The only real thing the one hand plant reverse or forward high kick has going for it is the element of surprise, mainly due to the fact it isn’t a commonly used technique and so your opponent might not react in the correct manner.
However, that is about all it has going for it. Not only does it completely destroy your center of balance thanks to your leaning over on one hand, it robs you of any defence against a counterattack, as your hands are now completely misplaced and worse still, you have left the back of your stationary leg and buttocks area completely wide open.
In other words, do it fast, land the blow and hope to heaven that your opponent is caught easily by surprise and has mercy on you by not planting his foot squarely in your buttocks!
Axe kicks are a little debatable as to whether or not they are actually effective as an offensive technique, and you often only really find them coming out towards the end of bouts as the combatants tire and their opponent’s defence lowers a little.
Because of the flexibility required to perform an effective axe kick, in other words striking directly on the collar bone, this kick is most associated with female fighters and the young, though there is nothing stopping a full grown man doing it every now and then.
Simple note though, don’t try it on someone who is taller than you, and most important of all, remember that this kick leaves you particularly vulnerable against someone who likes to move in to disrupt your techniques.
In other words, if you are too slow, expect to be lying flat on your back!
This past Saturday and Sunday (7th and 8th of July) saw the hosting of the All Africa Kyokushin Selection tournament, a prestigious event which is used to select the African fighters who will represent the African continent in the Kyokushin World Tournament to be held later this year in Japan. The importance of this event is such that even the head of the Kyokushin Karate, Kancho Matsui flew down to South Africa to take part in the festivities. Combined into this tournament was the SA Nationals, scaled down this year to accommodate the All Africa Selection Tournament. The SA Nationals in fact only hosted the various Clicker (semi-contact) divisions as well as the lighter Knockdown divisions.
Seeing as there werent any heavyweight knockdown divisions for the SAs and my experience level is way too low to even consider taking part in the All Africa tournament, I opted instead to partake in the Open (heavyweight) Clicker (semi-contact) division. Not my favourite discipline because of my lack of speed and general fitness (at the moment), but it was better than not taking part at all. Unfortunately my selected division was once again poorly represented, with only four fighters signing up for it in the end (Meaning that my last place still netted me a nice trophy for my cabinet in the end :D).
Thank goodness though that this time around the tournament was properly organised and run, a complete opposite to the earlier WP tournament I partook in a little while ago. It was held in the UCT Sports Complex and there were about six fighting mats laid out, meaning that the days action was moving along at quite a nice brisk pace. Obviously being in the Open Mens division meant that we were the last of the clicker divisions to fight, meaning I once again had to stand around and wait for my turn (We waited from 8:00 until 11:30 approximately! Ages of doing nothing and watching little kiddies slap each other about. Cute, but sometimes slightly disturbing).
Two of the fighters that had signed up for the Open Mens Clicker division were in fact also signed up for the under-80 clicker event, giving them a distinct advantage in the heavyweight division in terms of speed and manoeuvrability . My first opponent turned out to be one of these two, namely Hilton Jordaan. Ill be perfectly honest: I really wasnt prepared for this – I didnt really train for this event, my fitness is rather low and I’m at my heaviest weight ever at the moment :(. Still, at least I started the fight okay. Because of the first clean hit point system employed, I was actually leading for a large portion of the fight believe it or not (I know the video makes it look otherwise), but as the fight progressed my stamina let me down and I let Hilton score a lot of uncontested points towards the end of the fight which gave him the victory in the end. I did land a rather vicious blow to the side of his head which made me feel a little better though (Ref didnt like it all that much neither did Hilton).
I was pretty pissed off at myself for losing that fight because I had really wanted to win one for a change. Unfortunately this rather negative mood accompanied me into my second fight and although I put up a bit of a fight, my opponent dominated the points. Worse though, I had to abandon the fight two-thirds into it when my left knee unexpectedly twisted, leaving me in a world of pain. I’m getting old and I don’t want to aggravate any injuries, so the minute my knee made a horrible cracking/popping noise that left me unable to stand on it, I told the ref to end the fight I was losing it anyway.
Looking back at it, there wasnt all that many positive things I can take from my performance though at least this time I got over those first timer blanks I pulled in the WP tournament (my first ever fight), so experience is a definitely a plus factor. I’m disappointed that I kept dropping my right cover and I ducked into one of two high kicks coming in from that side. I was also hopelessly flat-footed. However, I did successfully switch to a right foot lead (you can see it in my second fight), which did in fact make for a stronger defensive stance, so that is something Ill experiment more with in the future. I also need to seriously start working on my weight and fitness level though I cant believe I’ve let it slip to its current pathetic level :(
Overall though, I did enjoy the experience of having once again taken part in something like this. There is something quite enjoyable and satisfying about taking part in this sport. Maybe it is the risk and the danger, or just the primal need to hit someone that makes it what it is. And now that I’ve done it, I walk away knowing that all though I’m not all that great a fighter, if push comes to shove I am more than capable of taking care of myself. It feels good to have now finally been able to verify this.
Thing is, I’m getting old and I really don’t want to pick up horrible injuries as it takes much longer for me to recover from them than what it used to, so I’m thinking I might just start looking out for my next sporting experience to replace karate with (actually, I’ve already decided on that to be honest. Ballroom dancing, believe it or not. Chantelle wants to do it and I’m quite keen on learning, so it sounds like a good match to me). Hopefully Ill take part in the Novice tournament towards the end of this year, grade for my blue belt and then call it quits. But well see how things go :)
So although I failed in my bid to win my first fight, I had a good day. My buddy Anton managed to come second in his division, Ryan did all the cool camera work again, I gained some more valuable experience and I got another bright and shiny trophy for my shelf! :)
P.S. My knee was absolutely buggered on Saturday, but it seems to be well on its way to recovery thank goodness. Looks like I missed out on any serious damage!
