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: Axe Kick (Te Khao)

The Axe Kick, or Te Khao, is a spectacular, but difficult to execute, kicking technique that is used in Muay Thai. This dynamic move requires flexibility, precision, and a good sense of timing. It is named for the axe-like motion of the foot, which rises up high before rapidly descending onto the opponent.

Starting Position

Stand in a balanced stance with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and rotate your pivot foot outward.

The Kick

Raise your kicking foot as high as possible, keeping your knee straight. Then, swiftly bring it down in a vertical or diagonal chopping motion like an axe falling. Aim for your opponent's shoulders, neck or head.

Returning to the Stance

Once you've successfully landed the kick, quickly bring your foot back to the ground and reassume your initial fighting stance. This will prepare you for any subsequent attacks or for the need to defend.

How To Defend

Due to the high arch of the kick, the safest defense is often to move closer to your opponent, decreasing the impact power. If this is not possible, then a high elbow block may be employed.

How To Counter

The best way to counter an axe kick is to move out of its range. Sidestepping the kick can create opportunities for a counter-attack. It is also possible to deflect the kick with a simultaneous high block.

When To Use

In competition, the Te Khao can be used as an unexpected surprise move. It is most effective when the opponent is tired or worn down, increasing the likelihood that they will not be able to properly defend against it. Its dramatic nature also makes it a crowd-pleaser.

While it is a powerful kick, the Te Khao is not commonly used in Muay Thai because it requires a combination of strength, speed, flexibility, and accuracy. If poorly executed, it can leave the kicker vulnerable to a counter-attack.

Overall, the Te Khao or Axe Kick is a high risk, high reward move in Muay Thai. It requires a high level of technical skill to perform and to defend against, making it a move that is both exciting and challenging to master.

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