The crescent kick is a kick (or leg technique to be fancy) taught in almost every martial arts system. It is one of the few straight leg techniques taught in most schools, and the only one that I know.

The crescent kick is performed by moving a straight, extended leg in an oval shape, with the strike coming usually at the top of the arc. It can be performed both inward and outward, and also spinning, flying, and even a combination of the two.

The actual use of the crescent kick is problematic. Since it usually requires a lot of commitment, and for the leg to be lifted well above hip level, it makes a bad street technique. My main use for it is it makes me feel like I am beautiful and athletic, like Michelle Kwan, and not just a clumsy person who puts a lot of effort into learning to fight people.

I have read some martial arts books that suggest the crescent kick is a good way to disarm a knife. It seems that trying to do this would be a good way to get your femoral artery sliced open.

In general, using the crescent kick for self defense is like joy popping...sure, there are people who do it, and seem to get away with it, but the chances are that most people would get hurt or killed if they tried the same thing.

To clarify, a crescent kick moves in an anticlockwise direction, the same kick moving in a clockwise direction is refered to as an Axe kick.

I have realised this is wrong, what I meant was an axe kick goes in an outward direction a crescent kick] in an inward direction. As a natural consequence of this crescent kicks are more effective when used in a circular manner, whereas axe kicks normally go straight up and down. (thanks to MALTP for reminding me to mention this) The most common uses for axe kicks tend to be breaking the nose from above and forcing down someones guard. Crescent kicks apply a sideways force.

The crescent kicks application against a knife is a dubious one, however often people would immediately follow said kick with a spinning kick. It does have the advantage of being agressive action, most knife defense techniques assume the knife holder attacks first.

MALTP has also pointed out that being cut on the leg is better than being cut on the body (see sacrificial defense). However I would still not recommend this as a course of action. If the knife is missed it is entirely too easy for your opponent to stab you.

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