Thursday, 21 May 2015

The Kick That Changed Our Game

Recently it was announced that Manny Pacquiao would be sued for many reasons and also because “The fight was not great, not entertaining, not electrifying. It was boring, slow and lackluster,” according to a lawsuit filed in Texas alleging racketeering, a claim usually reserved for organized crime.  If lacklustre fights and dull events were the case, then everyone should be suing Taekwondo because that's what it has come to.

It seems ever since the introduction of Electronic Chest Protectors the games has dramatically changed for the worse.  It is definitely not entertaining, electrifying and sure is slow and boring.  Why?  Simply because a cut kick (strong, yet unappealing) is used for offence and defence.  It also debilitates opponent and therefore reduces exchange and slows down the pace of the game.  If cut kick is used constantly throughout the match, it creates a bland action-less match.

While it was said that back kick is the strongest kick in Taekwondo, I'd say that cut kick is probably a close second and also can be thrown much more frequently.

Majority of the male gold medalist from the last world championships, were quite effective with cut kick (Tazegul being an exception).

Notice the men's division was dominated by Iran with three gold medals.  Although, Iran has always been a dominant force in Taekwondo, their top 3 fighters were cut kick pros. 

Hajizavereh - Gold -74 Kg

The Tsunami - Gold -58 Kg

Mahdi Khodabakhshi won his final match with 12point gap

At the same time, one of Taekwondo's greatest athletes won most of his world and Olympic titles by being famous for cut kick.  Steven Lopez was using cut kick long before front leg was popular because back leg delivered much more power.  Although most his matches were not the most exciting, nevertheless he was a strong and effective fighter who knew how to set up his points and defend with the cut kick.  

Steven Lopez - 5 time world Champion and 2 time Olympic Gold

So now the secret is out that the cut kick is an effective kick that can hurt/disable opponents while becoming more popular amongst world class athletes.  Many schools are now teaching the foundations of cut kicks to their beginner students.   This means that the future of our sport will continue to see the rise of cut kicks despite the removal of bottom sensors from the e-socks.

I agree that the removal of the bottom sensor may reduce scoring by cut kick, however, I also believe that changing the rules by reducing "Kyongo's" such as grabbing, pushing or moving to avoid a cut should be allowed and could potentially create much needed excitement for our sport.


Akmal Farah is former Canadian national team member, current coach and owner of Authentic Taekwondo in Markham.