This book is the sixth 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 Front 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 Front Kick, and then you dive right into learning the proper execution of the primary kick, Back Leg Front Kick.
Once you have finished with this section, you are taken to the variations chapter which builds upon the primary kick, Back Leg Front 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 Hook Kick.
Spotlight customer reviews:
Customer Rating: Summary: Get Your Highlighter Ready! Comment: I just finished reading Shawn Kovacich's book Frontkick. I found it to be very complete and detailed, as were the other two books that I have read in the Achieving Kicking Excellence series. I will not go into the front and back matter as I have already covered this material in my other reviews. Much of it repeats as things such as stretching, strength training, speed training, and the like apply to each of the different kicks equally. These specific parts of your training are covered in detail and are a very useful part of this book.
I found that I especially liked the "notes" which are found throughout the book. Shawn's notes are filled with useful and interesting information. Both the kicking applications and the trouble shooting guide were also excellent. I find it refreshing for a martial arts author to be willing to show photos of himself making mistakes in order to point out what you should not do, instead of just showing you how your kick should look. I personally find this teaching technique very helpful.
Obviously Shawn Kovacich knows what he is talking about when it comes to the art of kicking. I highly recommend this book to any martial artist, beginner or experienced, who is interested in improving his or her kicking skills. This book is technically complete and well written, and is a great addition to any martial arts library. My copy is now highlighted, pointing out tips and information that I want to go back and quickly reference. If you are looking for a great book to improve your front kick, this is it! Customer Rating: Summary: The front kick features in this martial arts series of books 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.) Customer Rating: Summary: Master-level technique: the front kick Comment: This is Volume Six of ten books devoted to mastering kicks. Shawn Kovacich devotes this book to the Front Kick. This review examines Shawn's book from a practical stand point--how well does this book enable me to learn the front kick?
I'm 50, 6'3" tall and 220 pounds, but I'm not an athlete--just healthy. I cannot perform the back 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.
My two favorite kicks are the side kick and the front kick. I find them to be the most useful in real-world personal combat, though Shawn's book on the back kick did raise my appreciation for the back kick. The front kick is like a boxer's jab punch--quick in and out. A series of front kicks can be delivered rapidly with just one leg, or a flurry of front kicks from alternate legs can be delivered. The striking surface is the ball of the foot and targets are precision spots such as the face, neck, kidneys, solar plexus, arm pit, groin, knee, and nerve bundles on the thighs. Shawn lists a variety of targets much longer than my list--and has a useful target area diagram on page 29. The front kick must be precise, and because the front kick is less powerful than other kicks, you must kick THROUGH the target to deliver maximum punch.
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. 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: Front 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!
Customer Rating: Summary: Front Kick Comment: Volume 6, "Front Kick" in Kovacich's "Achieving Kicking Excellence" series, like the previous five books, covers the kick very thoroughly. Shawn if anything, is consistent, which aids this series. Format is the same throughout all books so far, which aids the instructor or the student, making information more quickly accessible. The reader knows what to expect, details about muscle groups, target areas, and proper technique are standard. This book serves its purpose well. Customer Rating: Summary: The best book ever written on the Front Kick. Comment: During my past 14 months of regularly attending karate classes, I thought that I was really good at executing the front kick. When I was deciding what other books in the series to order (I had previously ordered Back Kick, Wheel Kick and Axe Kick) I had initially not even considered ordering Front Kick as that was the first kick my instructor had taught me and even he said that it was a really simple kick to learn. After awhile, even he thought I was really good at it. However, I decided that I would go ahead and preorder the remaining eight books (including Front Kick) in Shawn's Achieving Kicking Excellence series. Boy, am I ever glad that I did.
I sure had a pleasant surprise on Valentine's Day when I received an e-mail from Shawn telling me that the rest of the books were back from the printer and that he would be mailing them out to me the following day. Four days later my books arrived via USPS Priority Mail. Although Front Kick was in there, I didn't really take much of a look at it. I just thought that I already knew how to execute it and I didn't really think that there was really anything else I could learn about it. Well, although it stings my pride to say it, I was very, very wrong. Not that I'm not ever wrong, it's just that I should have known better after reading Shawn's first three books.
One weekend I decided to sit down and flip through Front Kick. I didn't get too far into the books when low and behold, I realized that there were at least three things I didn't know for every one thing that I did know, or thought I knew. Several hours and about a dozen cookies later, I finished reading Front Kick for the first time. One of the first things I learned was that even though my front kicks looked good, there was very little substance to them. Because I was one of the people in class that executed the front kick so well, I thought that I was doing fine. After reading the book, I realized that although my front kicks looked good, they were very weak.
I practiced off and on the rest of the weekend and when I went back to class on Monday some of my classmates noticed that I was doing my front kicks different. Even my instructor took notice and he even remarked that I must have received the other books that I had ordered.
Once again, I can't begin to explain to you exactly how much detail Shawn puts into each and every one of his books. My instructor has taught entire lesson plans on the material in this series of books. Most of the times he ends up using my copies and I don't see them for weeks at a time. At least I know what to get him for Christmas, a complete set of books of his own.
Now when we spar, it's harder for my opponents to determine if I am going to use the front kick or another kick. Now I am even finding it easier to go into another combination of punches and kicks or just another kick. Thanks again Shawn for fine tuning my front kick. These books should be a cornerstone for anyone who teaches kicks and for anyone who wants to learn how to kick correctly.