Rear kick

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Never turn you back on an opponent; it leaves you completely open to attack. However, this can happen when:

  • You are attacked from behind (e.g., rear mug, bear hug, or Full Nelson).
  • The opponent blocks your kick, knocking you off-balance
  • You accidentally turn your back to an opponent while recovering from a series of kicks.

In each of these cases, it is imperative that you quickly return to a safe position. Until then, ushiro geri (literally: “backwards kick”), the rear kick, is your only defense. A rear kick distracts opponent, by forcing them to worry about defense. Like all atemi, this only stuns the opponent for a moment, but that might be enough time for you to recover your stance.

To throw a rear kick, enter a walking crane stance. Then, bend forward at the waist, and extend your leg straight behind you, driving your heel into your opponent’s groin or abdomen. To rechamber, pull your upper-body back to vertical, and sharply pull your knee forward, as though you were throwing a knee kick.

[Rear kick strike videos, fast and slow, from the side and rear.]

For best results, keep the following points in mind:

  • Lean as far forward as possible. The farther you lean, the higher your kick will be. In this case, leaning a necessary evil; rear kicks tend to strike lower than intended, resulting in ineffective strikes to the opponent’s meaty, padded thighs. Your torso will counterweight your leg to help maintain your balance.
  • Do not look at your target. Rear kick is only for when you know with certainty that the target directly behind you, and that it deserves to be kicked. Turning to look subtly turns your body, diverting your kick in the opposite direction (i.e., if you look to the left, the kick veers to the right, and vice-versa).