How about this? Since the character doesn't Punch or Kick (much, as you put it), why not have the hard/light Kick and hard/light punch abilities act as something completely different? For example;
Tai Chi Quan
Tap the appropriate punch/kick button just as an enemy's attack connects to negate the damage by half or turn the attack against the enemy (100% damage reflection).
Hard Kick: Negates 50% damage from Light Kicks, counters Hard Kicks.
Light Kick: Negates 50% damage from Hard Kicks, counters Light Kicks.
Hard Punch: Negates 50% damage from Light Punches, counters Hard Punches.
Light Punch: Negates 50% damage from Hard Punches, counters Light Punches.
Of course, that leaves zero offensive capability, but... maybe this is something you can adapt (maybe Light blows are still offensive, and Hard blows are counters?).