CompleteMartialArts.com - Crescent Kick (Achieving Kicking Excellence, Vol. 4)
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Manufacturer: Chikara Kan, Inc.
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Label: Chikara Kan, Inc.
Manufacturer: Chikara Kan, Inc.
Number Of Pages: 224
Publication Date: 2007-02-14
Publisher: Chikara Kan, Inc.
Release Date: 2007-02-14
Studio: Chikara Kan, Inc.
This book is the fourth volume in the extremely well written and fully illustrated, Achieving Kicking Excellence? series of books.
This book, like all the other books in the series, goes into intricate detail over all aspects of executing the primary kick, which in this case is the Back Leg Crescent Kick, and several of its main variations.
Starting with a basic anatomical analysis of this kick, you quickly progress to the basic principles associated with the Crescent Kick, and then you dive right into learning the proper execution of the primary kick, Back Leg Crescent Kick.
Once you have finished with this section, you are taken to the variations chapter which builds upon the primary kick, Back Leg Crescent Kick, by teaching you 10 of its main variations. From here you are taken to the Training and Practice Methods chapter for a look at some very simple, yet effective methods for adding speed and power to your kicks.
Your next chapter takes a question and answer approach to some of the most common problems people have executing these kicks and the solutions to correct them.
The next chapter in this book deals with a brief application section for each of the kicks previously detailed in this book. Please be advised that a second ten volume series of books is currently being written which deals strictly with the combat and tournament applications of each kick.
The book then gives you a sneak preview of the next volume in the series, which in this case is the Reverse Crescent Kick.
Spotlight customer reviews:
Summary: Crescent kick Excellence
Comment: Like all the titles in Shawn Kovacich's Achieving Kicking Excellence series, book 4 Crescent Kick is a comprehensive study of one of the important kicks used in modern martial arts today. The book is incredibly thorough with numerous photos demonstrating the every aspect of the kick in minute detail. Mr. Kovacich knows his stuff and it is obvious that he has spent many hours honing his technique. The book provides an in-depth study of the bones, muscles and mechanics involved in the kicking technique.
In addition, the book contains a wealth of supplemental information on strength, speed and power generating exercises to enhance the technique. There is also a section on stretching as well as the application of the technique.
This book is ideal for any martial artist who wishes to perfect their crescent kicking ability. The beginner will find a wealth of information to assist in developing proper mechanics while the advanced practitioner will glean some vital knowledge from an accomplished teacher.
Be sure to check out the other books in this series. You are sure to find one that addresses the specific kick that you need work on.
author of Zen Yoga: A Path to Enlightenment through Breathing, Movement and Meditation
Summary: Excellent Kicking Resource!
Comment: The fourth volume of Shawn Kovacich's Achieving Kicking Excellence series is Crescent Kick, and like the first three 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 crescent kick and its variations. Also like the others in the series, this is the most complete written description with photographs of the crescent 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 crescent 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.
Crescent 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.
The reason to include this book in your library is for the instruction on the crescent kick. Kovacich starts out with a very good description of the basic principles of movement for the crescent kick including target areas. He then delivers an excellent description with pictures of how to perform the back leg crescent kick. I don't think a person could give a better explanation with pictures in written form than Kovacich does here. I also like that he uses a clock face to help describe the motion and positioning of the kick. I thought this was a very good way to deliver his information to the reader. The next chapters teach variations of the back leg crescent kick including: Step-Back Crescent Kick, Back Spin Crescent Kick, Spin Back Crescent Kick, Hop/Slide Forward Crescent Kick, Hop/Slide Backward Crescent Kick, Front Leg Crescent Kick, Switch Crescent Kick, Off-Setting Crescent Kick, Cross-Over Crescent Kick, Butterfly Crescent Kick, and the Back Spin Crescent Kick (with the left leg).
Kovacich includes training and practice methods, a trouble shooting guide, and crescent kick applications in subsequent chapters. This rounded out the book to make it a complete stand alone volume on the crescent kick, and by far the best resource out there on this difficult technique.
One of the things I really enjoy in this series of books is the note section. Each chapter has notes and in these you find excellent gems of wisdom. Not only will they help your kicking on the described kick, but are relevant to other kicks too. I might not agree with every one of his notes, such as your first line of defense being kicks, since I believe it really depends on the situation. However, the all make you think, and some are right on, such as one in this volume that states: "For optimum results upon impact, you must use a combination of proper technique, along with an explosive combination of speed and strength." I wrote about similar issues in the kicking chapter I wrote in Fighter's Fact Book 2 with Loren Christensen when I said to kick `em hard and kick `em fast.
