Anderson Silva, Cung Le, Bruce Lee, and the side kick

Discussion in 'MMA, Boxing & Other Combat Sports' started by Makabreli, Oct 27, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2003
    Messages:
    3,221
    UFC Macau Judo Chop: Anderson Silva, Cung Le, Bruce Lee and the Side Kick - Bloody Elbow

    The side kick is a thrust kick which in the 1970s and 80s, at the height of traditional martial arts popularity, was considered to be the most dangerous and effective kick of all. Bruce Lee famously could generate a force seemingly disproportionate to his 130lbs bodyweight with this kick. In fact by leaping into this kick with a back foot behind front foot run up, it's possible to generate huge amounts of force. Unfortunately the power side kick with a skip up is both telegraphed and wildly inaccurate. For the readers unfamiliar with the kick which has featured in almost every martial arts film ever made, here's Bruce Lee demonstrating it.

    [youtube]DtnSwm6ajsk[/youtube]

    The side kick to the abdomen remains a very hard kick to land - and a very easy kick to parry. By parrying the opponent's leg from the heel side as he kicks, it is possible to force him to land across himself and expose his back at close range. Even missing or glancing off of the opponent's torso with this kick means giving up your back. Consequently the side kick to the midsection has not been very popular in mixed martial arts, where giving the back generally means giving up a bad position or getting slammed on ones head.

    What has become an absolute game changer in MMA in the last two years, however, is the lead leg side kick to the front of the knee. This technique has been used by Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and others to keep the opponent at range and out point them with ease. Anyone who picked up the old Bruce Lee Method books which were published in the late 1970s will remember that the side kick to the knee featured in almost every self defense scenario Lee presented. Such was his faith in the technique - and it's ability to stifle fighters as diverse as Demian Maia, Vitor Belfort and Quinton Jackson in recent years can certainly attest to that.

    [​IMG]

    There is a somewhat popular view that kicks to the front of the knee are a sort of cheap shot - especially with how many athletic careers are effectively ended by knee injuries - but in truth few fighters are foolish enough to keep placing all their weight on their lead leg if the opponent is kicking it. That is the purpose of this kick - to get the opponent hesitant to plant his weight and throw hard shots or shoot a takedown - not to reverse his knee joint and cripple him for life. The occasional fighter will not know what to do and simply keep getting kicked until he is injured - such as Quinton Jackson against Jon Jones - but most will reassess their attack or at least have a corner intelligent enough to make them.

    [​IMG]

    The side kick to the knee is a wonderful technique for both strikers and grapplers - above we have it being used in two contexts. On the left is Jon Jones, a wrestler with decent stand up defense against scary boxer / brawler Vitor Belfort. Jones used the side kick to the knee to keep Belfort out at range and any time Belfort backed onto the fence Jones would step in with a few punches before breaking off and side kicking again or clinching. On the right we have Anderson Silva, a striker against Jiu Jitsu ace Demian Maia - Silva used the side kick to keep Maia at bay, stay ahead on the cards and hurt Maia without the risk of Maia catching the kick.

    [​IMG]

    As the combatants' lead legs are the closest point in any engagement at range, the side kick to the knee is the strike which maintains the most distance between the two fighters. Consequently if the kick glances off of the target - as side kicks often do - there is suitable distance to run and turn back to face the opponent without him grabbing a body lock from the back. Above Anderson Silva's kick glances off of Maia's leg but he is far enough away to simply retract his right foot, bring it to the mat, push off of it and turn to face Maia without giving his back to the Jiu Jitsu ace.

    Side kicks to the body are a dangerous strike to attempt but two fighters who have found ways to alleviate the dangers are Jon Jones and Cung Le. That being said, Jon Jones doesn't so much act to alleviate the dangers of throwing a side kick to the body, it is more that as a tall, lengthy wrestler he is firstly not too concerned about conceding a bodylock on his back, and secondly the length of his legs means that even glancing kicks will keep the opponent at distance enough to prevent them immediately grabbing on to him.

