Heel Kicks

by Jinryu

When I was first learning martial arts, I remember that there were two moves that I thought were cooler than any of the others. They depends on what school you come from– some people call it a spinning heel kick, some call it a reverse hook kick, whatever.

Say I’ve got my left side in front and my right side to the rear.  The kick involves me spinning clockwise and whipping out my leg to hit the opponent with my heel with a laterally oriented chopping motion.  You would try, for example, to hit the right side of his head with this.

The reason why I liked this move so much was because it just looked cool to spin, and because the focus mitts that we used were made of a very dense and hard foam.  It would make a loud bang whenever the instructor hit that.

But it also came to represent something that I was never really confident at.  And, being who I was, that meant it was difficult, and that I should skip that kind of training in favor of what was easy.  I could do it half well in isolation during drills, but I almost never used it in sparring or competition for whatever reasons.

The other technique is usually called an “axe kick,” though a small percentage also call it a “drop kick.”  It’s also a sort of heel kick, but it’s a downwards vertical kick that you’re meant to drop on your opponent, ideally their skull or collarbones.  This is a technique which, though I’d seen, I’d never practiced until very recently.

Just last year, after years of inactivity as far as martial arts go, I started practicing to perform both of those kinds of kicks. And while I was still uncomfortable at using the spinning heel in a sparring situation, I have managed to painstakingly add in the axe kick at least. 

I’ve been successfull with it; but it started off as really useless because my timing was terrible, it was telegraphic, and it lacked power. I looked like an idiot when it didn’t work, but I sucked up my pride and paid my dues to get some experience with it.  And though I’m far from mastering it, I feel that it’s part of my toolset now.

I guess that would be fine and dandy if I were just talking about kicking but the same pretty much follows about the rest of life, it just so happens that kicking is a good example for me because I’m not young anymore, at leats not in terms of the kinds of sparring that I enjoy.  I have a great deal of respect for Randy Couture simply because of his age– the man is a beast of fighting spirit, considering his age compared to most of the industry, and I too hope to be practicing what I enjoy when I’m older.

I guess what I’m getting at is that sure, we get older, but that doesn’t mean we lose the potential to learn.  It’s mostly that we become more prideful of ‘the way things are’ that we’ve decided on, and that means that we don’t want to shake things up very much, especially in areas that we’ve done a fair amount of hours in because those are the defining parts of our lives.
What I’m getting at is that, although it’s true– we’re slower to get up, healing takes longer, pain lasts longer– we needn’t simply let things stagnate, we can find new ways to appreciate old things, we find ways to build upon old methods to update them to our evolving understanding of the way things work.  All it takes is a moment to swallow our pride.


I caught the flu the other day.  Don’t ask which kind. Today at 1:40 AM marks day 3 of feeling like a sack of shit.  But, I’m getting through it a lot faster than expected, and who knows– I might even be eating normally when I wake up in the morning!

I started training in another department yesterday.  It’s another section of the Emergency jurisdiction, and technically, I didn’t need to train in this department, but I did request it so that I could get a better understanding of the big picture.  It’s only been a day but I went from confusion to “this isn’t soooo bad…” and I’m glad I did it.  Things, as a whole, really do make more sense now.


When I look around me at work, there is nothing but life.  Children are either running around and smiling or just crying.  Either way, there’s energy, you can feel the enthropy in the air.  I ususually feel tired around people who move too much, but I think that living life in Asia for a year makes it impossible for me, nowadays, to slow down.  Even when I’m doing something slowly, or not doing anything at all, I feel like there are tensions within me, finely in balance– there’s always something going on.

I haven’t decided yet if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.

I think I’m not really afraid of dying so much as stopping.

Stopping what?

I dunno.  Everything.

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