Today I want to talk about a little move that has probably saved my butt at least a thousand times. I call it the Kick Out and if your game includes any standing guard passes I think it might deserve a place in your repertoire.
If you stand in your opponent’s guard then it is inevitable that you will sometimes have your foot gripped like this:
Nothing good comes from having your foot controlled like this: here you are vulnerable to many powerful sweeps (like the Tripod and Sickle Sweeps). Therefore, when grabs your foot it is important to clear it as soon as possible. One possible solution is the Kick Out.
Let’s say that, as in the picture above, your opponent is holding your right heel with his left hand. The Kick Out works best if your opponent is pulling your foot with his hand, taking the slack out of the system. Often he will give you this pressure as part of his efforts to control and sweep you, but if he doesn’t you can try moving your right foot slightly backwards (i.e. towards your heel) to incite him to pull on your foot.
Once you have this tension and his arm is straight you kick your foot forwards (toe towards his armpit) until it is above the level of his arm. Now circle your foot outwards, bringing it back behind you to re-establish your balance.
In mid-move you are balancing one one leg while looping your captured foot outwards. It looks and feels precarious at first, but once your newly-freed foot touches down behind your body your balance and stability are restored.
Once you master this move you will even be able to apply even after your opponent has started his sweep and you are beginning to fall over. When you use the Kick Out here it is reactive rather than proactive, but the path the foot follows remains the same. The Kick Out is an elegant little move, and hopefully it can save you as many times as it has saved me.
P.S. Those of you who own my Grappling Drills DVD might recognize the Kick Out from Drill # 80. That drill is an excellent way to get lots of repetition of the Kick Out crammed into a short length of time.