Spotlight customer reviews:
Summary: Excellent book on the wheel kick!
Comment: When I picked up Wheel Kick by Shawn Kovacich I was already familiar with the first book of his Achieving Kicking Excellence series, Back Kick. I was not expecting a book one would sit and read for pleasure such as a novel or martial art history book. I was expecting a text with detailed explanations on the execution and application of the wheel kick and its variations, and I was not disappointed. Wheel Kick is the most complete written description with photographs of this kick I know of, and is an excellent addition to any martial artist's library. It will be especially beneficial to those that teach the wheel 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.
Wheel 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.
Where Wheel Kick shines is the actual kicking chapters. Most books or magazine articles on kicking have minimal descriptions of each kick. Wheel Kick does much more than briefly describe the wheel kick with a couple accompanying photographs. It is a detailed analysis of every movement of the wheel kick from beginning to end. Wheel Kick explains the wheel kick, variations of the wheel kick, training and drills for kicking, and applications of the wheel kick in one comprehensive volume.
Kovacich details every aspect of the primary kick, the turning wheel kick, including stance, turning, trajectory, impact, and follow through. In addition to the numerous detailed photographs of each stage of the kick, Kovacich includes various diagrams to help the reader understand proper foot placement and pivoting, correct trajectory, and targets and impact. He then describes variations including: step-back wheel kick, spinning wheel kick, hop/slide forward wheel kick, hop/slide backward wheel kick, front leg wheel kick, back leg wheel kick, switch wheel kick, off-setting wheel kick, jump turning wheel kick, and the 540-degree jump turning wheel kick.
Like Back Kick, 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.
Also like Back Kick, the book concludes with a trouble shooting guide to help pin point problem areas with your wheel kicks, and a chapter on applications. Once you have mastered the wheel kick and its variations, you should be able to apply the kick in a sparring or fighting situation and Kovacich provides some of the basic applications he has used and teaches his students.
Shawn Kovacich's Wheel Kick is the second 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: Wheel Kick
Comment: A friend of mine had purchased Mr. Kovacich's book Wheel Kick. She told me how in depth it was and how it broke everything down. So, I thought I might as well try it. What could it hurt? When the book arrived, I sat down to flip through and ended up reading the entire thing. WOW! I can't believe that someone could take one kick and break it down to the smallest detail. With my classes we get shown the basics and go from there with any kick, but this book goes into minute detail over where your entire body should be, even your arms. I started using the book in supplement to my classes and saw myself growing in leaps and bounds. Even my instructor noticed. He told me that he noticed that I was starting to perform kicks that were levels above me. He wanted to know what I was doing differently from the other students. I showed him Mr. Kovacich's book and he said the same thing I did, WOW! He borrowed it for a couple weeks to look it over. I had to fight to get the book back. Even he said that he has never seen anyone that has broken down a kick to the finest details. Now he is teaching some principles from the books in class. I can't say it enough, Thank You Mr. Kovacich for the wonderful book that has help me and my dojo. Keep me posted on the new books.