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How to Use Quick Knee Kicks & Other Knee Strikes for Defense

When you use a knee strike or stomp, you get a low-risk, high-reward option for self-defense. With a head kick, the potential high reward is counterbalanced by the real risk of you missing and the attacker staging a takedown.

But even if you miss with a knee strike, the risks are minimal.

Because of how effective knee strikes are, the UFC has even talked about banning them. With this type of kick, you can do a lot of damage as you are essentially attacking the knee joint. Whether you are in a fight or need a new self-defense tool for your arsenal, this type of striking is a great choice.

How to Use Knee Kicks and Knee Strikes for Self-Defense

The basic principle behind using knee strikes is to take your longest tool and hit your closest target. This gives you a great deal of power, which can be devastating for your opponent. You can use knee strikes for self-defense as well as offense.

The Basics: How Knee Strikes Work

There are more than eight different variations of the knee strike. These include attacks that quickly close the gap as well as knees you can use in the clinch. The general idea is to thrust your knee cap into your attacker’s head, body, or leg.

Knee strikes are strong and work well in self-defense and professional fighting.

The knee is naturally designed to become harder as you bend it, which is why you want the heel of your foot all the way back to your leg. This forces your knee to bend as much as possible, so it is harder when it hits your opponent. If you are doing this correctly, your foot should be pointing to the ground.

  • Get in a fighting stance: To do a knee strike, you don’t want to be standing in a neutral stance. While you should be placing pressure forward, you don’t want to be leaning too close to your opponent.
  • Use your hips to achieve height: Before the strike happens, you need your hips to move in a forward motion to help you get more height as you impact your opponent.
  • Your arms can build power: Now, stretch your arms in the same direction as the knee you are kicking with, so your knee kick can achieve more power.
  • Direct your kick inwards: Now, you are ready to raise and plant your knees. Remember to direct your knee inwards as well as upwards or to the side, so your kick can achieve the desired effect.

Defend Yourself With a Knee Stomp

The knee stomp is one of the best knee strikes for self-defense. If you are under attack, the knee stomp is a quick way to attack your opponent and get them to back off. Most self-defense instructors teach a knee strike exercise like this one because it is one of the most highly targeted areas of the body.

To carry out this technique, use the following steps:

  • Begin with your feet placed shoulder-width apart.
  • Pivot on the ball of your foot, so your front heel is pointing toward the ball of the rear foot.
  • Next, lift up your lead knee. Your toes should point to the sky as you turn the side of your body toward your attacker.
  • Using the blade of your foot, you should strike the middle of your opponent’s kneecap.
  • You need to push into their leg as you kick to achieve a stronger effect.

If you want to maximize the effectiveness of this move, try throwing a fake punch beforehand to distract your opponent and get them to lean their upper body back. There are ligaments on both sides of the knee cap, so hitting the ligaments on either side can have a major impact on the attacker.

The Horizontal Knee Strike

While high knee kicks might be flashier, the horizontal knee strike is a great way to defend yourself in a fight.  You throw the horizontal knee kick after lifting your leg up and making it parallel to the ground. Then, you thrust the knee forward and into the attacker’s midsection.

Throwing a knee strike in an MMA fight.

This technique is useful in self-defense situations for keeping an opponent away. By using knee kicks like this, you keep the opponent out of range and make it impossible for them to land significant strikes in close combat.

The Flying Knee Strike

While this technique is challenging to learn, it can be extraordinarily effective if you are able to do it with proper form. The main idea is to make an explosive leap into the air as you switch your feet. Then, you land your knee strike in an upward motion with all of the force of your leap behind the attack.

Knee Strikes Against the Leg

The peroneal nerve runs along the backside of your leg just above where your knee is. By using a knee strike against this location, you can temporarily disable the peroneal nerve and your opponent.

To do this, you’ll have to flair your leg toward the side as you kick your attacker’s leg. Your goal is to kick your heel into the spot behind and above the knee. When you do this correctly, it leads to temporary loss of leg control and even numbness.

Defending Yourself Against Knee Kicks

Because knee strikes are so effective, you should spend some time learning how to defend against leg kicks and knee kicks. Otherwise, your fight could be over before it has properly begun.

To defend against a knee kick, your main goal is to raise your lead leg and use it to block the incoming kick. When your leg is off the ground, an enemy’s attack will be less effective.

You can also extend your arm out, so you can stiff-arm the attacker’s chest. This should push them away from you and keep them from landing their knee strike.

Obviously, you can’t be harmed by knee kicks if you are out of range. Because of this, one of the most effective defenses against a knee kick is to circle away from your opponent’s knee strike by using proper footwork. For knee and leg kicks, anticipating and sidestepping an attack is an incredibly effective way to defend yourself.

Knee Strikes Are Perfect for Self-Defense

You can use knee strikes for self-defense and as a part of your offense strategy. If you want to learn a knee strike, NY Martial Arts Academy can help you get started.

Call any of our four locations or reach out to us online for more info!

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