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Axe Kick (Achieving Kicking Excellence, Vol. 3) Paperback – February 14, 2007

5.0 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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About the Author



Shawn Kovacich has been a practicing martial artist for over 30 years, and is a high ranking black belt in both Karate and Taekwondo. Shawn also holds ranking in the martial arts of Aikido, Hapkido, and Judo. Shawn is also a certified Krav Maga instructor and over the past several years has been primarily focusing on a wide variety of armed and unarmed combat fighting skills.

In addition to being a high ranking black belt in both Karate and Tae Kwon Do, Shawn has also worked as a psychiatric aide in a state run mental hospital (and NO he was not a patient), he has also been a law enforcement officer, provided security for a major casino, worked as a bouncer in various bars, nightclubs, and strip clubs, as well as, providing personal protection services.

Shawn has also gained world wide attention for his two world records for endurance high kicking as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. He achieved his first world record on September 27th, 1986 with 10,502 high kicks in 5 hours and 30 minutes. His second record was even more impressive, with 11,000 high kicks in 5 hours 18 minutes and 43 seconds. This was accomplished on January 21st, 1989.

Shawn is the author of the highly acclaimed Achieving Kicking Excellence series of martial arts books, as well as, the highly acclaimed and very well received Achieving Kicking Excellence DVD series. He is currently working on several additional martial arts and self-defense related books, as well as several additional instructional DVDs. Several of these books and DVDs, including a separate book and DVD series on Krav Maga, are scheduled to be released beginning in the spring of 2012 and continuing thru 2014.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Chikara Kan, Inc.; 1st edition (February 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0970749627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970749628
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,668,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Alain B. Burrese TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
The third volume of Shawn Kovacich's Achieving Kicking Excellence series is Axe Kick, and like the first two it is an excellent resource regarding this specific kick. Like other books in this series, Kovacich wrote a text with detailed explanations on the execution and application of the axe kick and its variations. Also like the others in the series, this is the most complete written description with photographs of the axe kick that I know of, and is an excellent addition to any martial artist's library. It will be especially beneficial to those that teach the axe kick and variations in their curriculums.

The author, Shawn Kovacich, set two world records for endurance high kicking that were certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, and has an impressive record in the tournament circuit having competed in tournaments such as the Sabaki Challenge among others. With those credentials, I expect him to provide solid instruction on the execution and application of kicks, and he definitely delivers.

Axe Kick includes brief chapters on basic anatomy, warm up and stretching, strength, speed, and power. Many martial artists, especially instructors, will have more complete references on these topics. However, it is nice to have these brief chapters that have the basics all in one volume, especially for those that do not have a large martial art library. I feel it is important that Kovacich includes these if for nothing more than to introduce the basics and encourage the reader to seek out more instruction on these important elements to kicking. I have said the same thing about the other volumes in the series, but include it here as well to make this review stand on its own.
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Format: Paperback
This is Volume Three of ten books devoted to mastering kicks. Shawn Kovacich devotes this book to the axe kick. This review examines Shawn's book from a practical stand point--how well does this book enable me to learn the axe kick?

Shawn likens a properly executed axe kick to a lumberjack's axe splitting wood. While only right leg techniques are shown, Shawn doesn't think you've mastered the kick unless you can apply it with either leg. This book is geared towards executing the perfect axe kick.

I'm 50, 6'3" tall and 220 pounds, but I'm not an athlete--just healthy. I cannot perform the axe kick higher than my own waist right now--I'll need to improve my flexibility. It isn't too much of a handicap for self defense--or active military service--but for those of you involved in karate matches, you need the high kicks for the match-winning points. Of course, if I fall to the ground or can hold onto something, my kick gains stability, height, and power--at the cost of being fixed in position for an instant. The axe kick uses the heel bone--the back center of the heel bone. Target areas are the head, shoulders, and collar bone.

I have training prejudices: I like to employ mirrors, a video camera or two, a minimum of one sparring partner, and at least one referee when I train. Multiple sparring partners are to keep me from getting stuck kicking at the same height each time, and because in the real world, my problems usually come in bunches. Often, I must train alone or not train at all, so I have to limit my training intensity for safety. A second set of eyes can help spot flaws--and prevent injuries. It is very hard to dial 911 when one's back is thrown out. These kicking techniques can injure the practitioner if done incorrectly.
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Format: Paperback
This series is a fantastic reference for anyone interested in the finer points of kicking, particularly for those of us whose exposure to this aspect of the martial arts has been somewhat limited. I have been doing this stuff since 1970, for example, yet have focused exclusively on styles that have very little emphasis on kicking applications (e.g., Goju Ryu karate, Kodokan judo, and Matayoshi kobudo). Goju Ryu, for instance, utilizes roughly 70% hand techniques. Don't get me wrong, I have a pretty mean mae geri (front kick) that can rock your world, but there are many other leg techniques utilized by other arts that I am simply not at all expert with--hatchet kicks, axe kicks, and crescent kicks, to name a few.

This is why I was so excited to find Shawn Kovacich's comprehensive "Achieving Kicking Excellence" series. If you are familiar with Kris Wilder's outstanding tome, The Way of Sanchin Kata: The Application of Power, these books take a similarly in-depth yet approachable style. Each volume explores one type of kick in great detail, outlining some 50 or 60 technical points (depending on the type of kick), in an easy to understand and utilize manner. At first blush you might think that it would be tough to devote an entire volume to just one type of kick, yet each offering in this exceptional series runs more than 200 pages and is packed with meaningful information.

No dojo darling, Kovacich really knows what he is talking about. A fourth-degree black belt in both karate and taekwondo, he has competed in full contact sparring tournaments (including the prestigious Sabaki Challenge) and is the world-record holder for both endurance- and high-kicking as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records.
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