Everything You Want to Know About The Oblique Kick

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The oblique kick is a technique which went mainstream and viral after debatable UFC legend Jon Jones started putting his opponents to bed using this kicking technique in combination with nasty elbows. 

The oblique kick was made known to the world on a bigger stage when Holly Holm used it to great effect in her history-making bout against Ronda Rousey.

What is an oblique kick?

An oblique kick also known as the scoop kick or push kick to the knee, is a visually tantalizing kick with hard strikes delivered directly above the fighter’s knee.

Coined by an MMA broadcasting legend, Joe Rogan, an oblique kick is one of the most underutilized offensive tools in Combat MMA. 

This kick is painful to watch as a spectator and even brutal to endure as a recipient. Jon Jones has built his entire career out of oblique kicks and elbow strikes as his main ammunition in the arsenal.

The beauty of an oblique kick

An oblique kick provides you with a lot of options. You can hit the kick when in a locked-up position or even when you’re looking to hit long. 

You can use it as a set-up to another move or you can also use it to defend against a charging opponent.

The goal here is to read the situation and use the kick accordingly. Especially if you’re a tall guy like Jones, you can keep your opponents at bay with this simple technique. 

Additionally, you can either choose to push your opponent’s knee or you can stomp it, which leads us to our next topic of discussion. 

As an opponent, it’s a nightmare as you don’t know whether the kick that’s coming your way is going to be low or going to rise mid-way.

Having said that, let us jump towards the meaty part, i.e. understanding how to do an oblique kick.

How to do an Oblique Kick?

Firstly, Oblique kick can be used as an offensive as well as a defensive move. It’s great to keep your opponent at bay.

Get into the fighting stance: Assuming that you’re already in a bout, you will be in a fighting stance. However, if you do not then make sure you get into a fighting stance with your hands shielding your face.

Pick a kicking leg: An oblique kick can be delivered from both the front and the back leg. If you choose the front leg, it’ll be quicker and unpredictable as compared to the back leg. However, the back leg though telegraphed has more power and has the capability to bruise your opponent’s thighs. 

Lift your knee up: With one foot onto the ground, you want to raise your knee of the kicking leg towards the hip level and drive it towards your opponent. While doing so, remember that you don’t want to lift your knees too high and neither you want to keep it too low.

Chamber position: The beauty about oblique kick is it looks like the front kick but is delivered in a side kick pattern. Just as you’re about to land your shot, you’d want to chamber your legs diagonally.

Landing the kick: While landing the kick, you have versatility as you can hit your opponent with the ball of your foot, the flat and even the heels. All you want to target is the thigh area just about the knees.

Following up: An excellent fighter never uses the oblique kick just once. They use it multiple times in multiple rounds to wear their opponent’s down. An effective connection can leave them limping. Thus, make sure you keep building on your first kick and deliver it effectively across the rounds.

Common mistakes to avoid when doing an Oblique kick

Attacking the hips or torso instead of the knee: Generally, an oblique kick invites a fighter to embrace the kick thinking it’s going to land on the torso with minimum effect. You don’t want to commit this mistake.

You want to deceiver them into believing that you’re kicking upwards and then stomp their thighs which can verily lead to a hyperextension and a career-threatening injury? Dirty kick? Yes. Unfair? No.

Not using the arch of the foot: As mentioned above you can connect with several parts of your foot; however, you should aim to use the arch of your foot implying forward pressure on your opponent’s thighs to hyperextend their knee.

Understand its linear motion: Though it does look visually simple, I assure you it’s not. Practitioners often miss out on the point that it’s a linear shot and pretty definitive with the angles. If you get the angles wrong, you might be on the receiving end of a limping foot and a career-threatening injury perhaps.

Miscalculating the distance: One of the silly yet the most commonly appearing mistake is that of misjudging the distance. As a fighter, you want to maintain a close distance which is enough to enable you to maneuver without having to step forward or skip a leg. Contrastingly, you don’t want to be too near to your opponent either.

Using it ineffectively: There exists a mainstream heat against the oblique kick for the intention. However, only a handful of fighters are able to use it to great effect.

This kick requires great timing and skill set to drive great results. In order to use it optimally, repetitiously practice the kick till you learn how to land it on the right spot and how to spot an opening with regards to distance.

Defending and Countering an Oblique Kick

Regardless of its criticism, there are a number of defensive and countering technique against Oblique kicks which can be used to avoid or counter this kick. Let us try and understand them:

Understand the linear motion: Once you know that the kick is delivered in linear motion, you can easily avoid the kick by getting out of the way. 

Since the opponent is looking to deliver a linear shot that’s going to be delivered in a straight angle, you can simply step outside the center line and produce a counter.

Roundhouse kick: Having stepped aside, you can follow up with a quick roundhouse kick to leave a considerable amount of damage. This has to be really quick and non-telegraphed. 

Furthermore, if your opponent has the tendency to do an oblique kick with his/her rear leg, you can study it and deceive them into believing that they will be able to land that kick successfully.

