Here is reply to Otoko’s points. In Isshin ryu Karate which is what I study we have a saying “a cup is part of the uniform” because traditionally all of our kicks are aimed below the waist. In our classes we allow kicks to the groin. We have a high turnover because of it. Anytime your foot goes above groin level your groin is open, this is why we are very unpopular with the Tae Kwon Do people.
One of the basic kicks that we teach to our white belts is the squat kick, the primary target we teach is the groin. That squat kick GSP caught Hughes with is something we use all the time in class. If you watch carefully you will see that GSP wasn’t even aiming it at the groin he is aiming it at the Femoral artery, you can really see it on the second groin shot. Hughes just left him so wide open that the kick couldn’t help but go into his groin.
The technical name for that kick GSP used is a “low line kick”. A low line kick is a kick where the foot comes from the floor straight into the target point A to point B. There was no preliminary cocking of the leg A-B followed by the foot firing from a chambered position to the target C.
This is why low lines are advantageous there is no telegraph, the foot fires right from the floor to the target. Bill Superfoot Wallace is a master of this kick.
Now on to your point about foot positioning. Here is how you can see what I am talking about.
Stand in front of a full length mirror where you can see your foot to your waist. get into a kokutsu dachi or a cat stance with your front foot pointing straight forward. If you look you will see that all the bones of your lead leg are in the same plane, if you now take you rear leg and do a simple football place kick towards the inside of the ankle of the mirror front leg and continue up you will see that the inner leg becomes a guide rail that directs the foot right into the groin. You will also see that a straight kick into the front of the knee will be able to hyper extend the leg breaking the knee.
Once you see how that is working try this.
Slowly rotate your lead foot on the heel so your toes point in. As you do this watch what happens to the position of your knee it starts to move in (I am assuming you have your leg bent a little at the knee like a proper martial artist would) as soon as you start turning in you should notice something but keep turning in till it’s between 30 and 45 degrees. What you should now see is that the bones of your lead leg are no longer in the same plane.
If you now place kicked at your front ankle the foot would now travel up the front of your shin bone at an angle till it reaches your knee, where you will now see that your thigh angles away from the direction of the kicks upward travel because your shin has guide railed the kick away from your groin.
There are two additional benefits:
Number 1 is even more important than protecting the groin. Because your lead leg is no longer aligned with the knee’s plane of motion directly perpendicular to your opponent, the same straight in kick that previously hyperextended and locked out your knee destroying the joint, is now more likely to merely flex the knee, especially if you allow yourself to go with it, you can even drop down into a spinning sweep kick with your rear leg and drop your opponent on their back.
Number 2 get back into the kokutsu dachi with you left leg forward toes pointing straight torwards the mirror now imagine GSP is throwing that lowline kick at you groin. What do you do? If you rotate your hips clockwise so you take the kick on your hip instead of you groin what happens? You don’t have enough range of motion in your lead hip joint to rotate your groin to safety, but if you allow your foot to rotate back to that 45 degree angle your pelvis can keep turning till your groin faces away from your opponent.
Cool! Right? But it gets even better because there is a special technique that is specifically designed to be used with that hip roll as a riposte.
If you do that hip roll right you will throw your opponents legs apart also you will now have spinning momentum in your hips so you just keep going and throw a spinning back kick right into your opponenets groin.
That is the proper way to use a spinning back kick, as a riposte. Not as a showboating technique like GSP did against Hughes, unless of course you seriously outclass the other guy and can get away with takeing risks. Which obviously was the case.
But if you have someone who knows what to do and they know how to grapple (which Hughes excels at)you can be in a world of hurt misapplying a spinning back kick. GSP was lucky there that he didn’t end up with Hughes attached to his back like a white girl on an NBA player choking him out.
It’s just too bad for Hughes that when he was a teenager he didn’t take up some kind of striking art. Even a hokey assed Tae Kwon Do class then would have put him at a whole other level now, because he would be able to read his opponent better. Because you can just look at you opponents foot positioning and know what they can and can’t do. With enough experience it just becomes instinctive.
While there are very few good fist fighters in mma there are some bright spots. GSP is excellent. Chuck Lidell has one punch take out power and he refuses to roll with the grapplers so they have to stand and face that.
Here is a brilliant matchup of two men who have competency at all the ranges and are smoothly traversing from one range to the other.
I do not know anything about Isshin-Ryu karate. Thanks to your answer now I know a little. It was very informative.
My point is that GSP is from a Kyokushin karate background(which is very famous in Japan, and the reason why GSP is known in Japan). His kicks reflect that training. Meaning the style in which they are thrown. Which are different from the Muay Thai and Dutch kickboxing style. So I do not think that the kicks to the groin were deliberate. If you were trained in either the Thai, Dutch or Kyokushin style they would just check the kick, so the position of the front foot simply just has to point forward(in other words foot position doesn’t matter). If the guy was very good he would just teep(front kick the guy when he threw his low kick).
Here is an example
the Kyokusshin karate stylist Sam Greco in K-1
Ernesto Hoost is an example of the Dutch style. You might be familiar with him. And the thai style there are numerous examples but two time K-1 MAX(70kg) champion Buakaw Por Pramuk is dominating right now, others include Yodsaenklai and Jomhod(though old was great).