The Leg Kick, the Bouncer’s Secret Weapon

Back in the early 1980’s, I was first introduced to the combat sport of muay Thai. I was already training in traditional martial arts, but what these fighters were doing was new to me: they kicked using their shins and did so full power. What’s more, they didn’t use any shin guards, which was unusual at the time. The most peculiar technique was one that looked like a sloppy soccer kick aimed at the opponent’s upper leg. It didn’t make sense to me but, as an inquisitive young man, it didn’t take me long to start experimenting and learning as much as I could about “The Art of Eight Limbs.”

I soon discovered a few things:

  • That soccer kick was called a “leg kick” or “low kick” and it hurt like hell when it landed.
  • Though it looks easy to do, it is an extremely difficult technique to master and use correctly.

With lots of training and patience, the leg kick eventually became one of my favorite techniques. I’ve used it on numerous occasions, both inside and outside of a combat sports context and can attest to its effectiveness. Thanks to the help of other practitioners and instructors I met along the way, I made a lot of progress refining the leg kick and learned to apply it using different effective tactics. One of these instructors had a particularly interesting take on the leg kick and I’d like to share it with you here. I’m going to refer to my book here for more in-depth information, so if you haven’t got it yet, you can buy it here:

The Leg Kick: Your Ultimate Guide to Using The Leg Kick for Mixed Martial Arts

For all the details on the leg kick, go here.

He was a bouncer and used the leg kick to handle certain types of conflicts that were about to escalate into violence. In fact, he turned it into a handy (though nasty…) little trick to calm down the kind of patrons who were too young to know the true dangers of violence, but too old not to take seriously. I’ll explain the trick at the end, but first some thoughts on the technical details:

  • He used the half-hip turn instead of the full hip turn. This allowed him a faster delivery, non-telegraphic movement and the ability to strike from his de-escalation stance (which had the kicking leg slightly to the back.)
  • The retraction is just as important. His leg would explode into the kick, but he paid equal attention to retracting it right away. That way he was able to get back to either his de-escalation stance if he got the result he wanted, or flow into a fighting stance to follow-up with appropriate techniques.
  • Follow-up. When the kick was delivered correctly, the patron dropped to the floor or bent over to clutch his leg. But just in case something went wrong, he always brought his hands up as he retracted his leg, ready to strike, defend or control the patron or any others who might want to intervene.
  • Appropriate targeting. Given the trick he used, he didn’t aim for the knee as that joint and its ligaments will tear and snap when struck with sufficient force. Nobody wants to pay for expensive surgery if law enforcement gets involved after the incident. Instead, he aimed for the sciatic nerve. When properly hit, it shuts people down and they tend to fall or limp heavily. As such a technique attacks the nervous system directly, it tends to override whatever mindset they were in the moment before and usually adjusts their attitude for the better. At the very least, they are in no position to think of attacking.

He had great success working with the leg kick like this and still uses the technique.

 

Why use the leg kick as a bouncer?

Hitting a patron in the head can end badly for both you and him. If you breaks his nose, teeth or orbital bone, you might be up on charges and pay heavy medical costs along with facing a lawsuit. If you knock him out and he cracks his skull on the floor as he falls, he could end up in a coma or in the morgue. that would mean a court date for you, tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and if convicted, years in prison for manslaughter.

The benefit of the leg kick is that it avoids cosmetic damage to the face, so you don’t have to worry about those medical costs. If the patron falls, he is generally conscious and instinctively tries to catch his fall using his arms and hands. In most cases, he doesn’t suffer serious injuries. At worst, you break or fracture his femur, which though painful is typically not a lethal injury.

But most of all: the owner of the establishment needs his patrons to return to spend more money in his place. If they see you smashing in faces, they will more than likely take their business elsewhere and you will eventually be out of a job. Kicking them in the leg, though painful and embarrassing if they limp away, is usually not seen as perceived as excessive violence. So bystanders might actually give beneficial testimony if the police investigate what happened.

That said, you still have to be justified in your use of force. Case in point:

This video shows a bouncer being effective with the technique, but you could argue if kicking the patron was the right choice.

All that said, the leg kick is just another tool in the toolbox: use it when appropriate, leave it alone when it’s not.

 

The trick that bouncer used to make the leg kick his secret weapon?

