What is an axe kick?

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by skribs, Oct 3, 2019.

  1. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    This is one of those vocabulary questions, which I think is different from school-to-school, depending on your lineage and how you teach. (Maybe in ITF or ATA these are more standardized). At my school, all of the following are axe kicks. How does this compare to your school, and what you teach?

    • Stretching kick, swing straight up and down to increase range of motion
    • Straight axe kick, which is either very similar to the stretching kick (but with more downward force), or is done like a high front kick over the target and brought down with force
    • Outside axe kick, where your leg is brought up to the outside, and then straight down. Like the straight axe kick, it can be chambered with a swung leg or a snap motion.
    • Inside axe kick, the inside version of the outside axe kick.
    • Outside-Inside crescent kick, at our school we call this the "outside-inside axe kick." (Personally, I would prefer to call it a crescent kick). I kind of understand where my Master is coming from, because he wants us to do it like an axe kick with a bit of a pivot, so we use the ball of our foot instead of the ridge of our foot. He says we can deliver more power that way, and it's safer on your knee. As with the last several, I've done this with a chambered motion or a swung motion.
    • Inside-Outside crescent kick, using the blade of the foot.
    Now, some people separate stretch kick, axe kick, and crescent kick. I've seen some combine stretch kick and axe kick, but then separate crescent kick out. I haven't seen many who lump crescent kick in other than mine.

    Which of these are "axe kicks" to you? Which are not?
     
  2. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    None of them are axe kicks to me - there is no axe kick in ITF...
     
  3. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    What do you call those kicks, then?
     
  4. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

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    I was taught the axe kick as what you describe as an inside axe kick.
    The reason is that in practice firing it straight up is easy to read and easy to stop, and going the other way around the obstacles (from the outside) leaves you especially vulnerable to having the kick caught or getting taken down.
     
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  5. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    From my interpretation of the descriptions:


    • Stretching kick, front rising kick - as an exercise or used as kind of a harassment device.
    • Straight axe kick, not aware of one done in this exact fashion, but a variation of downward kick.
    • Outside axe kick, if the attack is to be downward,closest is a pick shaped kick, a variation of downward kick.
    • Inside axe kick, pretty much a standard downward kick.
    • Outside-Inside crescent kick, .This would be an inward vertical kick - assuming the foot is held vertical, toes up, attack sideways like a high sweeping motion.
    • Inside-Outside crescent kick, .Outward vertical kick, as above.

    There are more variations, either with an addition to the name or a different name entirely.
     
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  6. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    So you have the axe kick, just not in name.
     
  7. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    No, we have a downward kick.

    You have a downward kick too, but decided to call it something else ;)
     
  8. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    Jumbled post, will have to redo it later when I have time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2019
  9. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    • Stretching kick - Front or crescent. The knee is not involved in either.
    • Straight axe, Outside axe, or Inside axe - these are heel kicks each from a different direction. A straight axe is very, very effective if you have a good stretch and use a high knee. I used to be really good at coming out of a clinch and landing a straight axe while my hands were still on my opponent.
    • Outside or Inside Crescent - these kicks use the blade of the foot, each from a different direction.
    Some teach more hip twist on a crescent since it makes a full arc versus going to the apex of the kick and coming down. For me it is more about your foot/body position relative to your opponent.
     
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  10. paitingman

    paitingman Purple Belt

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    All of this is pretty much how I was taught as well, but with crescent kicks considered separate.
    Pretty much anything with the foot striking mostly downward we considered axe kick. Though they can turn into crescent kick easily enough.

    We also practised a lot of axe kicks with the leg bent to start, or with the knee brought close to the chest, but we never had a specific name.
     
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  11. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Green Belt

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    I think axe kicks are weird, not that it's a bad thing, and I don't use them. Number 1, you're in a bad position if you're caught. Number 2, I can't do that kick (unless the opponent is on his hands and knees.) I could claim it's due to my age, but I don't think I could do it 40 years ago. I never tried, though, since I never heard of it back then.
     
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  12. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    You'd be surprised. There was a guy at my dojang who was older and had an injury history, who couldn't kick above his waist during warmups. He got headshots on me left and right in sparring.
     
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  13. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    To elaborate on pdg post. In the ITF There are 2 Kicks that are similar to what others may define as an Axe Kick. Downward kicks moving in an arc from side to side, while the text only shows arc from out to in people also do in to out and at the apex of the arc in a downward fashion to come down with the foot using the "Back Heel" as the striking tool. . The other is a Pick shape kick (Think using "Pick Axe" ) This rises straight up in front of he target with the hips square and the the hip extends forward allowing it to reach out and strike with the back heel or sole. Think of it raising in front of an opponents hnds up guard nd then the forward extension of the hip allows the foot to reach the bridge of the nose or clavicle.
     
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  14. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I learned something new. Thank you sir. An ITF Pick kick and a WT/KKW Front axe sound identical. The mention of pushing the hip is good and very important to making the kick effective.
    To elaborate, the same downward motion from the kicks apex can be performed from either side of the arc (inside or outside). We use the axe kick in these motions mostly based on our leg/body position relative to the opponent or weapon, or whatever the kick is aimed for.

