• orjanpettersen


Each week MASTERCLASS gives you brief but key information on how to optimise a simple Krav Maga strike or technique.

This week we’ll cover what we call the diagonal kick, effectively a less circular and less visible version of the roundhouse kick to the leg (or ribs/liver).


The diagonal kick is named as such due to its kicking trajectory from the ground diagonally upwards towards the outside or inside of the leg (or it can also be targeted against the ribs or liver) in the shortest and most direct line from A (feet position) to B (target area).

The contact point of the kick is either on the outside of the opponent’s leg c. 10cm or so above the knee where the muscle is thinner or a similar height above the knee on the inside of the leg, against the femoral artery. Both connections, made solidly, can easily drop an opponent down or limit their mobility significantly.

The benefit of the diagonal kick versus the roundhouse kick to the leg or ribs/liver is that the motion is much less visible as it’s coming upwards out of line of sight and much quicker in time making it really difficult to detect when it’s done at hand striking range. Another benefit is that it can be done in a limited space (you only need a foot/30cm on the outside of the leg) whereas the roundhouse kick demands much greater room. It is therefore ideal in confirmed areas or where other barriers exist. Finally, the diagonal kick offers you bigger target areas than the groin kick, as both the inside and outside of both legs are available as striking surfaces.

The diagonal kick can be truly devastating and a game-changer in any fight. Learn it well and practice to make it a go-to kick when needed.

HOW TO DO THE DIAGONAL KICK (legs in a line).

The kick should be done at a distance where you can touch, or just about touch your opponent with an outstretched arm.

Picture: The Krav Maga Educator Orjan Pettersen demonstrating distance for a diagonal kick to the inside leg on a pad held by Krav Maga Master Gheorghe Husar.

Step forward with the non-kicking leg (if you need to close distance to the target or to generate power) in a short stomping motion, putting your body weight onto the base leg to free up the kicking leg for action. Important: the toes on your base leg need to point in the same direction you are going to kick in. This will free up your musculature in your pelvis for the kick. Simply stepping forward with toes straight on whilst kicking diagonally to the side will impede your kick significantly.

With your body weight on your front leg, your back leg - which should now have a slight bend in the knee and toes - has the solid frame that should be maintained throughout the kick. You’ll notice that the bent knee and toes will tense your front shin, making it harder.

Maintaining this leg frame, explode the leg forward in a diagonal trajectory aiming to connect with your (hardened) shin against the inside or outside of the leg of your opponent, around 10cm or so above the knee. Don’t make this kick too ‘circular’, find the shortest and direct route to the opponent’s leg. Simply put, your aim is to ‘slice’ through the leg, and for extra impact, ‘dig’ the hip into the kick on contact to give extra pain. Which leg do you target? The closest one, or if both are on a line, either. A diagonal kick to the inside of the leg demands some available space between your opponent’s legs, so pay attention to this. If no space is available, go for the outside. Connecting on the outside will give pain and possibly drop your opponent. A kick to the inside will also spread his or her leg out, making their balance and fighting ability severely compromised until recovered. A second identical kick in the same place can easily remove the footing of your opponent - or by switching the same kick to the inside of the other leg.

The diagonal kick is essentially a groin kick done on an diagonal angle. The angle is created by your base leg toe position which opens up your ability to kick diagonally sideways.

Maintain your hands up and in front of you throughout the kick.


See our Masterclass on Fighting Stance to understand the foot position better.

The only difference to the above section is that you’re already in the position you create with a small, stomping step forward, releasing your back leg for kicking action.

To execute the kick from this position, either just switch your front foot toes out to match the kicking direction of the back leg, or conduct another small, stomping step forward releasing the the back leg for the kick. The rest is as described above.

HOW TO DO THE DIAGONAL KICK (with front leg)

See our Masterclass on Fighting Stance to understand the foot position better.

Setting up a diagonal kick with your front leg demands some repositioning of your back leg, to make it become the base leg. Simply step forward with the back leg in a stomping fashion to quickly put your body weight onto it, to bring it in line with the front leg, but as you do so, make sure you position your toes in the direction you intend to kick towards.

Your previous front leg is now weight-free and ready to kick. The rest of the kick is as explained in the first section.

Picture: The Krav Maga Educator Orjan Pettersen demonstrating a diagonal kick to the inside of the leg with Krav Maga Master Gheorghe Husar.

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