Underneath his trousers, worn in such a way nobody could spot it, he wore field hockey shin guards like this:

The Leg Kick, the Bouncer's Secret Weapon

Hard, field hockey shin guards

These are made out of a hard exterior shell and a soft, padded lining on the inside. They are usually long enough to cover your entire shin, which means that if you leg kick somebody while wearing them, it feels like getting hit with a baseball bat made out of steel.

I did mention that the trick was nasty…

The best part is that to the other patrons, it looks like the bouncer just dropped a guy with a kick that shouldn’t have packed that much power. Sure, it was fast, but it wasn’t a big move. In their minds, it creates a narrative of “Damn, that dude hits hard!” followed right along with a bunch of reasons why they better not mess with him. As a result, the need for more violence was often averted. Not always though and you need to know when the leg kick is not the right way to go, but that’s beyond the topic of this article.

Fun side-benefit: you can block certain kicks with your shin without sustaining damage, so this trick is not just good for offense.

 

Making it work.

Start by finding a shin guard that fits you well. They have to be comfortable as you wear them for hours on end during a shift. That’s why I suggest spending a bit more and getting shin guards that allow some airflow to avoid profuse sweating and the rashes that can come from it. This obviously also means you take care of them after each use, cleaning them out and letting them dry completely. I suggest starting your search here and also here.

Wear the right pair of trousers so they stay hidden. Depending on the dress code of your establishment, this might be a frustrating challenge and take some experimenting. Do it anyway, because it’s of little use to give away your secret trick by making it obvious for all to see you’re wearing those shin guards.

On a final note:

Another bouncer didn’t think the shin guards were hard enough to get consistent results, so he rigged them for better performance:

He attached several steel corner brackets to the shin guard with the edge of the corners facing outward. This took some tinkering to get it right, but eventually, he did. As a result, he would kick unruly patrons real fast, just once, and everybody he kicked went down after just one strike. It tended to impress the other patrons to the point of quieting down any other brooding fight that was ready to boil over.

As far as I know, nobody ever figured out his secret.

My new book: The Leg Kick for Mixed Martial Arts

And here it is! My new book, The Leg Kick: Your Ultimate Guide to Using The Leg Kick for Mixed Martial Arts, is available as of right now. If you want to read all the details on what it’s about, read this blog post.

The Leg Kick: Your Ultimate Guide to Using The Leg Kick for Mixed Martial Arts

The Leg Kick: Your Ultimate Guide to Using The Leg Kick for Mixed Martial Arts

You can get the book in paperback and electronic version at Amazon and the other retailers in this list here below.

Available:

Coming soon:

  • Inktera

There are two bonuses that come with this book:

  • The first 100 buyers who send me a message via my Facebook Page can get access to a private Facebook group. In that group, I will give additional information to help you use the information in the book: pictures, additional techniques, instructional videos, video analysis of MMA fights in which the leg kick is used, you can ask questions and much more. This is first come, first served, so best not delay if you are interested in this.

Also, you will keep your access to the group once I finish posting all the content there. Important: you obviously need a Facebook account to be eligible for this and I will ask proof of purchase via email.

  • There is a resources page to which I repeatedly refer to in the book. You can find it here. There you can find additional information, some videos and links to the gear I recommend for your training. This page is free for all to enjoy.

 

It took much longer than I wanted to write this book, but it’s finally here. I hope you enjoy it and can use the information to improve your own skills.

 

I have one small favor to ask:

Please leave a review on Amazon. Just give your honest opinion, what you liked, didn’t like, etc. It doesn’t even have the be a long review, just a few lines is already better than nothing.

Reviews make a huge difference in improving sales of a book. I would greatly appreciate it you woudl take the time to write one. Thank you.

 

Finally, I’ve already started writing the next book: Boxing for Self-Defense. If all goes well, it will be released in December near the holiday season. If you want to be notified when it does, sign up here. No spam, just an email when there’s a new product.

 

Thank you for your support.

Charlottesville and what comes next

I didn’t watch the news yesterday evening so I only found out about what happened in Charlottesville this morning. I did some checking, saw what some of my friends were saying and decided to post this article. It’s from the Patreon Newsletter I wrote in March. I edited it slightly for clarity and added a few things.

Here goes:

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Violence in Modern Society

For the last few years I’ve posted videos and articles, mostly on my blog and Facebook page, that weren’t about self-defense per se but more about trends in our modern, Western societies. Some of the feedback I got was along the lines of “What the hell are you talking about?” so I thought it might not be a bad idea for me to explain myself a bit. Here goes.

