Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2016) 15, 92 - 101

Research article
A Kinematic Analysis of the Jumping Front-Leg Axe-Kick in Taekwondo
Emanuel Preuschl , Michaela Hassmann, Arnold Baca
Author Information
University of Vienna, Institute of Sport Science, Department of Biomechanics, Kinesiology and Applied Computer Science, Vienna, Austria

Emanuel Preuschl
✉ University of Vienna, Institute of Sport Science, Department of Biomechanics, Kinesiology and Applied Computer Science, Auf der Schmelz 6a, 1150 Vienna, Austria.
Publish Date
Received: 19-06-2015
Accepted: 14-12-2015
Published (online): 23-02-2016
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The jumping front-leg axe-kick is a valid attacking and counterattacking technique in Taekwondo competition (Streif, 1993). Yet, the existing literature on this technique is sparse (Kloiber et al., 2009). Therefore, the goal of this study was to determine parameters contributing significantly to maximum linear speed of the foot at impact. Parameters are timing of segment and joint angular velocity characteristics and segment lengths of the kicking leg. Moreover, we were interested in the prevalence of proximal-to-distal-sequencing. Three-dimensional kinematics of the kicks of 22 male Taekwondo-athletes (age: 23.3 ± 5.3 years) were recorded via a motion capturing system (Vicon Motion Systems Limited, Oxford, UK). The participants performed maximum effort kicks onto a rack-held kicking pad. Only the kick with the highest impact velocity was analysed, as it was assumed to represent the individual’s best performance. Significant Pearson correlations to impact velocity were found for pelvis tilt angular displacement (r = 0.468, p < 0.05) and for hip extension angular velocity (r = -0.446, p < 0.05) and for the timing of the minima of pelvis tilt velocity (r = -0.426, p < 0.05) and knee flexion velocity (r = -0.480, p < 0.05). Backward step linear regression analysis suggests a model consisting of three predictor variables: pelvis tilt angular displacement, hip flexion velocity at target contact and timing of pelvic tilt angular velocity minimum (adjusted R2 = 0.524). Results of Chi-Squared tests show that neither for the leg-raising period (χ2 = 2.909) of the technique, nor for the leg-lowering period a pattern of proximal-to-distal sequencing is prevalent (χ2 = 0.727). From the results we conclude that the jumping front-leg axe-kick does not follow a proximal-to-distal pattern. Raising the leg early in the technique and apprehending the upper body to be leant back during the leg-lowering period seems to be beneficial for high impact velocity. Furthermore, striking by extending the hip rather than by flexing the knee could raise impact velocity.

Key words: Biomechanics, motion analysis, martial arts, timing, kicking velocity, joint angle

           Key Points
  • Angular velocity characteristics of the pelvis segment and the kicking leg’s hip and knee joint show no proximal-to-distal sequencing, neither for the leg-raising or leg-lowering period in a jumping front-leg axe-kick.
  • Anthropometric parameters of taekwondo athlete’s do not influence their impact velocities.
  • In order to raise the impact velocity in the jumping front-leg axe-kick an athlete should avoid tilting back with the torso. Instead, an upright position should be maintained.
  • In the leg-lowering period, we suggest hitting the target by using hip extension with a rather straight knee, instead of flexing the knee.
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