top of page

Torakan Karate-Do

‘Karate Essence’ ‘Reality Check’ Hiza Geri/Knee strike

‘Karate Essence’

‘Reality Check’


Hiza Geri/Knee strike


The Hiza Geri, or Knee Strike, is usually considered a close range technique; however, you can use it at any range – whether you’re up close and personal or thrusting forward from what might be considered long range.

Table of Contents

  •          Ever Adaptable

  •          Kyokushin Hiza Geri

  •          Tae Kwon Do Knee Kick/Morup Chagi

  •          Kung Fu Knee Kicks/Xi Ti

  •          Wing Chun Knee Strikes

  •          Shotokan Hiza Geri

  •          MMA Knee Strikes

  •          Muay Thai Knees/Khao

  •          Torakan Hiza Geri/Knee Kicks

  •          Conclusion

  •          While I Have Your Attention

Ever Adaptable

The Knee Strike is so much more adaptable than most people imagine.  In fact most of the classical martial arts, particularly those arts that have a noncontact sporting aspect to their training, have a fairly limited view of the use of Hiza Geri/Knee Strike; even though the technique is prolific in many kata throughout many martial art styles.  So, not unlike the ‘Empi Uchi’ that we examined last month, we find the actual practice of the Hiza Geri, outside of the various Kata, is limited specifically to close range self-defence practice.


As is our usual drill in the monthly ‘Reality Check’, we’re going to take a look at the various arts’ approach to this month’s subject technique.  While researching this month’s ‘Reality Check’ technique, I found it difficult to locate tutorials from the various styles and arts on this technique. 

Kyokushin Hiza Geri

The Kyokushin approach to the Hiza Geri is, as is their methodology to almost everything, practical and straight forward; and they make it a very effective fighting tool.  The only point that I would make is, the operative word is ‘fighting’, like every Kyokushin technique it is geared toward their style of tough, stand up, competition fighting; as opposed to self-defence.  Not of course that any of their arsenal of fighting techniques could not be used for self-defence; just that, generally, they do not practise it in that manner.  The following link will take you to an excellent Kyokushin Hiza Geri tutorial.

Tae Kwon Do Knee Kick/Morup Chagi

Tae Kwon Do comes under the depiction I touched upon in my opening paragraph regarding martial arts that contain a noncontact sporting aspect to them.  In other words they practice their Knee Kick/Moreup Chagi in regard to self-defence only, and they have a fairly limited view of its use.  I managed to track down one or two very short Tae Kwon Do Knee Kick tutorials, this one was the longest and the best; although she (the Tae Kwon Do 4th Dan instructor) goes on a bit in the repetition workout (100 kicks), which I think you are supposed to train along to: Tae Kwon Do Morup Chagi


Kung Fu Knee Kicks/Xi Ti

As I stated in the opening couple of paragraphs; while researching this month’s technique, I found it difficult to locate the various arts’ tutorials on Knee Strikes.  I’m not exactly sure why that should be; however, the resulting demonstrations, in the case of some arts’ like this Kung Fu technique for instance, are less than impressive.  It seems that the Knee Strike is almost considered a bit of a dirty technique to use in a fight.  This reminds me of when I was very young, in the 1950s and 60s, when the only way that a proper fight was conducted was with fists; kneeing, kicking, head-butting or biting et cetera was considered dirty fight tactics. 

Knee Strikes are definitely used in Kung Fu and almost all arts but some of them only in a clinch or a brief, standing grapple.  The following link was the only Knee tutorial I could find for the Kung Fu Xi Ti


Wing Chun Knee Strike

I am placing Wing Chun on its own, separate from Kung Fu, because that is how I see it.  It appears to me to be as different to, say, Shaolin Kung Fu as any of the Karate Styles.  Wing Chun, as I mentioned in last month’s ‘Reality Check’, was Bruce Lee’s first martial art, and his chief instructor was the illustrious ‘Ip Man’.  Wing Chun is about 300 years old and this Kung Fu style is unflashy, to say the least, and quite simplistic.  Like Shaolin Kung Fu, but for different reasons, it seems the Knee Strike is similarly used at very close range and without preparation or preamble.  With no pretence of being a power strike, it is more an accurate, unannounced shot at delicate or vulnerable targets: Wing Chun Knee Strikes.


Shotokan Hiza Geri

Shotokan Hiza Geri is again hampered by the fact that they have a noncontact sport attached to the art.  I’ve been around a very long time and so I remember, in my early competition days, usually fighting other Shotokan fighters, we fought what we termed ‘controlled contact’, Ippon or Sanbon Kumite; however, even then, Hiza Geri was considered too dangerous to use in competition fighting.  So, apart from in the various Kata, in Shotokan, Hiza Geri is practiced only as a basic self-defence technique and as such does not get the attention needed to hone this technique into the weapon it might otherwise be: Shotokan Hiza Geri tutorial


Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Knee Strikes   

Within MMA they study and practice the best combat techniques from anywhere they find them.  They also train pretty much exclusively for combat sport and I would hazard a guess that most of their stand-up fighting, especially Elbows and Knees, are modelled on the sport of the, so called, ‘8 limb fighting art’ of Muay Thai Boxing.


The following MMA Knee Strike tutorial is one of the best Knee Strike tutorials I came across during my research.  


Muay Thai Knees/Khao

When it comes to knee strikes, no other martial art comes remotely close to Muay Thai.  Before it became the sport of Muay Thai Boxing, Muay Boran was tempered and refined in the heat of battle, over hundreds of years, by the Siamese (Thai) armies. The Elbow and Knee techniques of Muay Thai is without question what sets the ancient ‘Art of 8 Limbs’ apart from all other striking-based martial arts.

With endless potential to break a rib, open a cut, cause paralysing muscle damage, or knock an opponent unconscious; Knee Strikes are no doubt one of the most lethal and important aspects of Muay Thai.  Because there are so many different ways, in Muay Thai, to deliver a Knee Strike, they are excellent for any kind of fighter; and there are so many ways to use them in self-defence situations.  I’m going to leave you several Muay Thai Knee tutorials.



Torakan Eye View

Most of you will already be aware – but just in case there are some newcomers to ‘Karate Essence’ – I thought it worth mentioning my long involvement (more than 60 years) in the martial arts, including Boxing, Muay Thai, Kung Fu, Bushido and more than 50 years in Shotokan Karate.  As well as my ‘real life’ practical experience as a British Parachute Regiment soldier (5 years) and I spent a great deal of time as a ‘High Risk’ security operative (30 years).  So, as per usual, I will of course round out this ‘Reality Check’ with a little Torakan eye view. The following are a few short video clips from the Torakan Dojo.





I will just conclude with some fairly obvious observations.  The martial art practitioners who have a wide range of Knee Strikes and who train them to perfection are those individuals who have a sporting form in their martial art which allows Knee Strikes in that format.  I will of course concede that competitive fighters in the above stated forms will have more polished Knee Striking techniques.  However, we are back to the, ‘You react under pressure the way you repetitively train.’


As a method of self-defence – and surely we don’t need to reiterate that there is a difference between ‘taking part in a fight’ and ‘using self-defence’ to (perhaps) save your life – it is imperative that we totally abandon any ideas of illegal targets and of fighting ‘fair’ in any way whatsoever.  And it must happen instinctively!  Also, another point that I make constantly: adverse situations concerning self-defence rarely entail just one adversary.  There is a world of difference between fighting one person, with rules (no matter how kick-arse you or that opponent may be), and being taken by surprise (for whatever reason) by two, or three, or four or more antagonists intent on perhaps taking your very life.


Whatever the bulk of your training regime may be… I believe that it is worthwhile to incorporate a strictly ‘Self-Defence’ aspect to your training, so that your Mushin always retains an appropriate, instinctive response.



While I Have Your Attention

Again, while I have your attention, I’d like to thank everyone for following my Blog, ‘Karate Essence’, and a special thank you to all who have contributed to the successful launch of my latest book, ‘A Budōka Odyssey’.  Sales are still fairly steady and I can’t thank you enough; I still however ask for one more favour.


Please give the book a review on Amazon.  I know that unless you are a writer yourself it can be a little daunting to put yourself out there, but it would make a tremendous difference to future sales and positioning in the whole Amazon deal.  You don’t have to write a huge review; a few words are better than none.  And, of course, a positive review is preferable, but constructive criticism is better than no review at all; and I’m a big boy and can take some criticism as long as it is constructive.

Once again, thank you and I hope you have found some value in this month’s ‘Karate Essence’.

Yours sincerely in Karate-Do

T.D. McKinnon






Follow Me
  • Grey Facebook Icon
bottom of page