Like the other books in this series, a person could criticize this text regarding the repetitiveness of some of the pictures and descriptions of the wheel kick variations. If you are reading this book straight through cover to cover, yes, the repetitiveness could become boring. If you are using the text as Kovacich intended, as a learning tool, this should not be a factor. I much rather have each kick explained in its entirety, rather than be referred to a different part of the book for the elements that are similar or the same. There is a big difference in a book intended to be read from cover to cover and a book intended as a resource guide. The Achieving Kicking Excellence series are guide books, and the format is perfect for this kind of instruction.
Shawn Kovacich's Crescent Kick is the fourth book of the series and an excellent instructional text for any student or instructor of the kicking arts. Its detailed descriptions and photographs are clear and easy to understand, while his kicking notes provide quality instruction and advice to improve one's training and execution of this important kick. I am definitely looking forward to future volumes in the Achieving Kicking Excellence series.
Reviewed by Alain Burrese, J.D., author, speaker
Hard-Won Wisdom From The School of Hard Knocks, Hapkido Hoshinsul, Streetfighting Essentials, Hapkido Cane, and The Lock On Joint Locking series
Summary: Kicking form and technique plus much more for the martial artist
Comment: Achieving Kicking Excellence
If you are a novice martial artist, a kick-box exercise video nut, or someone who wants to advance their knowledge of martial art kicks, this book looks as if it would be very helpful.
The series of books is organized by type of kick: back, wheel, axe, crescent, reverse crescent, front, hook, hatchet, roundhouse, side kick. Ten books in all.
The volumes are absolutely loaded with pictures of not only kick technique but also of helpful strength-with-weight exercises, especially gym exercises with machines like the hack squat and leg press sled and of course the all-important lunge. So you get not only a discussion of how-to, but of what exercises can improve overall performance by gaining muscle strength. There are pictures with overlays of angles and axes, giving you an idea of proper form, though there is no substitute for a sensei giving you real-time feedback, of course. So these books are a good adjunct to martial arts class in the dojo; something to read and then take to practice and work on with real-time help.
There is a section on sparring--right and wrong. There is a suggested reading list in the back. A very complete series.
The only thing these volumes suffer from is slightly dark and low contrast black and white photograph reproduction due to pictures being on paper stock and not glazed plate stock, in order to keep costs reasonable for publishing. And the cover photo is wonderful but the graphic design (showing the title being shattered by the someone doing the title kick) was a GREAT concept but you can't read the title on the front cover (because it's being kicked to bits!) This is annoying; you have to read the spine to see which kick the book is about. If this bugs you, it's easily fixed: get some stickers or a Sharpie and mark the front cover with something like SIDE KICK VOL 10 or whatever works for you.
Author Kovacich is a black belt in both Karate and Tae Kwon Do (which of course is one of the martial arts for which the kick is the premier technique.)
Summary: I thought I had a good kick then I bought this book and found out it only looked good!
Comment: When I first started taking Tae Kwon Do classes, the first three kicks that I learned were the front kick, crescent kick, and the reverse crescent kick. The reason why I, and all new beginners, learned these kicks first is because they are generally speaking the easiest to learn and the simplest kicks to use, or so I thought. Once again I thought that I had this kick down pat along with its sister kick reverse crescent kick, and front kick. Well thanks to Mr. Kovacich and his Achieving Kicking Excellence series of books I was in for a big surprise.
The whole time that I have been practicing the crescent kick every one of my classmates kept telling me what a good looking kick I had. Well, they were right it was a good "looking" kick, but I soon found out that it only "looked" good and that there was really nothing at all to my kick. Once I started reading Crescent Kick, the 4th volume in Shawn Kovacich's Achieving Kicking excellence series, I became aware of so many small little things that I was either doing wrong, or wasn't doing at all, that was having a dramatic impact on the actual effectiveness of my crescent kick.
