In a modern Tae Kwon-Do championship fight, such as the olympics, the competitors wear chest protectors – which restricts movement. It was because of this lack of mobility that the Axe Kick was developed in Korea during the 1970’s. The Axe Kick is now the most uniquely comprehensive fighting kick in Korea, being thrown out about 80% of the time.
For Self-Defence purposes, the Axe Kick is a powerful addition to anyone’s arsenal, requiring not a lot of distance in order to effectively throw out the kick.
The Axe Kick places a great strain on the hamstrings, and because of this it cannot be thrown safely unless these muscles are well stretched and conditioned. Additionally, this kick is aided by the illicus muscle which holds the leg high and the lumbar muscles in the back which provide support as the kick is brought crashing down on the target.
A common error of this kick is to just swing the leg without leaning the hip into it. This will reduce both the speed of the kick as well as its power.
Other errors are leaning forward, which will keep your leg from rising as high as it can, and over-bending the balancing leg, which robs the hamstring and hips of the full benefit of the stretch.
Also, don’t just drop the kicking leg – you must flex the biceps femoris muscle and pull your leg down sharply across your target.
Inhale before you kick and as you perform the kick, exhale sharply. When you return to ready stance, inhale again.