Krav Maga Kicking 101

It’s a bit difficult to pin down exactly what Imi lichtenfeld taught by way of kicking, especially since the art has changed (evolved?) over the years. Suffice to say that kicks when used correctly in Krav Maga or any fighting system are a very effective way to end a fight, and so well worth practicing. Guy Dar covers kicks reasonably well in his Krav Maga video series. What follows is an overview of the important kicks that you should practice.

There are two main kick weapons to practice – the foot and the knee. Ideally you’ll be wearing shoes. Shoes will protect your feet from impact damage and makes your foot tougher so that it hurts your opponent more.  If you are bare foot then make sure that you don’t land the kick with your toes first otherwise you’ll hurt yourself more than the other guy! If barefooted you still can make contact with your heel or your instep.

Kick Low

In a fight do not… I repeat do not kick above waist level. You can practice high kicks if you want (good for acquiring balance, stretch and power) but they have no place on the street. High kicks take longer to deliver, consume more energy, they can unbalance you (especially if you miss!) and they can leave you wide open to counter attack. They look good in the movies, and that’s where they belong, not on the street!


In many ways so long as you land a kick somewhere on them then it’s going to hurt them. I really like striking the shin bone – it’s close in, easy to hit, and it’ll hurt them like crazy: a fantastic target. And as they are hobbling around you follow up with a quick one, two (ALWAYS follow up with a quick one, two ok!?).

The groin / crotch is another obvious target, it’s higher for sure, so it carries a slightly higher risk, BUT it carries the tremendous advantage that it is difficult target to miss, and is a fairly safe target even if you are barefooted.

Likewise kicking them in the knee with your heel can be a devastating attack. Once they have a shattered knee cap you can finish the off a cinch. Also it’s another good one if you have bare feet since your heel is a very tough instrument.

At close quarters the knee is a truly powerful weapon. Hit them in the groin or thigh and they’ll go down.

Another close quarter weapon is your heel – for stomping on their upper foot or grinding down on their shin.

Practice low kicks like your life depends on, because one day it might!

Krav Maga, High Kicks and Muay Thai

When Krav Maga was developed, Imi incorporated his knowledge from other fighting systems that he practiced including Judo, Boxing, Wrestling and Jujitsu so the kicks described above fall very much into that framework. However certain sources also suggest that he learnt Muay Thai which as most people know encompasses higher kicking as well as push kicks.

Muay Thai is a great fighting art but requires a lot of practice to be competent in a fight situation to use above waist kicks in a combat environment. Therefore this writer feels that even if Imi learnt it, it’s unlikely that this would have been taught to students except possibly those more advanced.

>> Interested in Krav Maga then Check Out this Excellent Video Series


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