Low kick

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Low kick
Low kick.jpg
A fighter kicking with his shin.

A low kick (also known as a leg kick) 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, under different names, is utilized in numerous full-contact martial arts such as karate, taekwondo, kūdō, kickboxing, lethwei, Muay Thai, and Krav Maga.


Low kicks are utilized to damage the opponents legs, which causes the loss of dexterity, stability, and mobility. Being struck repeatedly by low kicks 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]

Low kicks are prohibited under American kickboxing full contact rules.[citation needed]

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

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