Landing The Head Kick With Duane Ludwig
It's generally said in MMA, kickboxing and Muay Thai among other combat sports, that you should set up your punches with kicks. This is done for a few reasons. The first is that punching gets you into a safe range to land your kicks and it also helps to make sure that your opponent doesn’t cut you off with a strike of their own. Punches also get your opponent’s mind off of your legs and onto your hands, meaning that your opponent won't see your kick coming.
This works for kicks to all targets, whether it's to the legs, to the body or even to the head. This can be especially devastating as we all know that it’s the shot you don’t see coming that knocks you out. If your opponent doesn’t see your head kick coming and it lands, well then that's a pretty good way to try to get a knockout victory.
The problem is that mixing punches and kicks together can be hard for newer combat sports practitioners, especially when it comes to setting up and landing kicks to the head. Kicks to the head take the longest to land, meaning that your opponent has more time to defend against than a kick to the leg or to the body.
This is why the set up is important and you need to flow from technique to technique to make sure that you have the highest chance of landing that kick. In this case there is no one more qualified to talk about landing head kicks than Duane “Bang” Ludwig
In this video, coach Ludwig shows a combination that he likes to use to land a head kick.
Duane “Bang” Ludwig is a former UFC fighter and current MMA coach who is known for his eccentric style both in and outside of the ring. He actually held the record for fastest UFC knockout with a win in 6 seconds of a fight before that record was overtaken by Jorge Masvidal with the flying knee heard around the world. Duane Ludwig has worked with a ton of great fighters like Joseph Benavidez and former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw.
The combination in the video is very straight forward. It is a rear straight, from which you step forward with your rear leg and throw a lead leg high kick. First Duane has his fighter throw a kick from the opposite stance to develop that muscle memory. He then has his fighter throw the kick with the same leg but instead it's the front leg and not the rear. You need to master the technique first, before putting it in combo.
After mastering that technique, you can add the rear straight before it. Make sure that after you land the head kick that you get back into the stance you were in when you started to throw the technique. You want to take two steps back when coming back to your stance to help maintain the distance between you and your opponent.
Coach Ludwig recommends doing just this combo on its own for an entire 3 minute round.
If you like this tutorial and want to learn more from the mastermind Duane “Bang” Ludwig then check out his complete video series “The Basics Of Kickboxing By Duane Ludwig” Available exclusively on Dynamic Striking!