This book is the ninth 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 Roundhouse 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 Roundhouse Kick, and then you dive right into learning the proper execution of the primary kick, Back Leg Roundhouse Kick.
Once you have finished with this section, you are taken to the variations chapter which builds upon the primary kick, Back Leg Roundhouse 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 Side Kick.
Spotlight customer reviews:
Customer Rating: Summary: Useful as a primer or advanced text Comment: I took some time after reading Shawn's other books to due provide the reviewer and Shawn's books a sincere examination. Was I reading them too quickly and less critically? After all, his format is similar through the series; it would be an easy mistake to do (although this similarity is a strength for this "kicking" series).
Shawn's book on the roundhouse kick is simply outstanding. I did have a couple of minor cripples, but they are so minor they do not justify a 4 star rating because ultimately, it came down to the switch roundhouse kick that I think works well in some few situations, most notably a TKD type tournament, while may at times have drawback in full contact competition. I just wished this had been discussed. The switch roundhouse can be useful there as well, but a more detailed discussion should have followed. With that said to lower the rating this time on this kick for one area would be an injustice.
The roundhouse kick is probably the most widely used kick for competition and sparring purposes. Thank for a second: It is the primary kick for Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, MMA, and full contact karate fighters like Sabaki practitioners. Great resource!
Customer Rating: Summary: Tae Kwon Do and other Martial Artists will benefit Comment: Valuable set of volumes on kicking for the martial artist
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: Another great book full of details, details, and more details! Comment: Before I found my current school and instructor, I had been looking around my area for an instructor to teach me martial arts. At one of the places I tried, the instructor offered me a free class so that I could decide if I wanted to join his school or not. Since it was free I decided to try it out. I should have known better as nothing is ever really free. About half way through the class, the instructor was telling me that I would have to perform a Roundhouse Kick. I had heard of them, but never performed them. I told him that I had never had any classes before and I didn't know how to do it. He didn't really show me at all how to do the kick, he just told me to turn to the side and throw the kick from my hip. As you might well imagine I didn't do very good. After the class was over my hip started hurting badly and when I tried to get out of the car when I got home I started crying. A couple of days later I learned that I had thrown my hip out of place. Needless to say I never went back there again.
A few weeks after that a friend of mine told me about my current school so I took a chance and checked it out. And I am very happy that I did. My current instructor is so nice and always has that little extra time to work with each one of us students. However, when it came time to learn the roundhouse kick, I was a bit apprehensive as you might imagine. After a few weeks I started to get the hang of it and actually felt pretty comfortable executing it, at least in practice. It was about this time that I first heard of Shawn Kovacich and his Achieving Kicking Excellence series of books.
After doing some research, I went ahead and purchased Back Kick and Wheel Kick from Mr. Kovacich and then was lucky enough to get a copy of Axe Kick in PDF format before the official release of that book. Needless to say, I was literally stunned with the amount of detail that was in every book. Because of the quality of these books, I preordered the remaining books in the series. Out of all of the books in the series, Roundhouse Kick was the one that I was really anticipating. So when I finally got my copy of Roundhouse Kick, I started to devour the information. I literally learned oodles and oodles of information on what I was doing wrong and how to correct it. This book, like all the others in the Achieving Kicking Excellence series, breaks down the primary kick, which in this case is the Roundhouse Kick, to its finest details. One of the many things that I learned, was that I was not pivoting properly and that my upper body was doing all kinds of things that it shouldn't have been doing when I was executing each kick.
This is a great book for anyone, from the person that is just starting to learn how to kick, to the person that has been practicing kicks for years. The details that are included in each book are truly something to behold. I have never seen any book on the martial arts that has this kind of detail. You are to be commended for writing and producing such a fantastic series of books. I look forward to reading the rest of your books in the series and I have no doubt that I will be equally impressed with each one if not more so. Customer Rating: Summary: A valuable resource for practitioners of most any martial art Comment: 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. Kovacich has been teaching martial arts since 1985 and this knowledge, skill, and ability really shine through in his writing.
The text is clear and comprehensive, yet written in everyday language that just about anyone can easily grasp. No matter how good the writing, however, this sort of topic needs wide-ranging illustrations to ensure thorough comprehension. Fortunately there are tons of them. Regrettably though, the pictures are quite dark and/or grainy in most places (my only real complaint about the series). Despite the fuzziness of the photo printing, however, the pictures themselves are first rate as are the corresponding illustrations. Most of the pictures not only have captions but also reference numbers that align with the text to assure further clarity. There are separate illustrations that show the appropriate foot position and base of support for each movement too. This layout method is really slick; I like it a lot. There is a pretty good index in the back that supplements the table of contents too, so you can easily refer back to anything you will want to re-read later on (and you'll almost certainly want to refer back to much of this information later on).
While the front and back matter are virtually identical amongst the various volumes (such that each one can stand alone without the rest of the series), the core content is unique for each type of kick. This front and back matter (e.g., warm up and stretching) is a bit cursory too, though that is perfectly understandable given the primary focus of the books; truly nothing to be overly concerned with in my opinion. Each volume in the series is laid-out in an identical manner and includes the following topics:
-- Basic anatomy of the kick
-- Warm up and stretching
-- Principles of the kicking movement (e.g., stability, balance, sequence of movements, speed, accuracy, targeting, visualization, etc.)
-- Performing the primary kick (e.g., fighting position, knee raise, coil, impact, follow-through, recoil, knee drop, return to fighting position).
-- Performing variations from the primary kick (e.g., step, switch, jump, spin, cross-over, etc.)
-- Training and practice methods (e.g., skill, strength, speed, and power training)
-- Trouble shooting the kick
-- Kicking applications against an opponent
-- Author's awards and accomplishments
-- Recommended reading
No matter how well written, you cannot learn martial arts solely from a book, of course, but this series is a fantastic supplement for hands-on instruction. It covers important nuances that are rarely described adequately by most sensei (or sifu, etc.). I have found that, in general, books can reach a level of clarity and comprehensiveness that is simply not achievable with DVDs as well. This series is no exception to that rule. Despite a bit of redundancy amongst the various volumes, the technical merits and detailed analysis of the kicks make these books a stellar resource for any serious martial artist. I'm proud to include all ten volumes in my library.
Author of Surviving Armed Assaults, Martial Arts Instruction, The Way to Black Belt, and The Way of Kata