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Dodge/Parry Kicks

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10.0 Dodging & Parrying Kicks

We have already mentioned the advantages of dodging over parrying when using punches; similar advantages exist in the case of kicks. In both cases, dodging the attack with as little motion of the body as absolutely necessary is desirable, so as not to lose ground. This is even more important when using kicks, since one should dodge without losing opponent from his reach and becoming thus incapable of retaliation. Indeed, when you get out of your opponent's arms reach and he out of yours, you can still retaliate with kicks, but if when dodging a kick, you move so far that he is also out of your feet's reach, you may miss a good opportunity for retaliation.

The best dodging techniques let the attack flow by and add its momentum to the momentum of the retaliation. Particular care should be taken not to advance on an attack before effectively dodging it first. If your timing is wrong you will receive much punishment. Only experienced kickboxers can effectively dodge and move inside the attacker's defenses. A beginner will do well to dodge without losing ground and to wait for the opponent to come close, carried by his own momentum, before retaliating.

Dodging a Low Direct Kick - A


Naturally, dodges and parries are practiced with the help of a partner. Unless otherwise specified both start from the left B.T.S.

10.1.1 Against a Right Low Direct Kick to the Left Shinbone

A. Lift left leg bending knee sharply so that the calf is against the thigh. Heel is lower than ball of foot, toes pointing straight ahead. Keep arms in the B.T.S. position.

B. Slide left foot on the floor either to the right, or to the left, leg in full extension. Keep arms in the B.T.S. position and make sure that your left foot grazes the floor. Avoid an unnecessarily wide movement.

10.1.2 A Method of General Applicability

You can dodge a kick by retreating and changing stance. For example, from the left B.T.S.: Notice that this removes you from the attack, but essentially you do not lose ground, since your right foot stays in place and all you have to do to return to your initial position is to slide back the left foot. This dodge is very effective and versatile and is particularly recommended for beginners. We shall see later how it can be applied to specific situations.

10.1.3 Against a Circular Kick

As opponent kicks with his right foot, take a big step with the right foot to your oblique right, moving in the same direction with the kick, but away from it. At the end of this step you find yourself at the level of his knee. Then, take a step to your oblique left with the left foot ducking under his attacking leg and throw him with a knee throw, as described later. Alternatively, you may throw him by lifting his attacking leg from under with your shoulders.

10.1.4 Against a High Direct Kick

A. If directed against the legs, you may use the dodges described for the low direct kick. You may also step or even jump over the attacking leg. Keep in mind, however, that jumping always makes you vulnerable.

B. The leg grouping and pivoting dodge* are also applicable here. Catch the kicking leg under the heel, on his way up, and impart to it additional momentum in the same direction. Your opponent will fall hard on his back. Do not attempt to catch the leg if the attack is directed too low.

Dodging a Low Direct Kick - B

Against a Circular Kick to the Left Side

Against a Circular Kick to the Left Side (One among the many possible ways to retaliate)


This requires power, accuracy and above all proper timing, since kicks are considerably more powerful than punches. The arm and hand parries have already been described; we shall now give some guidelines for their effective use together with some specific examples.

A. It is always better to deflect an attack than to receive its full impact. Therefore, when you parry, use a sweeping motion of your forearm and rotate simultaneously the wrist in the direction of the sweep. Use the elbow as the center of rotation.

B. Parry close to the part of your body under attack, i.e., close to your opponent's target. Whenever possible, initiate your parries by bringing the elbow close to the body, thus they will be more powerful. In other words, don't seek out the kick. The amplitude of your parry should be barely sufficient to deflect the attack or to stop it from reaching you. This economy of motion will not only enable you to retaliate faster, but also to catch your opponent when he is fully committed to his attack and, therefore, much more vulnerable.

C. Involve the whole body and particularly the hips. Remember that circular motions develop more power than linear ones.

D. Use the gloves, or preferably the fleshy part of the forearm. Avoid taking the impact on the wrist in order to prevent injury.

E. Parries and deflections must be as short and fast as possible. Speed will help you to develop momentum and therefore, power.

F. Timing is most important. Nothing but free sparring will truly develop it. It is very rarely that you will have the time for a complete, classical parry. More often you will have to take the final position in a hurry and this is the very reason why there is no substitute for sparring. It is inconvenient, besides being futile, to attempt to cover all possible situations. For this reason, we will give here only some well chosen examples.

