The Reverse Roundhouse Kick is one of my favourites to use in sparring. In a nice safe training environment, this kick allows me to use flexibility, explosive speed, and precision to pull off an attack which seems impossible for someone of a shorter stature. The kick can exploit what I think of as ‘blindspots’ in a person’s vision, so that it seems to appear just over the person’s shoulder and of course hit them before they can react to it.
I also used an innovative kicking combination in sparring which had me do an instep kick, and a jumping roundhouse – so I could raise both legs in the air at the same time. When opponents started wising up, I turned the elevated roundhouse into a reverse roundhouse kick to come around the other way. It was a dangerous daring stunt even for me but I guess someone had to do it. I must say it was one of the more impressive sparring tactics you could pull to wow an audience … or your opponent.
If you can’t manage the head high kick or attempt the angles in which I mentioned, you might decide to go for a more traditional execution and fire the reverse roundhouse kick at groin height – striking the opponent in the groin with the snap back of the heel. There is no dishonour in levying a hip high kick at the opponent, and certainly this can be done safely and effectively … and could even be used in a self defence situation.
The spinning reverse roundhouse is another kettle of fish altogether. With the standing reverse roundhouse, you’re able to visually sight and calibrate the kick very accurately, and despite it being a gimmicky kick … if you can execute it smoothly, the chances are the opponent won’t be able to judge what you are doing. The spinning version however, adds an increase element of risk because of the nature of the spin taking your eyes off the opponent. I have used this kick multiple times in sparring, and I can’t say I would recommend it to most practitioners, on the assumption that most people don’t have a high degree of kicking skill.
One element of the spin I would like to bring up is that once you launch the kick, it is hard to stop. I remember fighting against a training partner, seeing him lunge forward at me with a punching attack, and I popped into the air for this spinning technique. The next thing after the pop off the ground is then seeing my foot connecting with the side of his head, me locking eyes with him as he fell like a tree to the mat. If ever I felt dread, fear, worry, and guilt all at the same time during sparring – that was it (see Being Good at Sparring Means You’re Only Good at Sparring). The problem was you couldn’t stop the power of the spin in the air mid flight. You can’t reduce power because of the nature of the spin. The result of this ‘blind’ technique is that it hits with 100% power and that is not the wisest thing to do in sparring.
In the above video, I’ve slowed down the demo of the reverse roundhouse kick, or the ‘hook’ kick … and also the spinning reverse roundhouse. Yes, the video also does a slo mo rendering of the kick. Notice that the kick should hit the target in a brief aperture – typically shoulder width, to make use of the full turn of the body. Meaning the kick is not effective for the full 360 degree turn.
Hopefully, I will be able to show you a video of me performing a variation of the kick where I go ‘all at once’ to reduce the telegraphing of the move.