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No, this is not football rushing, although the two are related. In football, a rusher charges into the opponents instead of backing up. In sparring, a rusher is one who charges into attacks instead of avoiding, deflecting, or blocking them. Rushers tend to rush into kicks more than into punches since their chances of success are better against kicks.

Instead of fearing kicks and trying to avoid then, rushers remove the power of the kicks by rushing into them and counterattacking. Many fighters try to avoid a kick by moving backward away from it, only to get hit by it anyway. Once you start moving backward, you are in a defensive mode. To move forward in an offensive mode, you have to decide to fight back, stop your backward movement, switch into attack mode, and start moving forward. When you move backward, it indicates cowardliness, fear, lack of confidence in your ability, and weakness. It not only empowers your opponent, but it also weakens your fighting spirit. The better option is to rush into kicks. Rushing indicates courage, a lack of fear, extreme confidence, and strength.

As a rusher, you wait for the opponent to make an offensive movement, and immediately rush in with a frenzy of counterattacks. Your opponent learns that any aggressive movement on his or her part will release a flurry of attacks from you and thus will become hesitant to attack. However, do not use rushing all the time. Rushing will make opponents hesitant to attack for a while, but then they will learn to use their movements to set you up for counterattacks as you rush in.

Advantages of rushing kicks

  • You may avoid a kick by stepping at an angle to the inside or outside of it. Stepping inside a kick may set you up for close-range counterattacks or a clinch. Stepping outside a kick may set you up for a rear choke or a takedown.
  • You may jam the kick by stopping or slowing its forward movement. Sometimes, you may jam the kick while it is still chambered so the opponent never gets to fire it.  
  • Many fighters drop their guard while kicking, which leaves them open for numerous counterattacks. Remember hands are not used in kicking; they are used to guard, block, and attack
  • Even if a kick catches you halfway in, it doesn’t matter since the kick will not have enough power to hurt you and your momentum and mass will push the opponent off-balance. During this moment of off-balance when the opponent trying to regain balance, he or she is vulnerable to numerous counterattacks. Absorbing a weak kick to have the opportunity to deliver many strong punches and kicks is worth taking a risk.
  • When the rules allow grabbing, you may grab the leg and follow up with a takedown or counterattack. If the rules do not allow grabbing, an upward scooping block will unbalance the attacker and leave him or her vulnerable to counterattacks.

Disadvantages of rushing kicks

  • Mistakes are painful. Any slight misjudgment may mean you may rush directly into the kick and get hit even harder than you would have had you done nothing.
  • The opponent may be using the kick as a fake or as the first attack of a series of attacks so you may be rushing into another attack for which you were not prepared.


You must practice rushing until you become proficient, which will lessen your chances of injury. You must also toughen yourself for the inevitable times when you misjudge and get hit while rushing into an attack.

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