Below are the videos of my two ‘clicker’ fights (commentary provided by Ryan, Luasanne and Anton). Special thanks to Ryan for all the filming work he put in – as he put it in his own words: “No animals were harmed in this production – only Craig’s pride”. Thanks a million man.
For download purposes: (Careful, they’re large files)
So tomorrow is the big day as I take part in the SAs Kyokushin semi-contact tournament. As per usual I haven’t put all that much training in, but I’m in fairly decent shape so hopefully it will go a little better than my last showing. Also a major bonus this time round is that I know a bit more about the rules and the scoring system for the semi contact bouts, which basically means I stand a slightly better chance of maybe sneaking a win in.
Last time I was merely trying to survive, this time Ill go out there sniffing for blood. Just by the way, when I say semi contact all it means is that we wear gloves and shinpads and win by scoring points. We still go out there trying to smack the crap out of our opponent – Should be fun! :)
Picked up a bit of an injury to my right shoulder in our last practice session on Wednesday though and its been a bit niggly since then. Hopefully it wont affect me too much. My biggest concern is getting my head right for the fight. Last time I was completely and utterly unmotivated this time I’m hoping I can conjure up some kind of fighting spirit or something. Maybe I should bribe myself with a new game or manga perhaps?
Any way, seems like my brother will be tagging along again, bring his video camera in tow, so I should have something to post up here next week.
Wish me luck!
Saturday saw me taking part in my second grading for this particular Kyokushin dojo I’m currently training at. For the lower belts, you can basically advance a belt colour once a year, and so to combat boredom, a half year grading was introduced which basically means you grade for a half-belt upgrade. Seeing as I’m currently on orange belt and the next level is blue meant that I was grading for a blue stripe this time round (I graded for my orange November/December last year).
Now gradings are nothing more than an extended training session where the instructors basically throw all your techniques that you have learnt at you. It is a 2 hour long session and make no mistake, once you’ve finished the session you are dead for the rest of the day. It starts out with the standing basics where you go through a variety of punching, kicking and blocking techniques, utilising the various stationary stances such as kibu-dachi, zenku-dachi and sanchin-dachi. From there you move to the moving basics where basically you do the same as before except that you know move along a straight line while performing the techniques. After the basics have been completed it is kata time. Katas are basically fixed patterns of predetermined moves and techniques that you follow on the instructors count. Once all the different level belts have gone through the katas specific to their syllabus the final stage of the grading kicks in, namely sparring. Now while the sparring is full contact, knock-outs are not condoned and the fighting is done wearing both shinpads and gloves.
Finally, after the sparring (just to rub salt into the wounds) a quick round of physical exercise is thrown in for good measure as well.
Saturday’s grading took place at the Wynberg Girls Junior sports hall on a cold and very wet day. There were actually a very small amount of us grading, probably in the vicinity of 20 people which can sometimes be a little problematic when you realise there aren’t quite enough people to hide behind in case you forget to do something – there’s nothing quite as embarrassing as stepping out in the wrong direction during a kata sequence!
Actually the cool weather was a blessing in disguise to be honest – the November grading last year took place on a scorcher of a day, meaning you were literally slipping in the puddles of your own sweat. The only hassle about the cold however is that your joints are generally a little more unresponsive than what they should be of course! :)
The grading went very well I must report I didn’t make too many mistakes at all. The Katas turned out to be a little too easy as thanks to time constraints, the number of and levels required for the katas were dropped a little. The sparring session went pretty nicely as well, with me facing off with Anton from my club for my first round. Once the sparring was done the final torture began whereby we were all subjected to a number of push-ups, sit-ups and squats. By that stage my body really wasn’t up for it anymore and I shamefully have to admit to gypoing quite a few of the exercises! :P
To be honest, the grading is a bit of a farce in my mind because I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone be failed in a grading before, but it is a hard test of endurance and you can’t help but walk out of there grinning at having achieved what you have achieved on the day! :)
(I also promptly managed to get a little lost trying to get back to Bellville from Wynberg. You’d think retracing your steps would be easy, but NO, not for Mr Lotter it would seem…)
It seems like Ill be back in tournament action a lot sooner than what I thought. Jason Dawes (my current instructor and sensei here at the Brackenfell Kyokushin karate branch) told Anton and myself that he would be training us starting this week for the semi-contact event at the upcoming SA championships in the first week of July.
So no hanging up my gloves just yet it would seem :)
Just in case you were even the slightest bit interested in what I do in terms of karate, Kyokushin karate will be featured for the next 3 weeks on ‘The Warriors’ sport programme shown Saturdays at 14:30 on SABC1. Apparently there’s a short segment airing tomorrow and then more decent length segments for the following two weeks.
“The symbol shown to the right is worn on the front of the gi (uniform) on the left of the wearer’s chest. The symbol is Japanese calligraphy artwork for “kyokushinkai,” which is the name given by Sosai Mas Oyama to the karate style he created.”
For more information on the calligraphy and kankai, click
On the note of Kyokushin, here’s a bit of news regarding Kyokushin Karate’s ongoing saga, click