Is it more beneficial to kick with the front leg or the back leg while on a normal fighting stance (e.g. boxing, taekwondo, etc.)?

I have practiced tkd for some time and I decided to quit practicing back leg kicks due to the time required for delivery. I feel that it is possible to deliver front leg kicks (to the waist/abdomen/ribs) that causes a meaningful impact while preserving the speed needed to cause impact before the opponent blocks it.

Is it cost effective to exchange speed for power by using back leg kicks (like some MMA matches)? Will that extra power be necessary?

Let's keep the discussion limited to real life combat senarios.


In real-life fights, your assailant is almost certainly not going to stand back in kickboxing range looking for an opening. I suppose they might just still be posturing, so if you kick first YOU'RE the attacker and subject to criminal prosecution. (And no, the court is not going to take your "He was threatening me" as a reason for you to avoid doing jail time for assault and battery.)

But, given that it probably has happened at some point in history, I'd guess that it's more likely the guy has probably trained in martial arts, in which case he'll guard against kicks to some extent. If not, then front leg kicks are faster but weaker, while back leg kicks take longer to develop but hit harder. So, "It depends" (tm).

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    I can back off to kicking distance or force the attacker back and kick. It's completely possible. – Winston Smith Jul 13 at 10:08
  • Sure, anything is possible, but is it likely? In a dojo/dojang, sure. In a parking lot, it depends on how effective he is overwhelming you with surprise multiple face punches and clumsy grabbing, and how many friends he has with him. In a crowded room, where you lurch into things and lose your footing, a lot less likely. But anyway, see my next-to-last sentence above. Plus, not every strike has to be full-power with its associated setup time (e.g., a half second to get your back kicking foot just right before swinging around in a strike which would do max damage) - you'll tire a lot faster. – Amorphous Blob Jul 13 at 14:22
  • Quite reasonable. I suppose in that case a well placed brachial stun and an elbow strike should end the fight in less than a few seconds so there will be no need for a kick. – Winston Smith Jul 15 at 11:45

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