Defensive Strategies To Defeat Kicks From Jean-Charles Skarbowsky!
Being a well rounded fighter means being comfortable in all ranges. The kicking range is the first range you must enter to attack your opponent so being able to block their kicks as well as having the ability to release your leg when it is caught are all extremely valuable skills.
Here, Muay Thai legend, Jean-Charles Skarbowsky (three time European Muay Thai Champion with a record of 75 wins) shows how he likes to block kicks when they are thrown at his head as well as a technique you can use when the opponent catches your body kick!
The first technique Coach Jean-Charles Skarbowsky shows is a defense to a kick thrown at your head. Very simply, Coach Skarbowsky shows to just lift your arm up a little higher to block the kick. This may seem like a simple solution but there are some key details that will make this an effective defense. The first is that your guard should already be high, Coach Skarbowsky shows that if your hands are held down low they will not make it up to your head in time to block a fast kicker. The next detail is that your arm must be strong and flexed.
If you raise your arm up like a limp wet noodle it will be kicked through it like a limp wet noodle. The final detail is to look at the part of Jean-Charles’ arm that is blocking the kick. He is not using his hand or wrist, not even his upper forearm, but the lower forearm closest to his elbow. This will be the strongest, most secure part of his arm to block with, in Muay Thai if you block a kick and get pushed off balance the opponent will still score, so it is important to always be balanced and strong when defending and attacking.
The final piece of info that Coach Skarbowsky gives is that you can brace your first blocking arm by reaching over with your secondary hand to held absorb some of the kicks impact, so instead of relying only on one arm to take the force of the kick you can dissipate the energy over two blocking surfaces (same side forearm and cross side palm). This is an important detail when blocking kicks against someone who throws kicks very hard, but it does leave one side of your head open so be ready to counter immediately after blocking!
Now that we know how to block the opponent’s kicks, we will eventually have to throw our own attacks. A common defense to the body kick is to catch it. If your kick gets caught Coach Jean-Charles Skarbowsky has this slippery defense to free your leg from the opponent's grasp!
Coach Jean-Charles Skarbowsky shows that to escape his leg when caught by the opponent, he simply points his knee to the ground and slides it out like an eel. By pointing his knee to the ground, Coach Skarbowsky’s heel is not caught on the opponent’s forearm anymore and can slide out safely. It is important that when doing this leg release you do not turn your back to the opponent, if you turn your back you cannot see them, meaning it will be much harder to defend yourself if they strike you or if it is MMA they can grab you and take you down easily.
To remedy this problem, Coach Skarbowsky shows to keep your kicking side hand on the opponent's neck to keep space as well as to keep a tab on where they are, in case they let go of the leg to do something else, you will always know where the opponent is at!