Mr. Kovacich covers everything about the kick from the pivoting on the ball of your base leg foot to the correct area of your kicking foot to strike with and absolutely everything in between. This is truly a remarkable series of books and I am still dumbfounded at just how much information is packed into each book on a single solitary kick. You would think that some kicks are so simple that there is no way you could write a 200+ page book on the subject. Well you would be wrong. I have read this book several times already and I have picked up something new that I had missed each and every time I have read it. Mr. Kovacich is truly an amazing martial artist and he surely has the technical skills down when it comes to kicking.
I highly recommend that you purchase all ten volumes in the Achieving Kicking Excellence series and you (and your instructor) will see your kicks literally improve by leaps and bounds. I'm so glad that I found these books as I know I would not have improved so well in my kicking skills without the additional insight. Thank You!
Summary: Master-level technique: the crescent kick
Comment: This is Volume Four of ten books devoted to mastering kicks. Shawn Kovacich devotes this book to the crescent kick. Shawn compares this kick to a cat's claw strike--it is rapid and powerful. In 1988 I was demonstrating riot control techniques to members of the 533rd MI Bn (CEWI) in an effort to change our riot control equipment from rifle and bayonet to riot shield and baton. I employed a crescent kick to the riot shield just to let me slip my bayonet behind the shield--the kick was unexpected (it came in through the blind area created by the shield) and powerful enough that I laid out the rather sturdy sergeant holding up that shield. My failure to prove the shield superior for riot control did have a positive result--my battalion got out of the riot control business. If you don't need to fight, don't. But Kicking Excellence: the Crescent Kick only touches on application. Shawn concentrates on correct kicking technique in minute detail. This review examines Shawn's book from a practical stand point--how well does this book enable me to learn the crescent kick?
I'm 50, 6'3" tall and 220 pounds, but I'm not an athlete--just healthy. I cannot perform the wheel 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 crescent kick uses the heel bone--the bottom of the heel. Target areas are the lower legs and forearms and the face and neck. I've used the crescent kick occasionally even though it isn't my favorite--but it is fast and deceptive because of the angles it comes in from. Shawn uses a wheel and a watch to help the reader visualize the arc of the kick and explains follow-through. The crescent kick can be used from standing or even flat on your back--but is best used from standing. Even though Shawn shows the crescent kick mostly from the right leg, he recommends training with both legs. I find that a series of crescent kicks can be much like a series of boxer's jabs--even if I keep my kicks low. That should be reason enough to practice on both sides. Variations of the crescent kick--well, I'm not going to try rewriting Shawn's books; I'm only describing what's in those books so that the reader can determine if these books meet the reader's training needs.
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. Shawn warns that using a swimming pool for training requires a partner for safety--if something goes wrong, the partner is there to prevent drowning and phone for professional help. These kicking techniques can injure the practitioner if done incorrectly. I like both mirrors and video because when I initially practice, I can watch myself in the mirror. For realistic practice, I need to concentrate on technique and the target instead of watching my own reflection--instant video playback aids me in spotting what happened. I can even figure out if my kick was in the right place or not! Shawn wrote about the "crawl, walk, and run" phases of training and the basic and advanced kicking techniques are covered in detail. Exact detail. Train at your own risk. I perform a risk reduction prior to training--assess the risk level and employ risk reduction techniques to make training safe. Remember that training is synthetic reality, intended to be less expensive than gaining real-world experience.
I think that "Achieving Kicking Excellence: Crescent Kick" is well organized. There are ten chapters. The introduction defines the kick and advises how to use the book. Chapter One is kick anatomy: bones and muscles. Chapter Two recommends warm up and stretching exercises. Chapter Three is Basic Principles: striking surface, target areas, and 11 other key points. Clear graphics left me with little doubt about what part of the foot to apply and where to hit my opponent. Chapter Four covered the primary kick technique. Again, the graphics are very clear. They include "dance step diagrams" showing where the feet go--footwork is critical to effective kicking. The photos have numbered labels stressing correct positioning of each part of the body. Chapter Five is variations of the primary technique. Chapter Six covers training and practice techniques to achieve skill, strength, speed, and power. Chapter Seven is a trouble-shooting guide. Chapter Eight is applications: how to use this in competition or combat. Chapter Nine is Shawn's awards and accomplishments. Chapter Ten previews the next volume in the series. There are a table of contents, a recommended reading list, and an index.
This is an excellent study guide. I can train some now, on my own, and when I find training partners (sparring partners and a referee) I might even get proficient!