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The Art of Groin Kicking: Understanding Jeet Kune Do's Approach

Nothing is funnier to watch on screen than when you see a villain get kicked in the groin, especially if he deserves it. It's because we know instinctively just how horrible that must've felt and we experience pleasure at the expense of his pain. The schadenfreude from watching a good groin kick is priceless. From the beginning of time, men have acknowledged the vulnerability of the groin and has done everything they can to protect it by building steel armor, leather codpieces, and plastic athletic cups. In traditional martial arts, like karate or taekwondo, groin attacks are not permitted. In sports, groin attacks are not permitted. In fact, there are no competitions where groin attacks are permitted. Men are more than willing to test their manhood against each other other, as long as you don't hit them where it really counts. But why is that?

In terms of self-defense, the groin is one of the four best targets on the body (the others are the eyes, throat, and knees). If you study Jeet Kune Do, you will train to intercept your attacker's movement towards you with a groin kick. You will learn how to hit him before he gets close enough to hit you. That's the idea behind Jeet Kune Do. If you want to become a successful and effective groin kicker, then you might want to study Jeet Kune Do's approach.

Offering Resistance: It's Not As Easy As It Looks

Contrary to popular belief, it's not as easy as you think to just kick a man in the groin.

Whenever I teach this concept to my students, I often pose this statement: Raise your hand if you will allow anyone to kick you in the groin. And in all my decades of teaching, no one has ever raised their hand. Then I follow-up that statement with: And neither will your attacker. Often I see light bulbs go off in their minds, as if to say: Oh yeah. That makes sense. They learn a Truth: just because you want to perform a technique against your attacker does not mean that he will allow you to do it. We call this Resistance.

Expect your enemy to resist all your attempts to stop him. Expect him to resist your attempt to kick him in the groin. This is where most typical self-defense training goes wrong. They'll place a man inside a Redman Protective Suit and then tell their students to assault him as hard as they can, yelling and screaming as they vent their inner fears and frustrations on the poor Redman. Then they scream Empowerment! Empowerment! and everyone feels great, as if they vanquished their inner demons in one fell swoop.

But what's missing? What's missing is Mr. Redman did not really resist these attacks in any significant way. He allowed people to hit him with impunity, like a walking heavy bag. These self-defense training tactics provide a false sense of confidence. It's not enough to yell and scream and get emotional when you fight back. Again, just because you're taught to power kick a man in the groin doesn't mean you're going to hit the target. In order to increase your chances of scoring, under the stress and pressure of a real situation, you have to have a reliable and proven strategy.

All Warfare is Based on Deception

If you want to kick someone in the groin successfully, you have to apply deception and misdirection. In Jeet Kune Do we do this as a regular part of our training. Bruce Lee did not believe in single direct attacks, like a kick, because he knew that the odds of this landing were almost impossible. You can't just throw kicks out there without a strategy and hope it lands. You'd be wasting time and energy. Here is a strategy that is guaranteed to work, if done properly:

If your primary target is the groin, do not communicate to your opponent whatsoever that you're about to kick his groin. Avoid the following mistakes:

  1. Do not stare at his groin.

  2. Do not yell or warn him that you're about to kick him in the groin.

  3. Do not chamber, or pull your leg back, before you kick.

  4. Do not just take a step towards him and try to kick.

Try this experiment. Have a friend stand about five to six feet from in front of you. Now tell your friend to take step towards you and kick you in slow-motion, but stop right before he makes contact. Watch very carefully. Watch for the moment when you clearly sense that a kick is about to come. What did you see? When did you see it?

Now put yourself in the attacker's point of view. At what point will he see your kick coming? You'll notice that when your friend takes a step towards you and winds her leg up to kick you, that's when you see it coming. That's called telegraphing a kick. And if your attacker sees this telegraphic motion, he will stop you. And to stop a kick, you can block it with your front knee, cover your groin with your arms, step to side, or jump out of the way. It's not that hard. So now what?

You have to direct his attention to another target on his body in order for your groin kick to hit successfully. Make him think you're going to attack somewhere else. We call this Feinting or Faking. Here's an easy Feint and Kick technique that you can practice:

  1. Take an advance step towards him with your right foot in front, left foot in back.

  2. As you step in, raise and fully extend your right hand as if you were going to touch his forehead with your fingertips (we call this a Fake Eye Jab). Make sure you have medium distance away from him when you do this. If you're too close, he can hit you.

  3. As soon as you step in and extend your Fake Eye Jab (remember that you're not making any contact with your fingers; this is just a distraction, not a real hit), straight kick him with your right leg (the front leg) and use a fairly straight leg. Do not bend or chamber your leg before you kick. Just lift your right leg straight up and hit him with the top of your foot (instep) or your toe.

  4. We call this a One-Count Motion. From ground to groin, kick in one fast, smooth motion.

  5. If you do this correctly, he will see your extended right hand coming towards his face, but he will not see the right leg coming in for the kick. That groin kick will be invisible.

  6. Important note: do not withdraw the Fake Eye Jab hand before you kick. Keep that hand up, extended, and threatening so that he's focused on that hand. If you drop that hand before you kick, he will see the kick coming and the magic trick will fail.

"Power means nothing if it doesn't hit the target" -

SiFu Adrian Tandez

It's Not About Power - It's About Placement

People often focus too much on the power of the kick. They believe power means effective, but nothing could be farther from the truth. When you focus on powering up your kick, your opponent will see you coming a mile away. And when you don't land your kick successfully, then what's the point of all that power?

If you miss your target completely, then what's the point?

Accuracy, speed, and precision are far more important than how powerful your kick is. These are the qualities that make a groin kick work. So tone down the argument of, Well, if I don't kick with my rear leg, then where do I get my power from? If I don't chamber my leg, then how am I supposed to kick hard?

Just get your shoe or boot up into his crotch as fast as possible and I will guarantee you that power isn't necessary. We're talking about a groin here. You don't need a lot of power to hurt a man's genitals. Trust me. Kick me with 50% power and I will go into a fetal position really quick. Drop a small child on my crotch and I'll cry in agony. Groins are easy to hurt, so you don't need to soccer-kick them. Why do you think it's illegal to kick a groin in any sport? Think about it.

If you want to learn more about the science of groin kicking, then come on over to Tandez Academy of Martial Arts and I'll be more than happy to teach you. We offer group classes and private lessons on practical and effective self-defense. You can contact me at 408 373 0204 or email me at

Happy hunting!

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