10.2.1 Against a Circular Kick to the Left Side

A. Use Parry Five.

B. Retreat retracting left side and abdomen. Sweep attacking foot to the right, in the direction of its momentum with the thumb side of the left fist, thereby causing opponent to lose balance. This is a deflection. Move in to attack.

C. Step back with the left foot, and using Parry Six, strike attacking heel toward the right with the side of the right fist, thereby breaking opponent's balance. Move in to attack. B and C may also be used against the high direct, instep and side-of-foot kicks.

10.2.2 Against Kicks Directed to the Area Between the Knees and the Waist

Bring left foot behind the right, retract abdomen, bending knees and use Parry Eight. Lift and pull toward you to throw opponent.

* See page 20.

Parry Eight and Throw

Leg Parry One

Leg Parry Two, Front View

Leg Parry Two, Rear View

Leg Parry Three


This is perhaps the better way to parry kicks. The following leg and foot parries are described assuming both opponents in the left B.T.S.

LEG PARRY ONE: Side-of-foot parry. This parry is commonly used against a low direct kick to the shinbone. Opponent attempts a right low direct kick to your left shinbone. Lift left leg in full extension, foot locked at the ankle, pointing to the right, sole cupped and turned toward the floor. Opponent's shinbone comes to hit the side of your foot. Lift your foot high enough to get over the attacking foot, but no more than necessary. The same technique may be used as a counter, by bending the knee slightly and delivering a short, sharp side-of-foot kick.

LEG PARRY TWO: Sole sweep. Against attacks to the lower abdomen. Shift weight on the right foot and kick up with the cupped sole of the left foot, bringing it at the level of the right hip. The sweeping motion of the shin and the foot deflects the attack. Right fist is in front of the heart and left fist in front of the groin. Speed is of the essence. Return fast to the left B.T.S.

LEG PARRY THREE: Heel hook, to deflect a low direct, or a side-of-foot kick. Heel strikes opponent's calf from under.

LEG PARRY FOUR: Instep kick directed to the inside of opponent's thigh. For instance, use right shin at the ready instep kick position to deflect a right high direct kick. Follow through immediately with a right instep kick to the inside of opponent's right thigh. Avoid full impact on the shin and knee since this is not only painful, but also dangerous for the knee. In other words, deflect the kick, do not stop it.

Leg Parry Four

LEG PARRY FIVE: Thigh parry. Bring the fleshy part of the left thigh across the lower abdomen, knee fully bent, foot in extension. Simultaneously, use your left forearm, elbow against the body, for a Parry Five. Follow through with left side-of-foot kick.

Leg Parry Five ...

... and follow through.


If you notice that your opponent is not swift enough in withdrawing his attacking foot, you may have a good chance to grab it and retaliate either with punches, kicks or with throws. Whenever possible, avoid the full impact of his kick; catch his foot as he withdraws it.

10.4.1 Against a High Direct Kick to the Groin

Shift forward (left) foot to the right, leading with the hip, so that the attacking foot almost grazes your left buttock. Drop the left arm by your left side, wrist turned outward and hand cupped, to Hook his foot on its way down. Step with left foot to the oblique left and set foot under his right thigh. Retaliate with a right punch to the face, or with a throw. If you cannot step in with left foot, turn hips to the right and counter with left side-of-foot kick to the inside of his left (standing) leg.

10.4.2 Against a Circular Kick to the Side

Move in the direction, but away from the incoming kick as explained under 10.1.3. Drop your left arm and catch his right shin near and from under the knee. Wrap forearm around his calf. Step to oblique right with right foot, and strike a right side-of-fist punch on the side of his knee. This will make him pivot and face the floor. Crossing right arm over left, take a big step forward with right foot, in the direction of his head, pushing with the hips. He will fall on his face.

Against a High Direct Kick to the Groin

10.4.3 Against a Side-of-Foot Kick to the Groin

Use Parry Eight and with palms turned toward the floor, grab his right heel. Lift it up and away, in the direction of your head. As you pull, step back with the right foot and group feet. He will fall on his side or back, as earlier described.

Against a Foot Grab

10.4.4 Defenses Against Foot Grabs

If your foot is held by opponent, you will be able to get it loose by pulling the leg sharply toward you, then thrusting it toward opponent. To be successful this action must be jerky and fast. If you do not succeed, pull leg again and drop on the hands facing floor. Retaliate with the free foot using a heel spear to the shin or to the lower abdomen, as you jerk away caught foot. Roll forward away from opponent and get up using forward momentum. Throw a heel spear to protect your rear as you get up. Pivot to face opponent.

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