Wednesday, 18 June 2008

The Axe Kick

The Axe Kick is a kick that not many people can pull off. Not only does it require a great deal of flexibility, but timing and spot on accuracy all play there role in the deliverance of the kick.

If anyone is familiar with the great Kyokushin Karate Fighter Andy Hug (RIP) you will know of the axe kick. Sometimes called the drop heel kick or Otoshi Geri it is one of them rarely thrown kicks that if landed can do a great deal of damage.

To execute it from a fighting stance you simply swing your back or front leg up keeping it straight and drop it down on your opponent. As your foot makes a decent from its highest position you lean slightly backwards from your upper body so as to keep stabilised, well balanced and for further reach. On contact try to avoid having the striking leg completely straight but bent slightly so as to not damage the knee. Your striking weapon is the heel of the foot. As with all kicks its best to have your standing leg slightly bent also for extra balance. Targets for striking include the top part of the head, collar bone, shoulder, your opponents back (if they are bent forward) and your opponent’s front thigh (if the leg is bent enough).

This is a technique that can work well in most kickboxing and MMA fights. These fighters are used to attacks from the front (straight techniques), from underneath (uppercuts) and from the side (hooks and roundhouse kicks). Rarely do they get attacked with techniques from above coming down which is precisely the route the axe kick takes.

As with all techniques, use it in conjunction with others. Don’t relay solely on it but don’t omit it from your repertoire. Practise it, use it, and have confidence in it and it shall work for you.

I leave you with a compilation of the late great Andy Hug and some of his finest moments. Watch out for the axe kick and all his other spectacular techniques which are rarely seen. Enjoy.


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Tai Otoshi Defence to the Clinch
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Potatoe Fist said...

At our school we don't practice the axe kick hardly at all. I'm pretty sure my teacher doesn't have the flexibility anymore to pull it off so it went by the way side. Fantastic videos - it looked like he could convert a crescent kick beautifully. said...

A lot of schools dont practise it. My experience shows that kickboxers and karate fighters sometimes practise it where Thai fighters rarley practise it. I think this is why it may give an element of surprise when executed.

Andy Hug was surley a great kicker. It seemed natural to him

BBat50 said...

We use axe kicks both in kata and sometimes in sparring. I use in sometimes in sparring: I've found it effective to get the other guy to back off since it's unusual and most guys back out not being sure how to handle it.

I don't think I'd use it twice in the same match.

Anonymous said...

Ive currently done taekwondo 3 months, and i already have a good ae kick due to being naturally good at that movement, and a good teacher. Although n axe kick off the front leg is very difficult, and i havent mastered that yet.

Also, Mark, how effective would you say taekwondo is on the street. Can it be used at all??

I do BJJ, and starting back at boxing, so i have most aspects covered, but im wondering if the TKD is useful, or would I be better going for Muay Thai or kick boxing etc ??

Thanks a lot

Excellant site

MARKS said...

Hi, there is not one martial art that is better than another. To be competant at street fighting you must understand that it invloves slightly different training than say MMA for competition. Although learning the clinch, and submissions are very practical and much needed to become an overall complete fighter, good awareness is the key to surviving on the street. As far as techniques go a good solid punch is very useful to learn.

Anonymous said...

I suppose it can be a useful technique if you’re limber and well-trained and it is very spectacular if you actually manage to pull it off. In the ring it’d say go for it, on the street refrain. If you see it coming it’s fairly easy to defend against (simply step off to the side and counter) but when it lands it obviously has knock-out potential.

In combination with a snap-frontkick it would work even better (you aim for the face and when he backs away on the return you might catch him in the chest or face) but I certainly can’t do it and I’m not planning on spending alot of time perfecting the technique (this one or any high-kicking for that matter).

Don’t get me wrong: it’s a cool technique and all but I doubt even the fighter in the video could pull it off when tired, with jeans and/or heavy boots. As I’ve stated in another post I’m not a big fan of high-kicks: both because of their flaws from a self-defence point-of-view and because of the advice my very first sensei give to me: the techniques you’re practicing now you should still be able to perform even when you’re 70 or 80. It would be a shame to have to quit the martial-arts because you’ve grown too old or learn a new one just because you cannot do the required techniques anymore.

Andy Hug definately was one hell-of-a-figher, it was a pleasure to watch this video. Alot of the techniques looked more like reverse-roundkicks (ura-mawashi geri) than axe-kicks but they were spectacular none-the-less.

Thanks for the video,


PS: in respons to the taekwondo-question, I know it was directed at Marks but maybe this can be of some help. Taekwondo is very good in a sports-context but on the street executing high-kicks becomes a liability: kicking high severly compromises your balance (never a good thing in a street-fight) and if they can catch your kick you’re basically toast (you’ll get thrown to the floor, you’ve got no defence against low-kicks to the groin or knee…).

Anyway: aslong as you remember to keep your kicks relatively low and don’t neglect your punching-abilities you should be fine. Most people you meet on the street cannot really fight anyway and if you keep your wits about and execute your techniques with power, speed and accuracy you’ll prevail. Boxing and BJJ are excellent complementary arts to any type of kicking-art.

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