Get a KICK Out of Your Fight Scenes

We already reviewed how you can use fighting terminology to make your action scenes more interesting in the Add PUNCH to your Action Scenes post.  More specific words add power to your pages.  This week we’ll focus on kicking.

Kicks are stronger than punches because leg muscles are larger than those in the upper body.  In the Fight Like A Girl self-defense seminar, we teach women to use kicks, which engage the strongest part of her body, her legs, against her attacker’s weakest targets, which fall in a straight line from his nose to his groin.

Other styles of martial arts may have additional, less common kicks, but these are the basic kicks in kenpo karate.

Front snap kick – a quick kick that utilized the snapping of the knee joint for power. The toes are curled back and the ball of the foot is used as the weapon. Knees, groin and stomach are common targets.

Front thrust kick – a stronger kick using a forward thrust from the hip to add power. The weapon can be the ball of the foot, the entire sole of the foot or the heel, depending on position.

Roundhouse –  a turning kick with the rear leg. The fighter turns 180 degrees, using the top of her foot or shin bone as the weapon in a sweeping arc.  The roundhouse is a strong kick due to the torque created by the twisting of the fighter’s body (similar to a golf club or baseball bat swing), but has one big drawback. Since it has a wide arc, the opponent can see it coming.

Side kick – The fighter draws her knee to her chest and fires the kick outward, stomping her heel and/or blade of her foot on her attacker.  The sidekick is very strong due to the engagement of most of the major leg muscles.  Side kicks are debilitating just about anywhere, but I love the knees and ribs as targets.

Stomp – A variation of the side kick and just what it sounds like. You heroine can stomp on her opponent’s instep. If you like, she can scrape her shoe all the way down his shin on the way.

Hook kick – The foot is extended beyond the target. The lower leg is drawn back in a hamstring curl, striking with the heel of the foot. Not terribly powerful but very sneaky if executed properly.

Knee strikes are effective blows when your heroine is too close to fire off a kick. You all know the best target for knees is the groin. But consider knees strikes to the face or abdomen if your opponent is bent over.

The standard kicks above can be combined in a series. Each of these kicks can also be done while spinning and/or jumping as shown in many TV shows and action movies. For some awesome karate fight scenes, check out the Transporter 2. Jason Statham has a background in martial arts that enables him to performs his own fight scenes.  Although the usefulness of these fancy kicks in a real fight (as in not choreographed for film or TV) is questionable, they sure are fun to watch.

8 responses to “Get a KICK Out of Your Fight Scenes

  1. This is great! In my almost ready to send out my latest book (yay!). My heroine is a martial arts expert, and I’d love to have a trilogy for her and the hero. If that happens, I’ll probably use a few of the kicks from this blog.

  2. Very cool post, Melinda!

    Ok, admittedly, this comment isn’t about kicking, but… Yesterday I watched the 2004 Chinese film Hero. It’s so very beautiful. What I noticed wasn’t necessarily the kicking in the fighting, but the use of feet by the Qin archers. One man leaned upon his back with the bow propped against his legs, and his (standing) partner released the arrows. It struck me how underplayed feet and legs are in so many fight scenes–at least American non-martial-arts films. We’re so accustomed to firing weapons and punching. Legs and feet get short shrift in western action adventure.

  3. Under Samurai rule in Japan, weapons were outlawed. Regular folk learned to fight with everything they had at their disposal: bare hands, feet, everyday items and tools. Many martial arts weapons originated as farm implements.

    Knew you’d appreciate the history! ~melinda

  4. 🙂 Thanks!

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