    [​IMG]

    Notice that Jones connects on the end of his kick - the most powerful portion - and is left with his back on display to Belfort - but Belfort has been clipped on the end of Jones' kick and simply can't get to Jones in time. Just as he did against Kazushi Sakuraba and Alistair Overeem when hit hard, Vitor chose to drop to guard rather than run after Jones with little hope of tying up.

    Someone who has truly made a home for the side kick to the body in MMA is Cung Le. Firstly he rarely telegraphs his step up to kick, instead hopping in as he is kicking - making it harder to see coming. Secondly, and most importantly, Le uses missed kicks to land unorthodox attacks. Le's hands are pretty mediocre from a boxing stand point - everyone knows this and even Le himself comments often on how he is always attempting to improve his boxing - but his spinning backfists off of missed kicks are simply genius.

    [​IMG]

    Notice above how Cung Le attempts a side kick on Wanderlei Silva - who parries it as he has obviously been training to do - then as Le's back is exposed, Le spins and connects a hard left hammer fist on Silva's jawline. This sent Wanderlei stumbling and made all of us who worry for the Axe Murderer's declining chin sweat. As it turned out, Cung Le was in horrible shape for his match with Silva and ended up gassing by the second round and getting stopped by Silva's legendary knees, but this technique is still genius. If you fancy seeing it applied in a slightly different way, check out the hook kick he used to spin into the backfist against Frank Shamrock in Strikeforce.

    The side kick is the latest classical technique to find success in Mixed Martial Arts and it is moments like these which really make the sport so interesting for me. There will be an established way of thinking for a few years, or even months, and then someone will introduce a classical technique and start using it to win fights and everyone will rethink their view. It happened with Sakuraba's low single and spinning back kick, and it is happening now with the traditional martial arts' front snap kick and side thrust kick. I think we can certainly agree that even four or five years ago we certainly didn't think we'd see side kicks from Bruce Lee's self defense books published in the 1970s completely dictating the course of fights in 2011 and 2012.

    Learn the techniques and strategies of effective striking in Jack Slack's BRAND NEW ebook: Elementary Striking.
    test
  2. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2003
    Messages:
    3,221
    I need to start developing this more.

    [​IMG]
    test
  3. UnbrokeN

    UnbrokeN Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Messages:
    22,568
    none of these talentless quaks do even deserve to be mentioned in the same sentance as Bruise...
    test
  4. LungZzZ

    LungZzZ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2012
    Messages:
    3,219
    yo broken, I'm drinking tonight too, but chill, Anderson was mentioned :)


    ;)
    test
  5. LungZzZ

    LungZzZ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2012
    Messages:
    3,219
    I'm with you there as well.
    Never even thought of throwing one until MMA.

    I'm justscared about breaking my arm without using the proper technique.
    I COULDA sworn I heard that while watching a fight, that it is possible
    and easy to break your arm/forearm if thrown wrong,
    and that always freaked me out from even casually trying it on a Bass machine/punching bag.
    test
  6. DethStryque

    DethStryque DethStryque theInvincible

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2,073
    The assertions about the sidekick being easy to parry and whatnot are false. The fact of the matter is that most MMA guys have subpar striking prowess and even more subpar striking defense.

    The big stepping sidekicks that you see Bruce using were for movies and power practice, but even 50 years ago when he was using these kicks? Bruce and every TMA kicker worth their salt knew better to make some of the fallacious assumptions made in this article.

    Pontificate about how the sidekick doesn't land with high degrees of accuracy and explosive power to the nearest TKD Olympian. Then throw on the hogu and trade kicks with him/her. When you wake back up, you will realize two things:

    1. Never trade kicks with an Olympian. Those flurries of kicks on film are many times faster than they appear on film. You don't have areal appreciation of the tremendous skill speed and power differential until the kick is fired at you. I've sparred with and stay sparring with Olympic TKD'ists, as I'm a TKD'ist myself [ among other arts ]. After initially getting my butt kicked to and fro, I adjusted and now can hang with most of them. It's like Floyd Mayweather says..."It looks one way when you're watchin but it's different when you're in the ring."

