Martial arts is popular all over the world, with lots of prestigious competitions and millions of fans.
Part of that popularity is because of the sheer variation within the sports, with lots of different types of punches and kicks, which are all used in interesting combinations in order to best an opponent in the most effective way.
Speaking of kicks, these are essential to the sport. But which does it mean to check a kick? And how do you do it?
Well, we’ve got the answers for you. In our guide below, you’ll find out all about what it means to check a kick, as well as a detailed breakdown on how to check a kick yourself. Read on!
What Does It Mean To Check A Kick?
Checking a kick is actually not a form of kicking attack, rather a form of defending yourself. Put simply, a “check” is when you use your leg to block an opponent’s kick.
The way that this differs from other lines of defense, such as the block or the parry, is that it has the potential to hurt your opponent right back. In a way, it’s an offensive defense.
For an effective and damaging check, you want to use the strongest part of your shin bone (which is usually the upper part) against the weakest part of the kicker’s bone (which is usually the bottom of their instep or tibia).
Though you will get hurt from it, it won’t do nearly as damage to you as it does to the opponent.
Reasons To Check A Kick
Leg kicks are always targeted by your opponent towards either your thigh or calf, because damaging them repeatedly will put you out of action, and give them the win.
The calf, especially, has little muscle padding to protect it from damage. Even if you’re adept at putting up with pain, regular leg kicks will damage you unavoidably, because they damage the nerves and shut down your control of that area.
This is why it’s a good idea to check the incoming kicks, protecting your muscles from getting damaged and instead dealing pain to your opponent. Ideally, you should defend yourself by simply evading away.
However, you won’t always have the space or time to do this, and so a kick check is a good alternative. In order to deliver a devastating check, follow this guide carefully.
How To Check A Kick
As we’ve mentioned, the opponent’s kicking target will either be your calf or your thigh. As a result, there are different ways to check those kicks, depending on their target.
Calf kicks can be delivered from further away than a thigh kick, so don’t assume that you’re safe if you’ve kept your distance.
Really, what it comes down to is you trying to take their kick on the hardest parts of your bone, in order to inflict damage to them and protect you.
Checking A Calf Kick
There are two ways you check a kick that’s coming for your calf.
The first of these is the karate technique, which unsurprisingly has come from that style of fighting.
To begin with, you want to avoid putting your weight onto your front foot, instead keeping your center of gravity focused on the center of your body.
Once you’ve got that correct distribution, lift your leg a little bit from the hip. After that, move the lower part of the leg down to the inside of the foot pointing inward.
With this, you will successfully block your calf, and instead cause their kick to collide with hard bone.
Foot Anchor Technique
The other technique is the foot anchor one. Again, you want to keep your center of mass in the center, but with a little more weight transferred to your back foot now.
However, you only want to lift your leg just a little bit, or not at all. With that slight lift, turn your shin towards the incoming kick, going by a 45 degree angle. Keep your feet to the ground, keeping your balance, and you should check their kick.
Checking A Low Thigh Kick
If the kick is coming for your thigh, there is a different way to perform an effective check of it.
This kind of check can also be used to defend yourself from inside low kicks, as well as body kicks. For the inside low kicks, just follow the following instructions but turn your leg 45 degrees to the inside.
First off, you need to make sure you’re in a balanced stance. Your center of mass needs to keep in the center, though with more weight transferred to your back foot.
Once you’ve got that right, lift your leg up, keeping the shin perpendicular (90 degrees) to the floor. Next, twist your hip and angle the lifted leg’s knee to a 45 degree direction.
By twisting your hip, the force of the kick will go to your hips instead of exclusively your legs. Otherwise, the opponent would be able to strike the muscles outside the leg, causing you to wobble.
While that knee is angled, make sure that your foot is being flexed. You do this because it will make the shin muscles become contracted, offering extra padding to the bone itself.
This should be ready to absorb the opponent’s kick now and harm them. However, make sure to keep your hands up and guarding yourself, in case the opponent swaps at the last moment and aims their kick towards your body instead.
A check obviously won’t work there.
If you see your opponent going for a leg kick, whether it’s to your thigh or your calf, be sure to use the appropriate check in return – you’ll be protected, and they’ll be injured.
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