Every Kung Fu and Karate practitioner spends ages putting themselves through warm up and stretching excercises before and after the training session so they can throw high thrusting, snapping, roundhouse, spinning kicks of all kinds and angles ,front, side ,back, etc ,but all ,mainly due to films want to kick to their opponents head.
Without a doubt head kicks are most spectacular. Flatten someone with a spinnig back roundhouse kick and you'll feel and be thought of as the 'Dogs bollocks' until the next time you get beaten or flattened or use a boring low front snap kick and your arsenal of spectacular 'Dogs bollocks' kicks becomes the 'usual load o' bollocks!'
In non contact Karate competition the fighters tend to use lower wider stances and go for the high kicks whereas the full contact use narrower stances and boxing style guards , but interestingly use low kicks to the outer and inner thighs, not so much the knees as damage can occur, mind you those nutty THAI BOXERS probably boot 'em anywhere ,they use lots of low painful kicks ,but since they train 23 1/2 hours , 7 days a week they can use high kicks to great effect to knock out opponents. Even MMA, etc don't use THAT much high kicks, using low kicks ,knees, fists, elbows and throws and locks as it's not point scoring it is beating your opponent in a fight.
Out in the ' mean streets ' People can, sadly get into a bit of grief! The fight, if it does 'kick off' will normally be the good ol 'KNUCKLE BUTTY!' Very rarely will anyone be able to launch a fight stopping kick to the head. Most martial artists are average blokes ,or ladies and the only way they will be able to get a kick up to the dizzying heights required is after a good 1/2 hour stretching warm up excercise session ,which, unfairly as it may seem , your opponent wont be the level of gentleman needed to allow his opponent to warm up.
The sad truth most people have seconds to dive into 'the mill' as the prizefighters used to call it. If 'our hero was to throw a head kick 99.99999% will hear a variety or cacophany of a series of horrendous teeth grindingly awful sounds made worse as they come from your own body as ligaments and tendons twang; Joints click and crack, not only does it sound painful ,but it is painful and will be for days ,if not weeks after.
If you throw the kick ,not only may you cause untold suffering and strain upon your joints, but even those who could throw the kick are further restrained by the trousers they wear, it is ridiculous that we spend years turning into human fighting machines , as long as you wear the loose fighting pyjama-like Karate Gi we are fine. Then when we need to use our long hard learnt lessons we can't because we'll split our trousers. The energy needed to flatten your opponent will be drastically reduced by the energy required to tear the seams of your trousers apart!Which is worse the cracking and twanging of joints or the RRRIIIPPPING of your trousers in front of a full pub or in front of the girl of your dreams as well as your opponents mates?
The only fellah i knew who could walk into a fight and flatten multiple opponents with full blown Karate foot work as he worked on club doors in his suit around clubs in Liverpool was the immortal TERRY O'NEILL,there are many stories of 'the guv'nor's exploits, Dig out DENNIS MARTIN'S book about life on the Liverpool doors, 'WORKING WITH WARRIORS'.
After years of clicking joints the slow TAI-CHI excercises have allowed me to kick high anytime, but again that is .....TROUSERS ALLOWING!