Sunday, 8 February 2009

Andy Hug and the Axe kick

Checking out Mark's training blog and I came across a post about axe kicks. There was of particular note an interesting video dedicated to Andy Hug (1964-2000), a Swiss born kyokushinkai karateka who gained fame on the F1 circuit in Japan and the amazing sobriquet of 'The blue-eyed samurai'. Even more amazing as he had brown eyes.

His trade mark axe kicks are quite something to see.

It seems to me that the effectiveness of the axe kick depends on getting the leg up very quickly. It's a confusing kick to counter. As the foot whips up into the air the defender feels like maybe a crescent kick is coming not knowing that it's really going to come slamming downwards usually on the clavicle, or perhaps even the chin. As the defender it's hard to pick this one out. See at about 41 seconds in the above video the defender raises both his hands either side of his head but too late for hug's kick to raise and pop straight down between them. Wollop (in the vernacular). At 1 minute 15-same deal in slow motion. Kick shoots up fast, confuses 'uke' who's arms protect either side of his head. Shame Hug's foot is now travelling down chinwards. Eat foot.

Hug obviously trained hard and long on getting his kicks rapidly up very high. This makes the axe kick devastating but also check out his spinning crescent kicks and spinning round kicks- fast, furious and fatal...

As with all high kicks there is a risk of becoming unstable and vulnerable to counter, especially if you're striking with force- you don't want to bounce off at this point! But see the way Hug stays rock solid: no tottering, stumbling or chance for the opponent to counter. Of course this is a 'best of' video but check out his stats: W37 (KO22) ,L9, D1. This guy worked and trained hard, and got his high kicks up rapidly.

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