    2. Olympians are way above the norm, and the sidekick [ SK ] regularly knocks even them out. Despite their protective gear.

    3. Those of us who are actual martial artists instead of casual fans saw this coming decades ago.

    Now. You heard it here first. 13 years ago, I predicted the rise of the Crescent Kick in MMA. 15 years ago I predicted the rise of TKD kicks in MMA. Now...

    ...I predict that Olympic TKD guys who can't crack the Top 50 in TKD will turn to MMA with a vengeance. They'll study Olympic boxing and Olympic wrestling. And run roughshod over many current MMA guys. Same with Olympic wrestlers and judoka.
    test
  7. DethStryque

    DethStryque DethStryque theInvincible

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2,073
    Develope the sidekick, the inside out and outside in crescent kick, the angular axe kicks, heel hook kicks, spin kicks, the JUMPING LINEAR back kick, and double and triple with the lead and rear legs. You'll STORM people who aren't used to such things.

    My uncle and father have film of me TKO'ing and KO'ing people with all of these kicks. I'm gonna try to find some and post em up here...
    test
  8. Makabreli

    Makabreli done

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2003
    Messages:
    3,221
    please do.

    started taking tkd this summer.
    test
  9. Sir Bustalot

    Sir Bustalot I am Jesus

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2002
    Messages:
    55,612
    although you cant say for sure if bruce was using his wing chun, but it is his what he formerly trained in before coming to the US and wing chun taught him the inch punch. Its not magic, and anyone can do it with training. Wing chun is all about power in short distances....hence the inch punch.

    anyways i love the side kick, definately my favorite. In my lineage of wing chun we generally dont kick over the waist and the kicks are short distances with lots of power, and this kick here that bruce is performing to the knee is common. Also our lineage of wing chun's side kick is much different than when i trained tae kwon do and karate. I like both for different reasons, ill tell ya one thing though, the wing chun front kick is my favorite over a traditional one.....although im better at tae kwon do kicks than wing chun kicks because we hardly expect to use them



    i can be in range to punch without reaching and kick to the face with the ball of my foot with our wing chun front kick.... so we could be trading blows then BAM heel to the underside of the chin

    im like dahlsim.
    test
  10. DethStryque

    DethStryque DethStryque theInvincible

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2,073
    Oh yeah? Good. What sparked your interest in specifically TKD?


    I remember reading that Bruce developed the 1 inch punch from old boxing manuals...but man. Firing a heel kick or front ball kick to the chin meat from punch range is HILARIOUSLY beneficial. Man. They neeever see that joint coming. I do that myself, but haven't done it as frequently as I'd like to.
    test
  11. Jest Chillin

    Jest Chillin New Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    Messages:
    923
    Definitely agree with Deth in that the article is a bit misleading as most techniques that aren't used in MMA are simply because most MMA fighters can't execute them correctly.

    The Front Snap Kick is a perfect example. When you're a trainer and you're teaching a Wrestler to strike, the Front Snap Kick is bad because (A)they don't have the dexterity and body type to fire it off quickly and (B) if you don't land with the ball of your foot, you're probably going to break one of your own bones. Risk v. Reward is bad, so they don't train it.

    That said, I don't think ALL kicks will become widely used simply because with kicks like Crescent Kicks, it's hard to generate sufficient power without years of training. Seeing guys like Machida and Cung Le having success with techniques that aren't straight Muay Thai or Kickboxing should hopefully be a wakeup call because there are a lot of techniques out there in the more traditional martial arts that, if trained properly could become very powerful weapons with which to round out a fighters arsenal.

