MMA Kicking Techniques

mma kicking techniques

A correctly delivered kick can be three times more powerful than a punch and is generated by a quick flick of the hips just before impact. Mirko Filipovic, or ‘Cro Cop’, proved how effective this can be for knockouts.

Key principles

  • Relax and don’t tense up.
  • Use the whole body movement by turning the hip into the kick.
  • The heel of the non-kicking leg should point towards the opponent when a kick is executed.
  • Keep the guard up while kicking.
  • Use combinations, as these are more effective.
  • After each kick, quickly return to the starting position.

THE ROUNDHOUSE KICK

The roundhouse kick is probably the most frequently used kicking technique in MMA and can result in knockouts. Kicks can be made to any part of the opponent’s body, with impact being made with either the top of the foot or the shin. The same key principles apply to all kicking variations, which can be performed from either the front or back leg as an attacking, defensive or counter-attacking technique. Key points:

  • Two alternate Landing zones – The top of the foot striking area and the shin striking area.
  • The Kicking leg is prepared, or chambered
  • Kick, with the majority of the weight on the front leg.
  • Heel of the non-kicking leg is pointing towards the opponent.
  • The kick is snapped out and the hip is turned in just before impact to generate more power.
  • The kick is retrieved quickly to prevent the opponent from grabbing the leg and, when the fighter has both feet on the ground he is more mobile, and make it more difficult for the opponent to catch
  • This also applies to low kicks to the thigh.
  • The kick can travel up at a 45-degree angle.
  • Applied regularly can wear an opponent down.
  • A roundhouse kick to the head is a very effective knockout technique requiring good flexibility.

THE SIDE KICK

Side kicks are commonly deployed for low or midsection strikes and use either the heel or the outside of the foot. They can be performed from the front or back leg and used as an attacking or counter-attacking technique. Main points of execution:

  • The starting position for a back-leg side kick, with most of the weight on the front leg.
  • The kicking leg is chambered with the knee pulled towards the chest. The heel of the non-kicking leg points towards the opponent.
  • The kick is snapped out and the hip is rotated forwards just before impact as this generates more power. The toes of the kicking leg point downwards.
  • The side kick can be used to stop an opponent’s attack by kicking to the thigh with the front leg.
  • A side kick to the midsection is used to attack the opponent and to bridge the gap so other techniques or takedowns can be applied.
  • The kick is quickly retrieved to prevent the opponent from grabbing the leg. Also, when the fighter has both feet on the ground he is more mobile.

THE FRONT KICK

A front kick can be applied to all areas of the opponent’s body and strikes are made using the ball or sole of the foot. The kick can be performed using the front or back leg as either an attacking or counter-attacking technique. It is very simple, but fast and effective. Key points:

  • Two strike areas: the ball of the foot striking area and the sole of the foot striking area.
  • The kicking leg is chambered with the knee pulled vertically towards the chest.
  • Requires the majority of the weight to be on the non-kicking leg.
  • The toes are pulled back and the foot snapped forwards. The hip is also pushed forwards to add power.
  • The kicking foot is snapped back and placed either in front or behind the other leg.
  • The front kick can be used to stop an opponent’s attack.

A front kick to the midsection is used to attack the opponent and bridge the gap so it can be followed up with other attacking techniques or a takedown.

THE SPINNING HOOK OR BACK KICK

The spinning hook kick is normally used to strike the opponent’s head. When performed and timed correctly, it can result in a knockout (which it does in the video above). The heel of the foot is used for the strike, which is normally performed with the back leg. It is also a very good move to use to defend against an attacking opponent. Technique points:

  • In the fighting stance the weight is evenly distributed. The fighter then pivots on both feet so their back and heels face the opponent.
  • The kicking leg is lifted and chambered towards the opponent and the head turns towards them.

OTHER KICKS

Many other kicks can be performed depending on the fighter’s skill and also whether the opponent is on the ground or standing. These include:

  • Downward stomp kick.
  • Stomping kick from the ground.
  • Side push kick.
  • Soccer kick.

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