my instructor has a very interesting slant on this. he says High kicks are for tournaments when you have good grip and a solid floor to walk on....low kicks are for real life when you may be on ice or gravel and you dont want to end up on your ass!
and as - for the majority of the time - we have a good grip and a solid floor in real violent situations AND to cover the times when we do not WHY o WHy do many shotokan dojo not regular and fully practice low kicking techniques and strategies . they'll claim they do but they don't! such a wasted opportunity !
It's a shock to the system when you face somebody skilled in thigh kicks. Got caught with one about 10 years ago (Seido guy) and shit did it take the fight out of me for a second or 3. Was 2 weeks in healing I was working in forestry at the time and it took all my will power to get down the hill. Good job I was the boss I can tell you.
I thought I was skill at it...............maybe throwing them but leg checking was another tale.
About 15-20 years ago I met a buddy of mine, good friend now..he was a Thai boxer and he basically introduced me to kick boxing (north american not thai). First work out he drilled me with a thigh kick that I was not used to or ready for....Friggin hated that guy for three weeks while my leg healed up! HOLLDY CRUD did that hurt!
I experienced the thigh kicks more than once during my kyokushin time and it's a powerfull weapon imop.If you don't have any legs to stand on ,you're f*%cked.I more then once woke up the morning after a training session doing the "kyokushin shuffle"
Like Steve, I think it's sad that not many shotokan dojo's train these kicks (probably just because it's not allowed in competition). I once heard some higher dan ranked bloke telling me he would just block a low kick with his knee .&.he didn't practise low kicks cos if you can kick chudan you can do it gedan too ......
btw:I also found a good ointment to speed up the healing proces when you got bruises:arnica I can recommend it ;D