Thursday, January 24, 2008


Earlier this week, I critiqued a self-defense technique that I liked in a post called, “Let’s Play a Game.” In that post, I failed to make one correction that I would change if I had to use that technique myself.

The point of the post as to get people to think more about the way they view the techniques of other martial art styles. I didn’t want to bog it down with my own criticisms, but rather just give an example of how someone might to about trying to improve certain techniques in order to make them more effective.

In the technique, the defender initiates his counter with a kick to the groin of one of his opponents. On the video, the opponent dutifully falls to the ground, allowing the defender to continue with strikes aimed at the other attacker.

Kicks and knee strikes to the groin are a very common self-defense technique. They are popular because the groin is an exceptionally vulnerable target. Even slight pressure against the testicles produces great pain which makes it difficult for an attacker to stand, fight, or sometimes even breathe. There’s no doubt that they can be very effective when applied properly.

Women’s self-defense classes in particular, tend to rely heavily upon groin kicks because they require very little physical strength but can cause a great physical reaction in an attacker.

The following video clip shows the way groin kicks are commonly taught in martial art and self-defense classes.

While groin kicks so have the ability to take an attacker to the ground, I really don’t believe that they will work the way demonstrated in this video.
The problem, as I see it, is nature.

Men are conditioned from the earliest age to protect their genitals. It’s not something that we have to think very much about. It all happens rather naturally.

Without getting too graphic, it’s important to understand that human sperm (like the sperm of many other land mammals) can’t generate in the heat of normal body temperature. So, the sex organs must develop outside of the body’s core. While this allows for ideal climate control for producing sperm, it leaves the testacies unprotected.

Nature however, has not left us totally vulnerable. The sex organs are positioned securely between the legs and rest safely near our lap.

The groin is also packed with many sensitive nerve endings. Every boy quickly learns that failing to protect the groin will result in intense pain.

The male body must protect its groin at all times or possibly forfeit its chance at reproduction. Therefore, natural reflexes tend to take over anytime the senses perceive a threat to the groin area. The knees close, the pelvis tilts inward, and the hands tend to drop.

It’s actually pretty hard to intentionally sneak a strait groin kick into its target. The body’s reflexes are usually just too quick and too protective of this vulnerable area. Every time an attack gets close, the pelvis shifts the groin away while the legs quickly move in to protect.

The solution to this problem is to prevent the senses, namely sight, from perceiving the kick. If your attacker sees the kick coming, even out of the corner of his eye, he’s sure to automatically protect himself.

However, if you can get him to look away with an eye gouge or hair pull, you should be able to kick the groin without problem. The trick is to redirect your opponent’s eyesight.

Even just covering his eyes with your fingers may be enough to distract him from your intention. As long as the brain does not perceive the attack, it will not initiate any reflexive action to protect the groin.

Many martial artists train like the people in the video. They expect that the groin kick will easily reach it’s target and incapacitate their attacker so they can escape. Unfortunately, this strategy can backfire if the kick fails and their attacker becomes further enraged by their failed attempt at defense.

Not only does this method give you a better chance of actually landing your kick, it also provides the added benefit of surprising your attacker. If you first go for the eyes, you opponent will be unprepared for the pain and injury that will follow from a strike below the belt. The result will actually be more severe than if he somehow knew it was coming.

I hope these suggestions help you in the development of your own self-defense strategies. Please remember to always train carefully and with qualified instruction. Groin kicks can be dangerous.

Also be sure that you are always morally and legally justified in using force against your attacker. These techniques should never be misused or played with.

Take care and keep training,




Patrick Parker said...

Heh! good article. You'll enjoy my followup...

Keep it up, guys!

Hazem said...

A very logical article...

Anonymous said...


I've seen plenty of people hit with solid blows to the groin in my days on this planet.