The last twenty years have seen many changes in not only the entire world, but in particular in Western societies and most notably in the US. I will focus on the latter, but have seen similar things happen in the EU where I live. I think it’s a universal trend as opposed to an isolated one. The picture is complex and I need to put several pieces of the puzzle on the table before it makes sense.

One piece of that puzzle is terrorism:

  • First and foremost, 9/11 happened some fifteen years ago and it changed the world as well as the American government, its policies and its society.
  • France and Belgium had their own 9/11 these last few years with the Paris and Brussels attacks.
  • Germany had numerous attacks in the Summer of 2016. Though there were less casualties in total, the frequency was higher and the attacks perhaps more brutal (though we can argue about that.)
  • The UK also had its share of terrorist attacks, with again, relatively speaking less victims but in a more personal (and therefor more frighting) manner.
  • Since then, numerous terrorist attacks have been thwarted in several EU countries. This information rarely makes the news and when it does, it is routinely ignored by the media because it scares the readers and viewers.

A second piece is the rise of social media and alternative media channels:

  • Facebook and Twitter became dominant platforms. They offer instant, worldwide communication via text, audio and video. This has positive and negative consequences, which I won’t go into here. The point is that news, fake or otherwise, goes global in an instant and can be seen by anybody with an internet connection, be they rich or poor, smart or stupid, etc. This is unprecedented in human history.
  • Any message can go viral, regardless of significance or time frame. For instance, one man live-Tweeted the raid on Osama Bin Laden. Only afterwards did he realize the significance of what he tweeted. Another example is the live video broadcast on Facebook of the torture of a young man. This led to arrests and a debate on racism, violence and society in general.
  • An argument can be made that humans have not yet figured out how to handle this flood of information and disinformation. We also don’t know how things will evolve in the future, but these issues are unlikely to go away.

The third piece is the advent of extreme positions in academia and lobby groups, in particular since the latest US elections: [Read more…]

The Leg Kick for Mixed Martial Arts, Coming Soon!

Before I get to the leg kick part, something else: it’s been several months since I updated my blog, sorry about that. Life happened and I’ve been crazy busy, that’s the honest truth. However, I haven’t been idle… First of all, I’ve been adding tons of content on my Patreon page. The feedback and support has been amazing and I’ve been kicking myself for not starting it sooner. If you’re not familiar with Patreon, I explained how I am using it here.

Second and most of all: my new book is finished and is in the final stages of production. The title is:

The Leg Kick: Your Ultimate Guide to Using The Leg Kick for Mixed Martial Arts

More details and a special offer below, but first here’s the cover:

The Leg Kick for MMA

I just sent the formatting guys my list of corrections for the first draft they did. I should have a revised version back in a day or so and if there are no other issues, we can proceed to preparing the paper version. Once that is done, I can order a print proof, check it for errors and fix what needs fixing. When that is done, I can upload the files and the book will be on sale a few days later.

I can’t wait…

 

What’s it about?

Many years ago, I wrote a free ebook about the leg kick, one of my favorite techniques. I eventually put it up here on my blog as a  How-to do a Leg Kick series. and it was a popular bunch of articles for a long time. However, this guide was only a basic introduction to the leg kick and I wanted to do more. So my first idea was to make an instructional video, but due to technical problems, the shoot failed. Then I started developing physical problems and couldn’t do a decent job anymore, so I shelved the project.

But I still wanted to do more.

So I eventually started writing a much more in-depth version of this guide, which turned into  what is now “The Leg Kick: Your Ultimate Guide to Using The Leg Kick for Mixed Martial Arts.” If you read that original guide, you might wonder what is different in the book. Here are some details:

  • First, there are lots more chapters, check out the picture here below.  I tried to be as complete as I possibly can without turning the book into an encyclopedia.
The Leg Kick for Mixed Martial Arts

Chapter list of The Leg Kick for Mixed Martial Arts

  • Next, there are 160 original pictures included, to illustrate the concepts, techniques and combinations in the book.
  • In the book you get the link to a “Resources Page” I will make available on my site. It will feature additional content such as links to equipment, pictures, videos and more. Free of charge.
  • To the best of my knowledge, this is the only book that focuses on the leg kick for Mixed Martial Arts in such great detail.

