Kicks are a common technique to weaken your opponent in Muay Thai and many other martial arts.
Although a kick to the calf does not sound very effective initially, when the fighter uses a good technique, then this type of martial arts kick can cause serious harm to the opponent.
That’s why, it’s important to practice kicks under the supervision of a trained instructor who can advise on the right technical aspects to ensure that you do not hurt yourself.
We find out how to calf kick in Muay Thai safely and responsibly.
What Is A Calf Kick?
A calf kick in Muay Thai is simply a powerful kick to the calf of the opponent. These strong kicks are used to injure or distract the opponent.
If a fighter calf kicks his opponent several times, then this can cause the opponent’s muscles to cramp and even tear.
A Muay Thai fighter typically uses his lower shin or the instep of the foot to strike a calf kick. In turn, the opponent can try to either block the kick through a cut kick or a shin block, or he can evade the calf kick.
Most martial artists will eventually take a few blows to the calf. In order to handle these kicks better, Muay Thai fighters usually strengthen their calf muscles with specific calf exercises.
How To Calf Kick
Calf kicks can be a very powerful weapon in the arsenal of a martial artist, such as a Muay Thai fighter.
As this kick aims at the calf where the sciatic nerve is located, a few specific kicks to this area can cause his opponent to limp.
Use The Right Part Of Your Leg To Strike
The foot is connected to the knee through two bones: the fibula and the tibia. When you strike your opponent with a calf kick, then you should use the tibia, which is the bigger of these two bones.
However, you will have to make sure that you use the right part of the tibia to ensure that you do not hurt yourself.
The tibia is a narrow bone with a front that is sharp and difficult to break. This is the part that you should be using for a calf kick to the softest part of your opponent’s leg.
Disguise Your Move With A Jab
A calf kick can be launched from the right or the left. If you want to do a right-side calf kick to your left’s opponent, then you will need to step to your ride side first.
This is typically disguised with a jab to distract your opponent from a possible attack.
Once you are in the right position to throw the calf kick to your opponent’s left side, you need to rotate on your left foot and then do the calf kick.
Deceive Your Opponent
When you start an attack, then it’s always a good idea to use the element of surprise. You can easily disguise your calf kick, and also use your eyes to deceive your opponent.
Look higher up if you plan to kick low, and look low if you want to kick higher up. This is particularly powerful when your opponent isn’t very experienced.
How To Defend Against A Calf Kick
There are a few options for defending yourself against a calf kick.
Evade The Kick
Compared to some other martial arts, most Muay Thai fighters shift all their weight onto the rear leg in order to avoid a calf kick. This allows them to be light on their lead leg which can be used flexibly as defense.
However, this position however makes a fighter’s hips very vulnerable to kicks and punches from his opponent.
As the hips are the gravitational center of a fighter, even a light kick can easily throw him off balance.
Counter The Kick
Although the majority of times, a calf kick is evaded, some Muay Thai fighters choose to counter their opponent.
For this, you will need to be fully aware of your opponent’s strategy, and be prepared for this type of attack at any time.
The most commonly used counter against a low kick, such as the calf kick, is a cross. With a precise and well-timed cross to your opponent’s chin, you avoid most of the force from the kick.
It’s important that you also use a deception technique to make sure that your opponent does not expect the counter.
Important Safety Tips When Using A Calf Kick
If you do not apply the right technique with a calf kick, then you can easily break your leg or cause other injuries.
Use The Momentum
In Muay Thai, strategy is an essential part of the sports, and using the momentum in your favor can go a long way to preventing any type of injury.
When you throw a high-speed, precise calf kick, then the risk of getting injured is very low.
Be Fully Present
When you are fighting, then you simply need to be fully present in the fight to make sure that nobody gets seriously hurt.
Always Use Full-Energy Calf Kicks
Kicks should never be executed at just half the power because if your opponents then counters with the blade of their tibia, you might risk a broken leg.
Hit The Right Spot
Throwing a kick isn’t just randomly hitting your opponent but it’s essential that you hit your opponent in the right place, with the right part of your tibia.
For example, if a fighter throws a sloppy calf kick at the knee of his opponent (which is extremely hard), then he will risk a broken leg and serious long-term injuries.
When you are working on your calf kicks, it’s essential that you use the right technique to make sure that you do not hurt yourself or your opponent.
It’s important to keep in mind that a calf kick is very powerful, and you can cause serious damage. Make sure that you always practice with an experienced instructor.