    To expand on @skribs OP, axe/pick kicks and especially crescents kicks are highly effective kicks. Too often thought of as just flashy sparring kicks. They take a good amount of flexibility for head shots or the kick can be broadcast too easily. Both crescents are very good for blind side attacks. Crescents are the best and most reliable over the shoulder kick I know of, largely because they are so easily followed up because of your body position after the kick.
    Bring either kick down to the hand/waist level or lower and they are effective SD tools. IF you want to disarm a crescent to the back of the hand is a valid choice. Takes a LOT of practice. I have used an axe/pick to the thigh several times and it is very effective. Going down the leg, and inside crescent to the inside of the knee, driving the knee outward and down is a finishing strike. I could even make the argument that a spinning sweep to the lower leg/ankle is an outside crescent kick.
     
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  15. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    And makes less sense in class, where you're not wearing shoes, and a lot more sense outside when your feet are the most armored part of your body.
     
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  16. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    Thank you for that explanation - it's a difficult kick to pin down.

    The most common description I've encountered between a downward kick and a pick shaped kick is that the downward kick describes an arc trajectory while the ps kick is straight lines (like a capital A) - both however use a mainly straight leg throughout and are otherwise identical.
     
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  17. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    When the Encyclopedia came out we thought the only difference - based on the photos was >>the downward kick describes an arc trajectory while the ps kick is straight lines (like a capital A) -" However, the downward kick is more of a side to side (either direction Arc) and the Pick shape kick moves up and slightly forward and then from the Apex forward and downward. (I hope this description makes sense. ) With regard to >>>both however use a mainly straight leg<< the text references a knee bend for the Pick Shape kick - except no one does it this way and it is difficult to understand how you could get the needed height with the knee bent.

    The text also references raiing the heel of the support foot as the kicking leg is raised for the Pick shape kick.
     
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  18. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    I think I understand...

    So, based on my interpretation of that description - the first half of the kick (the upward part) is very loosely like a high section front snap kick, raising the support heel for additional height - the second half is akin to the second half of a downward kick but with additional forward extension?

    I had previously taken the knee bend reference to mean a greater bend (as compared to a downward kick) during the actual contact portion of the movement - allowing more contact with the midsole area rather than the back heel. I'm more than prepared to alter that view though.


    If I'm correct it now makes sense with my level of understanding that the downward kick passes any guard around either side to attack downward, while a pick shape passes (or pierces) the guard between opponents to attack forward and downward.

    If I'm not correct it'll need more thought...
     
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  19. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I am not familiar with the Encyclopedia you mention. Can you provide reference material? It may be something I would like to purchase.

    I hope there is no confusion on the stretching kicks. No real magic there; just swinging the leg forward/back or in circular motions sans knee to stretch the upper leg and hips.

    I am in agreement on the Pick or KKW Axe kick trajectory. I have never considers the capital A motion but agree it makes logic.

    KKW kicks are slightly different I think. But in simplest terms, they could be considered an arc shaped kick vs. a straight line kick, however the straight line kick may have an arced component. That being at the entry or chamber of the kick as discussed. The impacting part of the kick is really the defining factor in determining which kick it is. Again, in simplest terms, a kick where the strike is made with the blade (outside edge of the foot) of the foot is a Crescent kick. A kick that uses the heel or back of the heel is an Axe (or Pick) kick.
    ***An exception to this statement would be a Wheel kick that is not relevant to this conversation and hopefully does not confuse the subject.

    This is something I teach and would like to get everyone's thoughts on it.

    Especially for beginners or in a more SD oriented class setting I teach a Crescent kick as more of a Squared motion. The intent being to get more horizontal motion into the strike. This makes it more on the same plane as the target and harder contact since there is no diminishing power from the glancing motion of an arched or angular striking member (foot).
    In essence I teach it as a box.
    Lets use a low/mid level target as an example and say you are standing straight in front of your opponent/attacker for positional reference. During the chamber the knee comes up high and the hip is heavily twisted, corkscrewing the upper body (Um Yang). When the foot is at or near the same plane as the target, trajectory changes via the chamber and twist of the body forcefully bringing the foot across the horizontal plane for a very strong strike on the target. Then After striking through the target the foot comes back down to the ground in a largely vertical motion. Hense a box type motion.
    It is a much easier motion with an Outside crescent kick vs. an Inside crescent.

    For more advanced students I teach that an Inside crescent has a slight circular motion at the end of the kick, in essence bringing the kicking foot back towards your own body. A primary advantage to this in a low/mid kick to a target such as a hand that is holding something is the increased disarming power it creates. Again, the is an Um Yang motion.
     
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  20. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    It's the encyclopedia of taekwon-do, various editions over the years - not entirely sure if it's currently in print though.

    It's not a cheap set for the full 15 volumes though...
     
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