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 Kicking On The Street. Do Your Pants Help You Or Hurt You? 
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Post Kicking On The Street. Do Your Pants Help You Or Hurt You?
Kicking On The Street. Do Your Pants Help You Or Hurt You?
by: Shawn Kovacich

Your ability or inability to kick effectively in a self-defense situation may depend more on the clothes you are wearing, and less on your actual proficiency at kicking. As hard as this may be to believe, it is a fact, and one that I learned on several different occasions.

The first occasion took place one night after practice. Fortunately, it was not during an actual physical confrontation. I still remember the good natured horseplay that night after class when a classmate of mine bet me that I couldn’t kick a cigarette out of his mouth. Knowing that I could easily kick a cigarette out of his mouth I took the bet. I positioned myself in front of my classmate as he took out a cigarette and proceeded to put it in his mouth. I gauged the distance to my target, got all set and threw my roundhouse kick with all the speed and accuracy I could. Whiff!

I missed the target by a good foot and a half BELOW the target! How could that have happened? Well, after several more attempts amongst the constant laughter of my classmate, I realized that it wasn’t my kicking ability that was in question; it was the tight jeans that I was wearing that were the problem. Of course my girlfriend at the time loved them and had actually bought them for me. Unbeknownst to me at the time, my instructor had also noticed them (although not for the same reason that my girlfriend had), and had set up this little lesson for me with the help of my classmate.

The very next night, as I was getting warmed up before my class, my instructor approached me and asked me if I had learned anything the previous night. “Yes” I answered right away and without hesitation, “I learn something every night in class.” Without skipping a beat or batting an eye my instructor said, “Perhaps, but how about after class?” It took men a couple of moments to realize what he was getting at, and when I did, I told him about what had happened when I had tried to kick the cigarette out of my classmate’s mouth.

He then asked me what I had learned from that experience. I quickly replied that I had learned not to kick that high unless I was wearing gi pants. My instructor got this sad look on his face and said, “I had hoped you had learned more.” With that he turned and walked away. Boy, talked about being thoroughly confused and a bit stunned. I thought I had learned something. I never realized for quite some time just how important that little lesson was and how much there was to learn from it.

It wasn’t until about a month later that I realized exactly what it was that my instructor was trying to teach me. My kicking “epiphany” occurred one night while drinking at a local country western bar. A local wannabe tough guy was playing the role of the toughest guy in the bar and of course the midnight fantasy of all the women there. Now I have always made it a point to “live and let live,” unless of course you bother me. Then it’s an entirely different story. This just so happened to be one of those times.

Mr. Wannabe decided that for some reason I would make an easy target to pick on that night. Which in retrospect, I can see why he and many, many since then would do this. I am not an imposing figure and am quite average in size. Therefore, at first intoxicated glance, I seem to fit the type that these bullies seem to be looking for when wanting to pick on someone. Not the brightest move on the chess board of good health. Anyhow, as I was quietly sitting there drinking my beer and listening to the band, Mr. Wannabe comes up to me and starts giving me a bad time. I tried several times to ignore him, at one point; I even get up at and walk down to the other end of the bar. Of course, none of this dissuades Mr. Wannabe. He immediately follows me down to the other end of the bar. As he gets within about two steps of me, I launch myself off of the bar stool and throw an absolutely beautiful roundhouse kick right to his head.

Now before I continue, let me tell you that I absolutely do not recommend ever throwing a kick to the head as a first move, unless you are exceptionally well gifted at kicking. And I am not talking about gifted as in your fantasies, but gifted in reality. This is an extremely dangerous move, and one that could end up getting you into a serious world of hurt if it doesn’t go as planned. I threw this roundhouse kick to the head in this particular situation because of the following circumstances.

1. I am an exceptionally gifted kicker and knew exactly what I was doing.

2. I had checked out my opponent who was extremely intoxicated at the time, and determined that I could probably hit him long before he knew what had happened.

3. The floor was clean with nothing spilled on it and the area that I chose to make my stand was pretty much free of obstacles.

4. This guy had no friends there to back him up, and was pretty much one of the town bullies that no one liked, but everyone was afraid of.

5. I had only had one partial beer and was by no means intoxicated nor were my physical or mental abilities impaired.

POW! I connect with him and send him flying across the floor and into the pool table. He falls to the ground and just sits there for a few moments with this dazed look on his face. He starts to get up and I tell him to stay down or he is going to get a worse beating. He stays down, and I leave the bar. Sounds like a great kick to end a fight doesn’t it?

Well, it was and it wasn’t. Yes, the one kick I threw did end the fight, but not like I had anticipated. You see my kick did not strike Mr. Wannabe in the head as I had planned; it struck him on the outside of his arm just above the elbow. What went wrong? Well, if you haven’t guessed it by now, I will tell you. I was wearing those tight fitting jeans again that my girlfriend so liked and insisted that I wear. See I had considered a whole bunch of various factors when deciding what to do, but I didn’t take into account what I was wearing.

What you are wearing can be advantageous in a self-defense situation, or it can be detrimental. Tight jeans, jeans wore about your thighs instead of your waist; loose fitting sweats that aren’t secure around the waist, etc. all can be a hindrance to your kicking ability on the street. Unless you wear your gi pants 24/7, you need to sit down and thoroughly analyze the clothes that you do have, and decide exactly what you can and cannot do in them. By the way, that was the last time I wore tight jeans, and no, I am no longer with that particular girlfriend. Both turned out to be way to confining.

So what exactly was my instructor trying to get me to realize? Well, as it turned out there were several things. They are as follows:

1. Don’t be “showing off” what you know just for the sake of “showing off.” It is foolish and makes you look like a fool.

2. Just because you can kick effectively at a high section level, doesn’t mean that you have to.

3. 99.9% of the time when you are confronted with a self-defense situation you will never be in gi pants, but you will be in your everyday clothes.

4. Using your brains is far more preferable to using your brawn.

5. Sometimes you just have to figure things out for yourself.

About The Author
Shawn Kovacich has been practicing the martial arts for over 25 years and currently holds the rank of 4th degree (Yodan) black belt in both Karate and Tae Kwon Do. Shawn has also competed in such prestigious full-contact bare knuckle karate competitions as the Shidokan Open and the Sabaki Challenge, among others. In addition to his many accomplishments, Shawn is also a two time world record holder for endurance high kicking as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. Shawn is the author of the highly acclaimed Achieving Kicking Excellence™ series and can be reached via his web site at:

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Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:16 pm
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