Ernesto Hoost: The Perfect Low Kick

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by LawrenceKenshin, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. LawrenceKenshin White Belt

    LawrenceKenshin
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    The legendary Ernesto Hoost was a four-time K-1 World Champion. To many, he's known as Mr. Perfect and Mr. Low Kick. Of course, consistent "perfection" doesn't exist in the combat world. But Ernesto Hoost was very consistent in many of his attacks, and this attack I'm about to highlight was truly very close to perfection.

    The Highlight:

    Let's take a moment to enjoy this low-kick highlight made by BKM.

    [YT]WEfYAI7KrvA[/YT]

    Greg Jackson: A Law in Martial Arts

    "The first law is everything in 2. If he blocks the rear leg kick then I hit him with the left. Or it switches to a front kick... Everything in 2s, there is no single move. As long as you follow the principles, you have a very good chance in winning." Link : Seminar at Evolve MMA.

    The Left Hook into Low Kick:

    Most mid-level strikers know this trick. By throwing the left-hook and landing it, it effectively shifts the opponents weight onto his lead leg. Since defending a kick is done by raising it (to "check" the kick), downward pressure from the hook creates an extra timeframe for the low-kick.

    [​IMG]

    Another Gif


    However, this technique won't be nearly as successful against experienced strikers, as it is a very common and understood concept.

    Ernesto Hoost's Left Hook into Low Kick:

    [​IMG]

    1. Jab entrance ; 2. Right hand checks the left hand ; 3. Left Hook ; 4. Low Kick

    The same technique? : Left hook into low kick... What's so special about what Ernesto does? Why is the opponent raising his leg? Why are they so helpless and why do they "allow" Ernesto to get away with such committed attacks?

    More Examples:

    1 ; 2 ; 3 ; 4


    As you can see, Ernesto Hoost is consistent. This isn't even a significant portion of the screen captures of the same thing happening over and over against his various elite opponents.

    The Convincing Principle:

    When you can convince you're opponent that your are throwing something else than what you're throwing, it's going to be a devastating attack. If you're opponent cannot prepare for an attack, his only option is to take it.

    The Convincing Left Hook Transition:

    [​IMG]

    Notice his upper body. Normally, a left-hook is thrown by transferring the weight forward and then back. Instead, when Hoost throws the left-hook, his body is more than half-way into the position of a right low-kick. This by effect, draws a check from his opponent (raising of the leg).

    The Effect of the Left Hook:

    [​IMG]

    Leaving his weight forward, Hoost takes a 45+ degree step to transition from the left hook to the low kick

    When you throw a left-hook to someone who is standing on one foot, it's nearly impossible to keep the raised-leg up. The impact on the core will off-balance the opponent enough that they have no option but to step down. On it's way down, it becomes literally impossible to defend the low-kick.

    A Closer Look at the Body Shot:

    [​IMG]

    If the left-hook to the head isn't convincing enough to draw a check, then Hoost would often throw one to the body. On its way down, Hoost takes the 45 degree step and slams his entire bodyweight into his kick.

    Level Change and Forward Scrunch:

    [​IMG]

    Hoost's low-kicks are full commitment and full power. He swings his right arm down for extra momentum, and his left would often be in position to balance rather than to guard. But this doesn't mean that he doesn't have a defence built in, should his opponent miraculously find a timing to counter his near perfectly timed kick.

    First off, he is positioned off the center-line.

    And to add, since the best (power punch) counter to a right low-kick is a right-straight (straight down the pipe), Hoost does something that is again double purpose.

    1. By scrunching down and forward, he is fully committed to the attack, and in doing so he multiplies the power of the kick.

    2. Look at where his head is relative to his opponent's hand (highlighted by the blue line). If the opponent was able to fire off a right-straight, then it would hit the forehead.

    The forehead is the hardest part of the head (it breaks hands) and it's common for skilled strikers to take a punch there as a last resort.

    No Check:

    Even if Hoost does not draw a check, his left-hook off balances his opponent enough for him to throw the kick. However, Hoost will always put full power to it and by doing so he also changes levels. In this particular case, he had his opponent thinking about a high-kick, and the opponent was left with a right hand without a straight target.

    Examples:
    1 2

    Conclusion:

    Let's look at some of the principles at play again.

    Greg Jackson's law of effective techniques- everything ought to come a set of twos.

    Set 1:

    a) The left-hook is often followed by a low-kick. Since this is a common technique amongst strikers in practice, people have a natural inclination to raise the leg already.

    b) Hoost also convinces the opponent with his upper body posture. His opponents think that the left-hook may be a low-kick lead.

    Set 2:

    a) If you don't raise the leg to check, the left-hook will off-balance the opponent or put his weight on the lead leg so it becomes difficult to check the kick.

    b) If the opponent does raise the leg, the left-hook will make you drop it and the low-kick will be impossible to check.

    Set 3:

    a) By fully committing to the low-kick, the weight is pulled forward to multiply the power and the core is scrunched.

    b) By doing so, the level is changed and the right hand straight counter will likely hit the forehead. Should an opponent choose to punch down, he will not generate optimal power due to the mechanic of the punch. One would need to also change levels to punch more effectively here.

    Perfect doesn't exist in the combat world, but this is as close to perfection as it gets. Though this is just merely one technique of "Mr. Low Kick / Mr. Perfect", it demonstrates why people gave him this name.