Shuffling followed by a jab: As Shane Fazen of fightTips explains, shuffling your to-be-kicked leg can put your opponent in the back seat and you can counter with a jab of your own. 

Proper shuffling will not only aid in defending but will also help you to rotate and set up a counter kick.

Checking the kick: Similar to how you check a round kick, you can also check an oblique kick. To counter a round kick, you turn your leg at 45-degrees. However, to check an oblique kick, you just need to lift your knee straight up and let your opponent connect with your shin which might damage their leg.

Converting the kick into a takedown: We once saw Frankie Edgar catch hold of an oblique kick and use It as a tool to complete a takedown. It is a great counter and a treat especially if your ground game is on point. 

For fighters with pure wrestling or Jiu-jitsu background, grabbing the opponent’s foot and completing a takedown wouldn’t be necessarily difficult.

Drills to improve your Oblique kicks

Kicking using the arch of the foot: Grab a pad, ask your partner to hold it above the knee. Once held, try kicking with the arch of your foot. 

You want to make sure that you practice using the right area of your leg to improve precision. You can practice the movement in the air and then follow it up on pad to create impact.

Lift your knees: Lift the knees in your kicking leg and try holding it for 30 seconds. Our aim is to lift the knees at the proper angle. It shouldn’t be too high, neither it should be too low. Thus, do this drill to develop control over your tendons.

Land hard: Though out of nowhere, the impact in your kick must be maximum. You can place a pad at an effective height on the wall and land a powerful kick on it. Watch the mechanism and the angles that work the best for you.

Perfect stomp kick: An oblique kick is pretty similar to a stomp kick. Thus, if you master a stomp kick, perfecting an oblique kick won’t feel like climbing a mountain to you.

Kicking while switching legs: An advanced variation of the oblique kick is to deliver it while you’re switching the leg. You can practice this technique against a partner or by using a pad. To telegraph this technique, you want to kick right after you switch. This is a rare technique but if applied correctly can be a valuable addition to your arsenal.

Variations in Oblique kick

There aren’t obvious variations in the oblique kick except for that fact that it stems from the same root like that of a stomp kick, front snap kick or a push kick.

Stomp Kick: As the name suggests, a stomp kick is literally a stomp. Quite similar to the front snap kick, this technique can be visualized as you trying to break a door. Herein, your knee comes in and into your chest and then you push it out. 

When it comes to impact, you can either use your heel or the ball of your foot. While pivoting your bottom leg, you deliver the kick pushing it forward towards the opponent. When doing the stomp kick, you can either push or retract.

Scoop Kick: Pivot your foot as you raise your knees up. Upon doing so, point the toes down pulling the heel to the back of the leg. Swing your lower leg up by making a contact with the bridge of your foot. Snap the kick back into the chamber position and get back into the natural fighting stance.

Don’t moan rather counter Oblique Kicks

There are two sets of people. One who revere the oblique kick and others who dislike it or hate it. Most of the fighters who have suffered defeats due to the kicks obviously speak against the kick. “It should be illegal” they claim as it aims to end an opponent’s career.

Noticeable opponents who lost their bout and accepted that Oblique kick is a dirty move include Rampage Jackson and Stephen Thompson. Jon Jones, who effectively uses his oblique kicks criticized Rampage’s decision saying, “You’re punching me in the face, which could cause brain damage… should punches be banned, too?” and boy does he having a valid argument here.

Their views and opinions have been echoed by numerous coaches and training fraternities in the MMA sphere. However, if a roundhouse kick is perfectly legal followed by a punch to the head, I don’t see what’s the fuss about oblique kicks? Especially when you can defend and even counter these kicks.

The controversy surrounding the Oblique Kick

Jon Bones Jones, a controversial MMA legend, once famously replied to Rampage Jackson’s remarks saying “He is such a baby, he’s a baby.” Why did he do so? Because Jackson suggested that an oblique kick should be banned from MMA because it aims at hyperextending your knee.

Within the realms of MMA, though the oblique kick is revered by many, it sure does have its fair share of haters due to the damaging nature of this kick. 

If you’re familiar with UFC, you already know about the Oblique Kick via Jon Jones. It is amongst one of the most controversial moves which exist in combat sports.

Big John McCarthy’s ideal outlook

As per the legendary official, everything is dangerous in MMA. As per him, we’d be fooling ourselves if we believe it isn’t. There are fighters who have a problem with this kick and the same fighters are alright with watching their opponent get knocked unconscious with a different move. Hypocrisy? Isn’t it?

Oblique Kick vs Stomp Kick

Many people feel that an Oblique kick is the same as the stomp kick. However, it’s not the same. Though the basis of the kicking style is similar, an oblique kick is targeted at the knee in a diagonal angle whereas the stomp kick is brushed down vertically. There’s a significant difference in the motion of these kicks and the impact they have on the opponent’s leg.

I hope this oblique kick guide helped you to learn everything essential about this kicking technique. For beginners, do not get confused with the names. These techniques are essentially similar but not the same. Thus, learn the difference and practice the kick to the best of your abilities. An oblique kick though dirty as alleged by many is a great tool to leave your opponent limping off of a contest.