I’m busy working on the leg kick book and came across this video below. It features an unknown genius who tries to train the leg kick on a hard object that has no ability to move upon impact. You can imagine the rest…
Let’s just say this isn’t the smartest thing to do…
I think we can safely say Jean-Claude Van Damme is to blame for this thing still going on. For those of you who didn’t see the movie, here’s the relevant scene:
The movie had a bunch more nonsense that no true muay Thai fighter would ever do, but the tree kicking scene spoke to the imagination of youngsters all over the world and started leading a life of its own. To be clear, there is no upside to train the leg kick this way, none at all.
You can still find videos of Thai’s kicking banana trees, but mostly, this is a training relic from the past. Nowadays, virtually all gyms use heavy bags, which are both more practical and versatile to train the leg kick on.
The worst offender I’ve seen was in this video here in which a fighter (or trainer, I don’t remember) tries to show off hitting a wooden pole:
Please don’t do that. Ever.
The only thing this does is damage joints, bones and ligaments in the long run. He mitigates some of it by rolling his arms and legs to take the brunt of the impact on the muscle as opposed to the bone, but his shoulders, hips and knees still take a beating.
When I started training some 30 years ago, I did a lot of this kind of stuff. My teacher was hardcore into body conditioning and we’d hit and kick wooden poles like this or concrete pillars. Let me put it this way: osteoarthritis sucks and this guy is heading straight towards it. If he’s unlucky, it will be there before he hits 40, with an ever decreasing quality of daily life from then on out.
If you want to train the leg kick effectively in a safe manner: kick the heavy bag and the kicking shield. Do so regularly and build up the power of the kick gradually. For most people, that is the safest way to condition the shins while you also develop good technique.
Just a quick update on my leg kick book, this is the current chapter list:
Chapter 1: Fundamental principles.
Chapter 2: The weapon.
Chapter 3: The lead arm.
Chapter 4: The rear arm.
Chapter 5: The hips.
Chapter 6: The torso.
Chapter 7: The legs.
Chapter 8: Variations.
Chapter 9: Footwork.
Chapter 10: Conditioning.
Chapter 11: Drills.
Chapter 12: Combinations.
Chapter 13: How to defend against the leg kick.
Chapter 14: Basic tactics.
Chapter 15: Advanced strategies.
Chapter 16: Case studies.
Chapter 17: Troubleshooting your leg kick.
I have seven chapters left to finish, with 4 of those already half-written. Some chapters might still get lumped together or get deleted depending on how things go. Writing a book can be a bit weird like that sometimes. Once that’s done, I can shoot the pictures and if possible do some videos too, as a bonus.
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