    With the current state of MMA though I think fighters who do use unfamiliar techniques will be few and far between simply because it's easier to focus on strength for wrestling, basic boxing and basic kicks. It's faster to train, more forgiving of mistakes, and with judging the way it is.. a relatively easy way to point win fights. Strike to grapple, get the takedown, maintain "dominant" position, walk away with the decision.

    Perhaps with a revamp in the Judging system (and banning Cecil Peoples from the sport for life) we'll see a large change but for now.. it is what it is.
    test
  12. Sir Bustalot

    Sir Bustalot I am Jesus

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2002
    Messages:
    55,612
    totally agree on the crescent kicks lol

    plus kicks suck because when youre on one leg you also lose half your stability. Regardless of your balance prowess two legs are better balance than 1. In my kung fu we this is why we hardly kick. We train 1 leg balance like crazy but we hardly train kicks.

    he may have developed it there maybe, but i garauntee he was taught the principle in wing chun. Its part of the curriculum. Short distance striking power is within the system, its not even a move, in most lineages all moves are based on the short distance principle and you learn the power from practice.
    test
  13. UnbrokeN

    UnbrokeN Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Messages:
    22,568
    id love to have seen bruce fight mma in and around hsi weight class.im sure once he adapted some to the cage or ring environement, he d be unstoppable
    test
  14. DethStryque

    DethStryque DethStryque theInvincible

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2,073
    I respect your position there, and Bustalot's and everybody else's...but I have to point out that the Crescent Kick has been used by Anderson Silva, Jon Jones and Machida with serious success. The other MMA heads don't use it because they don't know how to train it functionally and they don't have the experience with it to really respect and employ it.

    Which gives guys like me...who've looong employed range transcending training inclusive of wrestling judo kali firearms and simply training the crap out of TMA's in this way...a huge advantage over most MMA guys. MMA is literally the sportive version of functional TMA; with maybe 1/20th the arsenal of TMA. However, MMA puts maximum emphasis on functionality which is the Holy Grail of training for ANYTHING; mental or physical. In America, TMA has floated too far away from the absolute mandate for functionality FIRST, everything else next.
    test
  15. J Keeper

    J Keeper Super Jesus

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2010
    Messages:
    14,113
    I've literally never seen a successful crescent kick thrown in MMA, nor one by either of the three you mentioned.

    But yea, side kicks are awesome. I was never really able to generate power with them and used it more as a teep kick, but my brother could unquestionable break bones with his.
    test
  16. Envy

    Envy Song Writer / Artist.

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 1999
    Messages:
    54,712
    Well, i'm sold ... how much?
    test
  17. DethStryque

    DethStryque DethStryque theInvincible

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2,073
    The lead leg kick that Anderson first threw at Rich Franklin their rematch, kicked Hendo in the neck with and KO'd Vitor with is a lead leg crescent front kick. Been throwing it for years. Very well known in TKD and the street version of capoeira [ which has this kick documented since it was used vs a slew of slavers to knock them overboard into shark infested waters in the middle 1500's ]. The kick that Lyoto KO'd Couture with is known as the Crane Crescent...it uses the "pendulum step" from off of a feint. Jon Jones kicked Rampage in the face with it--the Crescent teep, a cmbo of the crescent kick and Muay Thai teep aka push kick--and threw that same kick several times at several opponents.
    test
  18. DethStryque

    DethStryque DethStryque theInvincible

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2,073
    Lol. How long have you been interested in martial arts?
    test
  19. Envy

    Envy Song Writer / Artist.

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 1999
    Messages:
    54,712
    A fair while, i've been boxing off/on for the last 8 years. lol.
    test
  20. Jest Chillin

    Jest Chillin New Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    Messages:
    923
    The kick Anderson threw at Vitor was a Front Snap Kick. 1:40


    The kick Lyoto threw is sometimes referred to as a Crane Kick but I learned it as a Jumping Switch Kick.


    This is what I've always known as a Crescent kick and there's Inside and Outside variations.


    Crescent kicks have an Inside to Outside or an Outside to Inside lateral rotation as I know them.
    test
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Users Viewing Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 0)