This book is the first volume in the extremely well written and fully illustrated, Achieving Kicking Excellence series of books.
Like all the other books in the series, this book goes into intricate detail over all aspects of executing the primary kick, which in this case is the Turning Back 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 Back Kick, and then you dive right into learning the proper execution of the primary kick, Turning Back Kick.
Once you have finished with this section, you are taken to the variations chapter which builds upon the primary kick, Turning Back Kick, by teaching you 11 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.
The 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.
After the "Troubleshooting" chapter, 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 finishes up by giving you a sneak preview of the next volume in the series, which in this case is the Wheel Kick.
Spotlight customer reviews:
Customer Rating: Summary: WOW...This book leaves nothing out! Comment: I have a vast library of martial arts books and I must say that this is by far the best book that I have ever read on kicking. To start with, let me confess that at first I was more than a little skeptical about another book on kicking, especially one which covers only one specific kick. I couldn't imagine how there could be enough information on one kick to fill an entire book. Well, now I know. This is the most complete book on the back kick that I have ever seen!
This book leaves nothing out. It covers everything including the anatomy of the leg, stretching, vital targets, foot positioning, timing, distancing, and the importance of correct recoil. Shawn Kovacich covers variations on the back kick which I haven't considered before, and I have been studying martial arts for 25 years. He also delves into training drills, weight training, speed training, and covers several ways to develop your kicking power.
Back Kick is very well written and easy to follow. So many of the technical martial arts books are so dry and boring that is is a struggle to get through them, but Back Kick uses a lot of analogies and great photographs which make it interesting and easy to follow the author's points. I especially found the "did you notice anything wrong photographs" and the trouble shooting section to be very helpful. The pictures really helped to drive home specific points and demonstrated specific mistakes, as well has how a good back kick should look.
Shawn Kovacich obviously knows his stuff! I am totally impressed with this book and plan on reading more of the series. I highly recommend this book to every martial artist who wants to improve his or her kicking skills. Customer Rating: Summary: back kick excellence Comment: I've been practicing the martial arts for over 20 years and the back kick is one of my specialties so I was most eager to read what Shawn Kovacich wrote. I was impressed at the level of detail and the proper foot positioning and distribution of weight. His pictures clearly demonstrated how to execute a proper Ushiro geri as well as variations such as the jumping back kick, the step in back kick, the step back, the offset, the jump 540 (actually the jump 360), the switch back kick, etc. He also devotes quite a lot to conditioning.
Now here are the draw backs of the book.
-Too much repetition (he repeats the same sentences over when explaining the proper mechanics of kicking technique)
- There is no mention of practicing with your back to the wall. This is a technique I've learned in order to condition myself to draw my knee in close to my body.
- Only 30 - 100 squats?? That's child's play. In the dojo, we do 300 - 400.
- The fighting stance he demonstrates is most suited for point fighting. In full contact tournaments and other styles like Kyokushin and Enshin, that stance makes one more susceptible to low kicks and sweeps. The stance should be lower. Even in JKA (Shotokan) style fighting, the stance is lower.
The author states that the book was written for all styles, yet he fails to mention that in many styles, the practitioner is on the balls of his feet much of the time while fighting. Hence it's important to practice this way as well to get used to executing the kick under less than ideal circumstances.
Over all, this was a good book.
Customer Rating: Summary: Valuable set of volumes on kicking for the martial artist Comment: 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 back kick Comment: This is Volume One of ten books devoted to mastering kicks. Shawn Kovacich devotes this book to the back kick: simple, deceptive, but effective. This review examines Shawn's book from a practical stand point--how well does this book enable me to learn the back 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. The back kick is deceptive because most people are no threat when approached from behind. Employing the back kick can get you inside your enemy's OODA loop (John Boyd's Observe, Orient, Decide, Act cycle) and deliver the fight-winning initiative. 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. I'll need to work on my back kick more. Shawn's book has persuaded me that the back kick is worth mastering.
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: Back 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: The Back Kick Demonstrated Correctly Comment: Shawn Kovacich's book "Back Kick" is the first book in 20 in his achieving kicking excellence series. The book is at once a primer and an advance technical manual. It functions as a primer because he covers the basics in the back kick. It has the standard photos showing the reader how to complete the kick. The kick is shown from a variety of positions, such as stepping back kick and spinning back kick (which is shown properly, often people will label the technique a spinning back kick, but end up showing a spinning side - Shawn stays true and demonstrates a proper spinning back kick).
The book, however, functions as an advance book, because it dedicates 200 pages to the back kick. This is more than a standard pictorial book. Many pages are devoted to anatomy and physiology with photos of the muscle groups and skeletal frame. One thing I really enjoyed is his "bad habit" comment reminding people not to drop the leg after executing the kick, but to recoil it. I have sat on many belt tests boards in other's dojos and have to watch this mistake again and again.
There are chapters on weight training to maximize power and executing the kick in a fight. The content of the book is superb; however, the high rating is due largely to outstanding content. There are some nagging problems with photo quality, but I cannot say it in any way it compels me lowing the rating since it in no way distorts the content.