IntroIn modern martial arts sparring, the goal of kicks is to outscore or knockout the opponent and win the match. However, this was not the goal of the original combat martial arts. These were developed as an empty hand way to incapacitate or kill an attacker. If your warrior spirit is only attuned to sparring, you may be defeated or even die in a life or death self-defense situation. A martial artist needs to be willing and able to use lethal kicks when a self-defense situation requires it. A lethal kick is not so much the type of kick that is used as it is the selection of the correct target and then using the best kick for that specific target.
Lethal targetsAny kick to the head, neck, or torso can be lethal.
HeadFor lethal kicks, the primary target is the head. The temple areas are the thinnest areas of the skull and will flex or break easier, thus transmitting the power of the kick to the brain. A roundhouse kick delivered with the ball of the foot is one of most effective kicks for temple strikes. Another vital head target is the base of the skull. An instep roundhouse kick to the base of the skull may incapacitate the opponent but a ball of the foot roundhouse kick may be lethal. A spin heel kick to the base of the skull or the temple may also be lethal. A kick target at the jaw hinge may easily subdue an opponent.
NeckThe neck is very strong since it supports a heavy (sometimes empty) skull. The side of the neck is strong, but a roundhouse, hook, or spin heel kick delivered there may cause dizziness or unconsciousness. Another effective but very difficult kick targeted to the side of the neck is a jump double side kick where one foot is targeted to the neck and the other is targeted to the chest. Another lethal and vulnerable target in the neck is the trachea. If it collapses, asphyxiation quickly results. A front thrust kick to the trachea with the ball of the foot may be lethal. The entire neck may be targeted with the difficult and dangerous jump twist scissor kick where attacker jumps, grips opponent around the neck in a leg scissor, and twists his or her body taking the opponent to the ground.
TorsoThe torso is well-protected, but some targets are vulnerable. The solar plexus is an ideal target for a front thrust kick with the ball of the foot. Any type of side kick to the chest may cause incapacitating injury or death. Back kicks are very powerful when performed correctly and can seriously injure your opponent's midsection. A hook kick to the kidneys is a dangerous strike and may result in serious internal bleeding.