ax kick

A student of taekwondo authority Y.H. Park dissects the mechanics of the push kick and outlines a number of drills that can lead you to proficiency.

As the quality of the competition and techniques seen in taekwondo continues to improve, the push kick is emerging as one of the most potent weapons used by today’s martial arts athletes. “It works for anyone,” says Yeon Hwan Park, coach of the 1988 U.S. Olympic team and head coach of the 1991 Pan-American Games team. “If timed properly, the push kick can be a devastating maneuver. It allows a competitor to get maximum power from his kick, enabling him to use his leg reach and strength to his maximum ability. Competitors are discovering this more and more.” As a result, Park says, practitioners are developing innovative ways to employ this powerful technique. Ideally, the push kick will make contact with the heel, but the ball of the foot also works, the author says. “The push kick combines thrust with snap,” Yeon Hwan Park says. “If done at the right time, you can combine the force of your opponent’s attack with a great deal of your own body’s power.” That results in a powerful kick, but it must be refined through practice. To throw a taekwondo push kick, lift the knee of your rear leg to your chest. Slide your supporting leg forward as you do, then shoot out your kicking leg in a piston-like fashion. Try to land your foot directly on your opponent’s chest or face. Ideally, you should strike with your heel, but if distance doesn’t permit, the ball of your foot can suffice.

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Taekwondo legend Hee Il Cho's kicks hearken back to an era when they were pure self-defense. They pack power, they penetrate and they punish. He shows you how to adjust yours for such results in this exclusive video!

Perhaps more than any other martial art on the planet, taekwondo is renowned for its kicks. Before I continue, let me insert this: If you think taekwondo's kicks are primarily weak techniques designed only to score points in tournaments, you haven't seen Hee Il Cho in action. Although he's practiced the art for nearly 60 years, he never jumped on the Olympic TKD bandwagon, which means his kicks hearken back to an era when they were pure self-defense. They pack power, they penetrate and they punish. Follow the advice he offers here, and yours will do the same.

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Do you know the kuk sool technique called dee eue bohk soo? No? Well, it might be your last line of defense against a double wrist grab from behind.

You're walking down the street when someone rushes up from behind and grabs your wrists. Which self-defense technique do you use? In a moment of panic, you realize that you cannot see your assailant well enough to figure out how to fend him off. If you were Jackie Chan, you might leap into the air, spin 180 degrees, execute a high-flying ax kick and escape over a parked car. But you're not Jackie Chan. You're just a normal human being constrained by normal human physiology.

You may be a normal human being, but you are also one who can learn from a martial arts master who possesses near-superhuman skills. Before you have to defend yourself for real, you'd be well-advised to partake in the wisdom of that master.

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In this excerpt from Kenji Yamaki's Full-Contact Karate: Advanced Sparring Techniques and Hard-Core Physical Conditioning 2-DVD set, the 100-man-kumite survivor shows you two counters for the one-two punch.

Now available from Black Belt Magazine Video is the two-DVD karate set from kyokushintechniques master Kenji Yamaki! Titled Full-Contact Karate: Advanced Sparring Techniques and Hard-Core Physical Conditioning, this exciting collection demonstrates karate moves that Kenji Yamaki often teaches his advanced students. Kenji Yamaki was one of the top kyokushin karate competitors in Japan. Upon immigrating to the United States and setting up shop at Yamaki Karate in Torrance, California, Kenji Yamaki began teaching his own style of hard-core karate, which he dubbed yamaki-ryu. Having trained extensively in a system made famous by Masutatsu Oyama’s intense striking techniques, Kenji Yamaki's style favors kyokushin techniques laced with kicks that are frighteningly powerful and lightning fast.

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