to your strike. If you don’t commit to your strike, then you will give your opponent valuable time to counter and that will hurt a lot.
Strike with enough force
Striking with enough force will also make your strike less painful. Ensure that you hit with enough force to damage your opponent. Weak leg kicks carry a lot of risk with very little reward.
Leg kick is a lethal weapon that you can use to stabilize your opponent if it is powerful and well executed.
However, if it is not well-timed, it will hurt a lot. Ensure that you follow the tips given above to make your leg kicks less painful and more lethal to your opponent.