So pretty much I want to know how to make my low kicks most devastating.

I did Kyokushin karate for a few years(until our dojo closed) and it helped a lot. Back then my low kicks were pretty alright, and a good one was often enough to disable my opponents leg until the end of the fight(in my belt category at least).

Now I'm doing traditional jiu jitsu now and every time we are sparring I find it more and more difficult to land a decent low kick(not going full power, just enough to stop/hurt my partner and not break his leg).

So the question is: when is the best moment to land it in order to make it most devastating?

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    The best moment to do the kick is the same as it ever was - when the target is open. The question is, are you using good form for the kick? Are you targeting the right spot(s)? Are you telegraphing the kick so your sparring partners know it is coming? – slugster Jan 28 '15 at 11:29
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    -1, Do you really aim to hurt your partner?... – Sardathrion - against SE abuse Jan 28 '15 at 11:38
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    @Novarg - Welcome to Cobra Kai. None of the stupid aphorisms you just bleated encompass hurting yourself or your opponent. – JohnP Jan 28 '15 at 14:55
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    @DaveLiepmann - Probably because his situations and descriptions are at odds with his actual question. – JohnP Mar 2 '15 at 20:59
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    @Sardathrion It read to me that he was talking about disabling the leg in tournament (thus, the belt categories). In any case, having a numb leg for the duration of a fight is nowhere near a broken bone, dislocated joint, or being killed. You're being ridiculous. Don't downvote just because you don't like hard sparring. – Dave Liepmann Mar 3 '15 at 12:48

The short answer is that you should land it when all your opponent's weight is on that leg. Either while kicking, or leaning forward. Just know that kicking close to the knee while your opponent is performing a kick has a big chance of dislocation his knee and screwing it up for the rest of his life. Which is one of the reasons I had to retire from serious competition.

  • thanks for the answer. Although I noticed that it isn't necessary to kick the supporting leg, even if there is (let's say) 20% weight on a leg, a kick to that leg can cool down/stop an aggressor for a short while – Novarg Jan 28 '15 at 12:54
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    @Novarg: you can't have it both ways - you ask "So the question is: when is the best moment to land it in order to make it most devastating?" and Juann talks about what's most effective, then you nit-pick that even a less effective kick can be useful like you know better than him.... – Tony D Jan 31 '15 at 7:47

Well...the one answering your questions are absolutely right. Low kicks are best used when most of your opponent's weight is on one leg, preferably when he/she is kicking at you. Jus' dodge the kick (by ducking if a high-kick or by side-stepping or moving out of range) and give a kick on his/her leg.

If in a serious fight, hitting the back of the knee will make your opponent fall down bad. The palm of the foot can be used to hit the front of the knee (not barefoot, mind you) as a good choice too (it can backfire too, so be careful).

And...which leg to attack...that depends. If you wanna put your opponent off-balance and need extra chances to hit your opponent, then kicking the leg on which the less of the weight has been put is a good choice. For it, the best moment is to wait for the time when the opponent uses the leg to kick at you. Just quickly move from the attack range and hit the leg in a way that it the leg turns in an another direction. And hit hard.

If you wanna make your opponent fall down, kick the back of the leg on which then most of the weight is put.

Yeah, and better practice it.


I like to hit low kicks when my opponent is stepping forward, so as to disrupt their footing, or when my opponent is flat-footed and heavy on the lead leg, allowing me a stationary target so I can load up and do some damage.

Another approach is to force the opponent to retreat, then attack the leg they leave behind, as Mauricio "Shogun" Rua did to Lyoto Machida:

Shogun's answer to Machida's elusiveness was to back him up with swinging punches and connect a low kick on whichever leg was leaving his range last. No matter how far Machida backpeddled, one leg would always be in front of him, pushing him backwards - and it was this that Shogun exploited so ruthlessly.

To figure out why you're finding it harder to land low kicks now, you might want to look at whether your opponents are using a different stance or footwork in this school versus the last. Are they standing more square? Are they being more mobile? Also, look into whether you're drilling these kicks at all now. If you're not practicing them, it will be hard to hit them in live sparring.


the best moment would be when most of his weight is about to be put on that leg or during that time. The moment right after a step in, or while he is recovering from a missed kick, or when he is standing on one leg. When timed right, a leg kick will make him fall on the floor, even without using so much force to break his leg.

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