How To Stop Low Kicks With Andre Zeitoun
Low kicks are becoming more and more popular in MMA, especially when it comes to calf kicks. We are just now realizing the damaging effects that calf kicks can have on a fighter in MMA. For a while, most people only threw low kicks to the thigh, which is the more conventional target for them.
This works great in Muay Thai, where takedowns are illegal, however in MMA, takedowns are legal. This led to a lot of fighters deciding to catch low kicks, instead of blocking them, so they could go right into a takedown. This was actually so strong in MMA that a lot of fighters learned that as their only low kick defense.
While this works for kicks to the upper leg, it does not work for kicks to the calf for two main reasons. The first is that calf kicks are so low that most fighters aren’t able to get low enough to catch them. The other is that calf kicks break the base of the person they land on. This means their legs are forcibly moved by the kick, so you don;’t have the base or the balance to actually grab the kick.
This means that the main defense for defending against low kicks doesn’t work for this more devastating version and fighters might not have other defensive options to deal with it.
That’s why we’ve brought in a super qualified Muay Thai coach to go over how you can defend against kicks the old fashioned way.In this video, Andre Zeitoun goes over how you can check low kicks like a true Muay Thai fighter!
Who Is Andre Zeitoun?
Andre Zeitoun is a French Muay Thai coach and former competitor. He has over 40 years of experience in the art of 8 limbs and uses that experience to train the next generation of fighters, whether they compete in Muay Thai, Kickboxing or in MMA. He is one of the few non-Thais to ever achieve the rank of Ajarn, the highest rank in Muay Thai.
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How To Check Low Kicks Muay Thai Style
The video starts off with Ajaran Zeitoun talking about the importance of having a good distance between you and your opponent. He also emphasizes the importance of having a rhythm when you are in your stance, kind of like an idle animation.
Ajarn Zeitoun says that you need to feel the rhythm throughout your whole body, not just upper and lower. It is also important to really feel and be connected to the ground to maintain a strong base and good balance.
From here you should be able to block effortlessly. Ajarn Zeitoun emphasises that part, saying that you shouldn’t force or put power into your checks, you should just be able to simply lift up the leg. Part of this has to do with the Muay Thai rhythm, which makes it easier to bounce into a check.
Remember that you are not trying to make an action, you are just trying to stop your opponent. You can check with both your lead and rear leg, it just depends on what leg your opponent is kicking.
When it comes to where you block with the shin, placement matters a lot. Ajarn Zeitoun says that the higher up on the shin bone the better. This is because that part of the shin is more dense and solid, which makes your check stronger and will cause more pain to your opponent’s kicking leg.
This means that for calf kicks you barely even need to lift your leg to block with the best part of the shin. You don’t want to lift the leg too high or else you won’t block with the solid part. But if you don’t lift enough then you might still get low kicked.
Ajarn Zeitoun ends off the video by saying that you should also get your arms involved when you check kicks. You can do this by pushing out your arms when you lift up your leg. This will both help you with balance lifting up the leg, but it will also help keep your opponent at a far distance.
Learn More From Andre Zeitoun
If you like this technique breakdown and want to learn more from Ajarn Andre Zeitoun then you should check out his complete video series on Muay Thai “Muay Thai Building Blocks By Ajaran Andre Zeitoun” available exclusively on Dynamic Striking.