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Updated: Jul 13, 2022

The MASTERCLASS gives key information on how to optimise a Krav Maga strike or technique.

This MASTERCLASS covers the KICK TO THE KNEE, a devastating strike aimed as a show-stopper by breaking or severely damaging the intricate anatomy of the knee of an opponent. The strike can both be to the inside or outside of the knee.

Scenario: This strike is mostly used as a final ‘departing’ strike following another strike or series of strikes where the self defence practitioner exits the situation and throws in the kick to the knee when extracting themselves from the incident (to break it and prevent any pursuit).

The kick is relatively easy to learn and will be very destructive if connected, so it should be a key striking option in your self defence repertoire.

The kick is likely to cause severe damage to the knee joint - potentially long-term or even permanent - so must be justified in a self defence scenario, where the rationale for it is to prevent any escalation of the conflict or pursuit by the aggressor.


The kick is mostly applied after another strike or combination of strikes have left the aggressor stationary in a standing and fairly static position, possibly momentarily recovering from the impact of preceding strikes.

The kick will be most effective towards the inside or outside of the knee, rather than front or back of knee.

Step sideways out and away from the aggressor (to a distance where the extended kicking leg can reach through the aggressor’s knee) with the base leg heel pointing directly towards the inside or outside of the opponent’s knee (whatever is your target). The heel position is important to open up the mobility in the pelvis area to execute the kick.

Slightly bend the base leg for optimal balancing. Keep your hands up ready and between you and the aggressor to deal with any further attacks, grabs or in preparation for further strikes.

Lift the other foot up to knee-height and strike fast with the full sole of the foot parallel to the floor or slightly downwards, aimed towards the inside or outside of the knee.

Extend the leg fully for optimal impact and recoil fast. The extended leg should go ‘through’ the knee by up to 20-30cm.

Place your leg down tactically, for example either next to the (now-turned) base leg facing the aggressor if no exit is available or let it become the first step motion as you start to run away.

Breathe out as you strike.

Pictures: How to practice a kick to the knee on a pad. Make sure the pad partner’s knee is slightly bent to help absorb the impact from the kick and don’t apply force likely to damage your partner. For more explosive kicks, work on a lower hanging bag or other suitable target.

To get to know more detail, or how you can follow up with even more combinations and further effective and natural striking choices, check out our courses at Spartans Academy on:

Further strikes are then available if needed. See our MASTERCLASSES and MASTERCLASS PRO for options.

Find all our MASTERCLASS articles by clicking on the theme selection on the website home page. Chose MASTERCLASS PRO for combinations of strikes and techniques.

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