So all in all, I think it turned out really well and I hope you’ll enjoy the book and find it useful for your leg kick training.

 

Special offer

I’m going to do two things I haven’t done before during the launch of this book:

  • I’m giving a discount for a short, undisclosed time period right after the book is published. If you are a Patron or on my notification list, you will be the first to hear about it and also know when that period ends. That should give you more than enough time to buy the book at the lowest price possible. Once that time period ends, the price will go up.
  • The first 100 buyers get access to a private Facebook group I created. In that group I will spend a few weeks giving additional information to help you use the information in the book: pictures, additional techniques, instructional videos, video analysis of MMA fights in which the leg kick is used, you can ask questions and much more. This is first come, first served (except for my Patrons; they get in for free) and once those 100 spots are taken, that will be it. Once all the content has been placed in the group and I stop posting, you will still keep your access to it. Important: you obviously need a Facebook account to be eligible for this and I will ask proof of purchase via email. Final instructions will follow as soon as I publish the book.

That’s pretty much it. So don’t forget to sign up for my notification list or become a Patron to get a shot at access to this special offer.

I think this is a fair and generous offer to those of you who want to support my work and are interested in the book. The offer is merely an incentive for you to get the book sooner rather than later.

 

That covers the most important information for now. There is more to come, but I’ll let you all know as publication comes closer.

My Patreon page and how you can support this blog

Last week, I opened my Patreon page to the public, you can visit it here. If you haven’t heard of it before, here’s a short video that explains what it’s about:

In short:

  • Patreon is continuous crowdfunding, like Kickstarter but with monthly support instead of a one-time donation. You can use PayPal and most major credit cards.
  • There are different tiers at different price levels, each offering specific rewards. When you pick a higher tier, you automatically get all the rewards at the lower tiers as well.
  • You can stop at any time, go to a lower tier or go to a higher tier.

That’s pretty much it. It’s a simple and robust platform that works exactly as advertised.

 

Why am I using it?

When I started my first site in 1999, I promised wife at the time that I wouldn’t invest money in it, only time. I’ve tried to stick to that promise and worked with advertisers to cover the cost of hosting this blog. I don’t want to be too dependent on too many of them so I kept it limited. The last few years, the number of visitors has risen consistently and it’s come to the point that my current web host isn’t good enough anymore. Then there are the projects like my webcast, that I want to turn into a podcast, but that also needs some investment. To make better videos, I need to invest in equipment, etc. You can read all of the goals on the left side of the page.

I am using Patreon as a membership site, which in essence means two things:

  • I’m creating content specifically for it and you get to see it right away when it’s done, no delays. Some content will be unique to my Patreon page and not get published elsewhere.
  • You’ll have access to me. I’m going to be active in different ways: comments, videos, Q&A sessions and more.

My ultimate goal is to have my Patreon page be something you enjoy, find useful and feel you are getting your money’s worth from.

 

What now?

In less than a week time and with only a handful of patrons we blew past the first two goals. With their support, I can now:

  • Upgrade my blog to a much better web host. This will improve the speed, up-time and overall user experience for all of you. I’m comparing the plans of a few web hosts right now and am almost ready to pick one. Then the migration process can start. I’ll let you know when it’s done.
  • I can turn my webcast into a podcast as well. It will be available on Youtube as before, but also in audio version here on my blog and on iTunes.

I hadn’t expected to reach those goals any time soon. Everything I read about Patreon told me you need to work hard and be patient as patrons slowly trickle in over the months. It’s humbling to see how my patrons stepped up and signed on right away, even when there wasn’t a lot of content just yet. So here’s a big thank you to Andy, Pieter, Tino, Jose, Jan and Michael. You guys rock! I’m busy creating lots more content every day and I’ll do my best to reward your confidence in me.

If you want to support my blog, there’s two ways you can do so:

  • Sign up and become a patron here. Support can be as little as $1 a month at the lowest tier; every bit helps and I appreciate all of it.
  • Share my Patreon page with people you think might be interested. The more people take a look, the more chances one of them signs up. The more people sign up, the more everybody benefits as it’ll allow me to create more and better content.

As an added bonus, I’m offering a special surprise reward for the first 50 patrons, regardless of which tier you sign up for. So don’t wait too long if you are interested.

And to those of you who spread the word: thank you. I very much appreciate it.