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How To Train Knee To Groin Self-Defense

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knee to groin redmanThis is to address the issue of how to train properly for groin strikes in self defense.


Those of you who follow my YouTube channel may have seen how I “disassemble” and basically call out those people who tell you that groin strikes will completely incapacitate an attacker. That an attacker will just drop into a whimpering mess at your feet, and then you can be on your merry way.

There are some self-defense teachers who actually get that a groin strike is simply a method of distraction and potential pain that opens up lines for different attacks to become successful.


The big thing I go round and round with people on this about is when they say, “Oh no, it’s devastating. I was kicked in the groin by my girlfriend while we were horsing around and I dropped down to the ground…” and blah, blah, blah.


You see I have little patience for people who can’t distinguish between someone trying to gain sympathy from a loved one who just hurt them versus trying to survive against an attacker—or multiple attackers—whose intent is to harm or kill you.


Completely different scenarios.


Completely different outcomes.


The problem with knees to the groin is the perceived overwhelming effectiveness to incapacitate a male attacker who has an intent to harm or kill.


That’s the mental part.


And this part has to be retrained in society and in the minds in the men and women who are counting on “educated and skilled” instructors to give them the tools to help in their survival in threat-to-life situations.


The structural/physical part is that people who are not trained attempting to drive a knee up into an attacker who has rushing forward or pulling backward momentum is a bad scenario for one’s survival.


And a lot of places don’t accurately train that part of it. That part where a simulated attacker rushes them from the side or behind—and doesn’t stop the attack once the defender starts trying their defense techniques.


This is incredibly important. It cannot be overlooked in any serious or “hoping-to-be-effective” martial art or self-defense system.


To do otherwise puts your students and the people who are trusting you at risk for serious harm or death.


Go the extra mile and save a life. It only takes work and an honest, dedicated instructor.


The Core JKD Method


Any time you bring up your knee to strike a groin or other body part, you end up on one foot trying to balance against the forces that occur in a real fight for your life.


Try balancing on one foot while you have a friend crash into you from the side, front, or from behind.


Go ahead, I’ll wait.


Now try and do that while simulating a knee strike.


I’ll wait.


Most of the people in the picture I just painted there realize that this is not such an easy thing to do. It’s likely that nearly every one of them went to the floor or mat hard.


To train a knee to groin successfully, you have to realize what actually occurs in a situation where your balance, your base, is taken from you.


Bringing a foot off the ground creates an instability in your base.


If you do not train to be stable under the rush or pull of an attacker from odd angles—even a simulated attacker—then you’d better know how to fight on the ground.


The problem with a lot of training methodologies is that they make the attacker stop attacking while the “victim” applies all the techniques free of resistance.


Train your attacker to have a goal, and then implement that goal with resistance.


Study real attacks. I’m not referring to the male ego-vs-ego bumping chests to impress a female attacks.


Read the ones in the papers or police reports where the victim was attacked from behind or from the side without knowing it.


This is important. It’s based in reality and not in the desire to show off your techniques that have little to do with reality.


Unless you include training that also forces them to have to balance on one foot—hopping to maintain balance against a resisting opponent—then the training becomes ineffective versus a real threat to life situation.


Proper training would include trying to maintain balance on one foot while being pushed or pulled. This ingrains a body and mind that is ready to fire knees with their balance—or lack of it—taken into account.


This doesn’t reduce the need for now having to balance against a resisting opponent while firing a knee.


Here’s the progression:


  1. Single leg balance versus resistance coming from different angles that doesn’t stop (Remember to have an attacker strive to reach his or her goal).

  2. Single leg balance versus resistance while trying to get a knee into the groin on an attacker who doesn’t stop his or her momentum or does change momentum based on your actions.


This is trained slowly at first with the attacker approaching from odd angles, but continuing movement into the student.


After a time, you increase the speed of the attack.

After even more time, you bring everything back down to slow speed with the “victim” students closing their eyes through the whole encounter.


That means your “attacker” comes in from every angle to execute a specific goal/intent.


Sightless, this is the surprise attack that helps develop your students’ ability to elevate their sound-awareness of their environment. They then reorient toward sound and the initial physical contact from the attacker.


Then they have to try and strike the groin while being off-balance—and while using only sound and tactile contact to direct their strikes and techniques.


This is realism training.


This is Core JKD.


There is more, but this should give you an idea on what to look for when seeking a self-defense school or instructor.


It also sets a higher bar for self-defense instructors who don’t take realism into account.

The people demand training for realistic encounters.


They deserve it.



Check out our YouTube video. Click the image to take you there.

2 Responses

  1. Quentin Plomteux
    | Reply

    Nice training idea, but how do you execute that safely (from the attacker point of view) ? I see that you wear a full body armour but you cannot afford doing that for all your students

    • admin
      | Reply

      I’m not understanding why you don’t think I can do that for all of my students (and have, for those in my local classes). Perhaps you could explain your question a little more to help me.

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