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Techniques>Kicks>Axe kicks

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Axe kicks

Intro

The axe kick, a variation of crescent kick, is unique to taekwondo and has been called the most useful kick in taekwondo. The crescent kick is usually used defensively while the axe kick is usually used offensively. While the axe kick is used mostly to attack, it can also be used to stop forward progress or to block, intercept, or check an attack.

During its execution, the axe kick doesn’t expose you to counterattacks since the opponent is only concerned with avoiding the attack. However, if the opponent successfully avoids the attack, you are then exposed to counterattacks.

Performing axe kick

In the crescent kick, the kicking leg moves in a large, circular motion. In an axe kick, the leg moves straight up and straight down; it’s simple, quick, and doesn’t require a lot of movement. While it’s a versatile kick, there are few targets available since the foot can only travel in one direction (down) to the target.

The axe kick is executed by lifting the lead leg straight up until the foot is higher than the opponent's head, and then forcibly pulling the leg downward so the heel of the foot strikes its target. Targets include the side of the head, the face, the top of the clavicle, or the upper chest.

The axe kick may also be used to crash through or knock down an opponent's guard to create an opening for a follow-up attack. It is nearly impossible to block a well-timed axe kick because the foot will crash down through most blocks; it’s nearly impossible to stop and axe once it’s moving downward. The best options are to evade the kick by moving backward or to avoid the kick by moving to sides since the kicker can’t stop or adjust the kick once it is fired—what goes up, must come down.
  • The proper way to execute the axe kick begins with correct hip and body position. Your back should be straight and your body upright. 
  • As you swing the kicking leg up, keep the leg straight, cock the ankle backward, and keep the toes pointed upward. 
  • When the kick reaches maximum height, extend the ankle and hips as far forward as possible while making sure your back remains straight. 
  • When the leg begins traveling downward, lean backward and extend your hip forward to increase the reach of the technique. 
  • You may add power to the kick by dropping your body mass into the downward motion. 
  • Do not to lock your hip as you complete the kick so you don’t strain your hamstring muscles. 
  • Upon completion of the kick, the toes of your kicking foot should touch the floor first. 
  • For opponents that backup to avoid attacks, rush toward the opponent as you execute the kick.
  • The axe kick may be performed with the leading or trailing foot and a jump may be added. 
Since the kicking leg must rise to a height that is higher than the target, the axe kick requires excellent flexibility. Once the foot has reached the required height, you must have the muscle strength to pull the leg downward forcibly into the target. If leg just drops due to gravity, it will be slow, thus allowing the opponent time to evade the kick and the power of the kick will be weak, which makes it easier to block and lessens its effectiveness even if it contacts its target.

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