I also posted this on the MA talk, but it degenerated into a debate about kicking and its place in street self-defense. I would like to make it clear that I did NOT say that kicking is useless, only that it is not AS USEFUL as punching/hand work. Here's the question:
Kicks are not as useful as punches in a self-defense situation, that is clear. Another thing that seems clear is that traditional martial arts (often) still employed kicking, and even high kicking. If need be, correct those premises.
Could the use of kicks be tied to the melee weapons of the day? Since the hands were often holding a weapon, and the eyes of one's opponent had to track those deadly hands, kicks would seem very prudent. Does the use of melee weapons drastically change the way kicks are used?
I'm particularly interested in the opinions of people who have taken weapon arts, but anyone else who has a theory is of course welcome to chime in.