Catching Kicks To Set Up A Takedown With Henry Cejudo
Kicking is essential for strikers as it uses our legs which are the strongest and longest part of the human body. Because it is so effective, good kickers dominate the long-range where only kicks are viable, and damaging our opponents from afar keeps them from getting closer.
But is it so simple to use? What is the downside of kicking that we don’t hear about?
As we know by now, everything has a trade-off, and the kicks are no different. When we utilize kicks, we trade our balance for power; as we come up to stay on one leg, it leaves us off-balanced and easy to be swept or to be taken down if it’s MMA.
The simplest way to utilize the fact that our opponent is off-balance is to make sure he stays on one leg for more extended periods. To keep our opponent up on one leg, we need to catch his kick at the right moment and lead the action from a closer distance as he can’t run away.
It is essential to trust in your ability to catch kicks as this will allow you to stay calm and composed at the long-distance, so you don’t rush things up trying to close the distance and lose the fight. Having confidence in your defense is always important, but it is even more critical here as you keep your opponent’s kicks at bay because he is afraid to get countered.
The most noticeable problem practitioners face when they try to catch kicks is that they are getting hurt by them; they let the kick land flush on them before capturing it. Getting hit by the kick is the wrong way to catch kicks. When we capture kicks, we want to nullify their power and momentum by moving sideways with the direction of the kick, making it safe to catch.
In the following video, Henry Cejudo will show us how he counters caught kicks with a takedown.
Who Is Henry Cejudo?
Henry Cejudo is an American pro fighter and is one of the most decorated combat athletes in the world. As his nickname goes, “Triple C,” Henry has earned three major championships - Olympic Gold Medal in Wrestling, UFC Flyweight Title, and the UFC Bantamweight Title. Henry has retired from the sport as a double champ and has left a mark on MMA like no other.
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Countering The Kicks With Takedowns
In this video, Henry Cejudo will go over defending kicks with us. Henry’s philosophy with defending kicks is to avoid them usually, but he will catch a kick and set up a takedown with it if it lands on him and he can block it.
Henry also reminds us that in MMA, he doesn’t believe in checking kicks because if you can avoid a kick, why would you block it shin to shin? When we check a kick, it hurts us too, and it can slow our movement. The advice Henry gives us is to - “Master the distance, and avoid the kicks.”
Henry shares with us that one of the reasons he stopped using the karate stance and switched to an orthodox stance is that people utilized leg kicks against the wide stance that denied him his distance game. In the orthodox stance, it is much easier to avoid leg kicks and deal with them.
What Henry will show us now is a specific way a grappler can counter kicks coming at him inside MMA. So our partner will throw a high rear kick at us from a closed stance, and we will raise our lead hand high to block in a motion that resembles brushing the hair.
Once we block the kick, we use our rear hand as a hook to catch the kick as a scoop with a palm facing up. Notice that in MMA, we must cover our head fully with the forearm because the gloves are small and don’t offer as much protection so that kicks can find their way inside our guard.
After I caught his kick, the following step would be to pull him into a double leg or a single leg. Notice that we penetrate under him when we pull him in, which makes the shot much easier.
Notice Henry’s footwork when he penetrates the double; he doesn’t fall into his opponent; he uses steps to set up his double. After we drill the rear kick, we will switch sides to catch the lead kick and pull him into a shot from the other side.
Learn More From Henry Cejudo
Suppose you liked the technique Henry showed us. You would love to learn everything the Triple Champ has to offer you in his complete instructional - “5 Senses Of Striking - Henry Cejudo’s Striking System” available exclusively on Dynamic Striking.