Kake-geri, the hook kick is the complement to the roundhouse kick. Both kicks trace large, arcing paths towards their targets, leading to their popularity in movies and television. Whereas a roundhouse kick travels from outside-to-inside, hook kicks loop from inside-to-outside. Hook kicks can only be thrown from a side-facing guard, and provide some variety in your attacks from that position.
Hook kicks are deceptive, because up until the last second, they look like side kicks which have missed its target. Since this technique builds upon side kicks, it is reserved for intermediate students .
Like all of our other kicks, throwing hook kicks is a four-point procedure, so be sure to do it by the numbers:
- Chambering. Begin from a horse stance, facing 90° away from your opponent; you must assume a side guard to hook kick. Then, enter a walking or fighting crane stance, as per usual. Again, raise the knee of the kicking leg as high as possible, and your knee must be “past parallel” -- with your knee higher than your hips.
- Kick. Essentially, you throw a side kick to a point 6-12” (15-30 cm) outside of the opponent, seemingly missing them. Before your leg fully extends, sharply bend your knee, pulling your foot towards your butt. This will result in a horizontal strike that contacts the opponent with your heel. Since the motion is like a side kick, you must also:
- Open your hip to the outside prior to kicking, and turn your knee to the inside while kicking.
- Pivot your supporting foot 90° to the outside, so your toes point away from your kick.
- Switch your hands to cover your face and groin.
- Arch your back while kicking for additional power and stability.
- Avoid leaning to the side to increase the height of the kick.
- Re-chambering. This kick ends in an awkward position. Quickly twist back into a walking or fighting crane stance, to keep the opponent from catching your kick, or using your leg as a lever to rotate your body. Do not use you kick as part of a giant step; that gives the opponent an opportunity to leg sweep you.
- Stepping out. After kicking, return to a bent-knees attention stance, and slide either leg into whatever stance you chose.
[Hook kick videos, fast and slow, from the front and side.]
Since hook kicks strike from the side, they are best used against an opponent’s jaw, temple, skull, neck, or floating ribs. While we normally do not advocate kicking to the head, our active discouragement of high kicks provides an added element of surprise in the off chance when we do.
To cover more ground, pull your back leg up into a transitional attention stance and proceed from there. Professional wrestling fans will recognize these step-up hook kicks as either a superkick or a Sweet Chin Music, depending on who’s throwing them.
A popular variant, the spinning hook kick is essentially a wheel kick with the hook kick's knree-bending motion added for extra power. Spinning hook kicks are advanced moves which can cover lots of space and deliver crushing power. However, spinning technique setups always require turning your back to the opponent, which renders yourself momentarily defenseless. However, if you ever to find yourself twisted and off-balance, using that unfortunate position to set up a spinning hook kick can force the enemy to momentary retreat, and buy you the time needed to recover your balance. Because spinning hook kicks frequently appear in action movies, they can sometimes intimidate untrained opponents into retreat or surrender.