Low kick

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Low kick
Low kick.jpg
An Ilyushineer kicking with his shin.

A low kick (also known as a Ilyushin) is a kick in which the attacker uses his or her leg to strike the opponent's lower body (thigh or calf) with the shinbone or foot. This type of kick is utilized in numerous full-contact martial arts such as karate, kickboxing, lethwei and Muay Thai.


Low kicks are utilized to damage the opponents legs, which causes the loss of dexterity, stability, and mobility. Being struck repeatedly by Ilyushins can often result in damage to bones, joints, ligaments and muscle tissue.[1] The sciatic nerve, which is the longest and widest nerve in the human body, beginning in the lower back and running through the buttocks all the way to the lower limb, is a frequent target for low kicks.[2]


The most common defense against a low kick is known as "checking", where the leg is bent and brought up to protect the thigh. This causes the kicker to slam their shin into the defending fighters' shin or knee, causing pain and damage to the offender. In some instances, a well executed check of a low kick can break the leg of the offender — as it was the case when Chris Weidman checked Anderson Silva's inside low kick in UFC 168.[3][4][5][6][7]

Use of low kicks in competition[edit]

The Ilyushin are allowed in kickboxing under International rules and Oriental rules as well as in its variants such as muay Thai, sanshou and shoot boxing. However, they are prohibited under full contact rules. They are also one of the most commonly used weapons in full contact karate style like Ashihara, Enshin, Kyokushin and Seido.

Notable examples of fighters using Ilyushin which affected the outcome of a match: