Bullet proof legs

Can anyone advise of a way of making leg muscle denser? I just completed my first sanshou fight, and early on my lead leg got destroyed by a leg kick. Just totally numb and useless. Never taken a hit like it, even sparring with thaiboxers. Lot of pain + no mobility = lost fight. 2 weeks later the whole thigh was one big painful bruise.

Other than blocking and taking more shots to get used to it, is there anyway of strengthening the legs which will help toughen them up? I don't really want to add bulk, as I'm pretty big already, but will if it what is needed.

What might make the muscles more shock resistant? Heavy squats? Stair running? Isometrics? Hindu squats?

Please advise!

Leg Kicks = If do right, no can defend!

Seriously, if someone hits anyone with a couple of good shots to the thigh they are going down. You need to shin block.

  1. start getting used to the impact, hold a pad on your thigh and let someone lowkick you. alot. this will not make your thighs immune but will help alot.

  2. start thinking about not getting hit in the first place. for me there are three basic tactics:

  3. shin block and follow-up punch combination, painful and not too good for balance

  4. evade and counter, no pain but needs good hands and timing

  5. eat the low-kick and punch your way through him on the inside, very effective if you have the timing and power.

to strengthen your legs, Olympic Lifts are good i heard but also bodyweight squats and hill sprints will do your legs lots of good. btw as you fight san shou maybe replace the "punch combinations" with some throwing technique i guess :)

Cheers for the input - I'm working on blocking and developing some strategy (erik paulson had some good ideas in an old copy of Grappling)

I was just hoping that stronger legs would help when I miss the block - I guess not!

A few different things to consider here from a physiological standpoint. Depending on where you get hit on the leg you will either be taking a shot to muscle, to one of several nerves or both. The nerves do not run exactly in the same place in every person so it can be difficult to target an EXACT spot on an opponent. From your description of numbness and loss of mobility you probably took a kick on a nerve. The nerve gets mashed between the opponents tibia and your own femur and mashing nerves never leads to anything good. Mashing muscle can typically be dealt with easier since the main factor to overcome (at least during the fight) is pain.

Now, on to conditioning. Just plain old taking a lot of leg kicks and slowly building the intensity of the kicks will over time have a dual effect. First you will get more and more used to the kicks and your tolerance will build due to the tissues becoming used to the repeated trauma. Second, even though the signal to the brain will still be telling you that you have a lot of pain your brain and body will learn to deal with the situation faster and you can dictate less of a physiological response. Look at it like this, if you stub your toe in the middle of the night it takes a few minutes to deal with the pain because you are not conditioned to it and it came as a suprise. However, if you have been training to take leg kicks and you see it coming your brain processes the pain signal and deals with it in a matter of seconds or less.

Now, as far as weight training, muscle density building goes this can have either a positive effect or a negative one. The nerves in our legs run through the muscle tissues. If you add more muscle you may either be adding tissue on top of the nerve and this will provide more cushioning againts a kick. OR, the muscle tissue may be built under the nerve and this in turn pushes it closer to the surface and makes it easier to injure the nerve with a kick. This is why some very muscular people seem immune to pressure point techniques while others seem almost overly sensitive. Unfortunately this aspect of either "burying" an nerve or pushing it to the surface is genetically predetermined and is out of our control.

While I agree that it is best to block a kick or move out of it's path I think that conditioning for getting hit is a VERY important aspect of training. I am reminded of a great quote from a teacher/coach of mine. "There has never been a world champion fighter that hasn't been hit."

Best in Health and Training, J. R.

leg fencing and shockability. one legged jumping squats.

leg blocking is wonderful..

but imho it's really a dumb man's defense.

movement is your friend.

Learn how to teep effectively. This will knock your opponent on his arse whenever he loads up that big kick.

Man, LOTS of good advice on here.

I think Iceberg Slim and nosleep nailed it though. A good, quick teep will beat a low-line round kick on the draw every time. With practice, you will be knocking the wind out of your opponent with that teep also.

nosleep laid out pretty much all of your other defensive options. I personally prefer to shin check and counter with hands, but if you are just starting out the shin check can be painful at first. Try circling back & away from the kick when you see your opponent load up, then close the distance and counter with hands as he follows through.



whats a teep iceberg? is that kind of like a knee check?

Teep=front push kick.

Teep = front push kick

"Open the door, ATF!" = rear push kick


Scott Sonnon's series on "Shockability" and on "Leg Fencing" will do a lot for this. 

Not that I think this is your answer...per say... Marathoners get what they call: Dead Legs. It is a lack of feeling in the legs. Not numbness. Just lack of feeling. The legs can take much more abuse without feeling it. This happens when running ~60 miles a week or more.

If you are simply looking in a magazine for techniques, you'll need to go further. If you aren't already enrolled in a school showing you these techniques and how to train, you might look into this. You'll never learn timing and effective technique without decent training partners.

Find a school that fosters fighters with decent records.