(Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)Technique Spotlight: The Leg Kick RJ Gardner October 14, 2014 Spotlight One of the most underutilized techniques in MMA today is the leg kick. While there are many fighters who throw leg kicks there are few who utilize them as a mainstay in their striking arsenals. Leg kicks are a great weapon to have because they can keep an opponent at distance while at the same time inflicting serious damage to their base. Leg kicks are also a great tool for setting up other striking techniques. When used properly leg kicks can change the complexion of a fight; just ask Edson Barboza and Jose Aldo about how effective leg kicks can be. Leg kicks are simply low kicks that are thrown to target an opponent’s lower thigh; ideally just above the knee when the muscle is less dense. Fighters can throw leg kicks to the inside or outside of an opponent’s leg and can be used as both a jab-type strike and a power strike. Leg kicks basically take away the speed and power of opponents making them stationary targets to unload on. Once the lead leg has taken damage fighters begin to feel uncomfortable and they start switching stances which in turn forces them to lead with their power hand; something many fighters simply don’t have the dexterity to do. Leg kicks are a lot like taking an ax to a tree; hit a tree in the same place with some solid swings and it is going to fall over. It may take time but eventually it is going to come down. Leg kicks are also great setup tools. Like body strikes, leg kicks make opponents lower their defenses and adjust their stances to protect their legs leaving openings to attack the head and body. Think of them as a brush back pitch in baseball; you force an opponent to think about what just hit them instead of focusing on what is really coming at them. Watch the leg kicks in this Edson Barboza highlight video to see just how effective leg kicks can be in MMA.