    Thank you for reading. I originally fan posted this on BE, but I thought I'd share with Sherdog as well. I hope you guys will enjoy it.

    Video Analysis

    [YT]MS8sedJxv6c[/YT]

    Another on his kicking weight transfer (with better editing)

    [YT]_NPwG19JfoE[/YT]
     
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    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013
  2. Pearse Shields Amateur Fighter

    Pearse Shields
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    Really good thread.
     
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  3. SummerStriker Black Belt

    SummerStriker
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    So how is the opponent's weight shifted to the lead leg if you are shifting to the lead leg while throwing the hook and they don't take the bait and raise their leg?

    I don't think it would be easy to hit hard enough to affect the change.

    There is an awful lot to do on this forum about shifting your weight back to the back leg when throwing a lead hook. A lot of people naturally shift forward when throwing any lead hand strike in kick boxing. I always thought doing so made it easier to throw the rear kick.

    It is like everything is correct so long as you know why you are doing it ;)
     
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  4. a guy Black Belt

    a guy
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    Good idea posting it here, the standup forum always appreciates good work like this. I'm gonna copy and paste a comment I left on the original piece here, just to add to the discussion:

    I think one of the biggest factor’s in Hoost’s ability to use that combination was his outstanding ability to double up on left hooks. He could throw two to the head or one to the head and one to the body which really disrupts timing and makes the combo very hard to defend. Especially since both the second left hook and the right low kick are loaded from the same position with the weight settled onto the lead hip. Even more so when the left to the body is thrown because the knees are already bent so he can just spring into that low kick. That double threat, his adaptability and his lightning speed made that combo overwhelmingly effective.

    There are a lot of cool tricks in that short video. I’m a big fan of how Hoost would feint the right hand after the left hook but reach across the opponent’s face and pull them down into the leg kick instead of punching. That way even an opponent who was reacting correctly would be guided into a bad position. Plus, he was good at physically shoving people back then kicking their legs as they stumbled, and generally just kicking people in the leg as they try to retreat. Funny enough, I’ve found that that’s the biggest problem most boxers have when transitioning to kick-fighting. They learn to get past kicks and throw their punches, but it takes them a long time to learn to watch for kicks as they disengage.

    Also incredible is his understanding of when to use different types of low kicks. Against opponents who are ready to check, he throws a more upward type of low kick that aims to come behind the knee and hit that weak area just below the hamstrings. Anyone who’s ever been kicked there knows it’s both incredibly painful and very good at taking the leg out from under you. When the opponent was in a bad position to check (such as when the leg was coming down as you mentioned) he would chop the kick down like an axe. Watching him kick is a lesson in power vs speed and when to use both.

    A lot of Brazilians are very good at this concept. Barboza, Alves and Aldo of course. Most notably Aldo though, the similarities between some of his kicks and Hoost’s are remarkable.

    I mean, here’s the upward kick I was just talking about:

    [​IMG]

    And Here’s him using basically the exact same combo. Note how he also uses the right hand actively, pushing Hominick off balance and into range with it.
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. tef0ak White Belt

    tef0ak
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    Good shit! Will read when I get home for sure. LOVE these kinda breakdowns. Try to learn as much as I can from it.
     
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  6. LawrenceKenshin White Belt

    LawrenceKenshin
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    Thanks Pearse, glad you like it.

    I'm a bit confused by your question, but if they don't raise the leg then the weight shift is still on his lead leg, (impact of a left hook transfers weight there automatically). Of course, the force matters in how much weight transfer there is, but it really depends on the two fighters and how they match against each other (e.g. their base/balance/power).

    Some Nak Muays will be lead leg heavy to throw a rear kick really fast. A similar principle is used when you leave the weight forward in the left hook. Hope that answers your question!

    Hope you like it :).

    A Guy's post is excellent, really good detail and breakdown of some of the dozens of techniques we see in the Hoost highlight.
     
    #6
  7. a guy Black Belt

    a guy
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    I really should just tell you guys that my real name is James. I understand that calling me "a guy" has got to be annoying as shit haha, the name isn't half as clever as I originally thought.
     
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  8. a guy Black Belt

    a guy
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    You aren't shifting to the lead leg while throwing the hook, you're shifting there with the right hand THEN throwing the punch. The weight doesn't have to move all the way back for a left hook to have power, though shifting the weight back on the hook does make it powerful and gives you some natural head movement.

    It's very easy. A very common defense to the left hook is to block with the right glove. However, it's not ideal to stand there and take it. You generally rotate your torso and shift the weight farther to the lead leg as part of the defense. Plus, any hit on the head can be used as a push to make the weight go where you want it. I know people always say not to push your punches, but this is one very good application for a pushed punch.

    You don't generally want the weight coming forward when throwing a lead hand strike, unless it's a jab. You can shift the weight forward before the punch and end with it still forward, but there is a very small shift of weight to the rear leg even when that type of punch is being thrown. I think this is what you're talking about, and yes it is much easier to throw a rear kick after that kind of hook. Just look at the gif of Aldo in my post, that's a running version of the technique. It's hard to see, but as he throws that hook his weight moves slightly to the right leg that he's stepping with, then he takes a small step with his left foot to get all the weight back there and line up the low kick.
     
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  9. LawrenceKenshin White Belt

    LawrenceKenshin
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    You know, I was actually about to make a comment about it in that reply. I think it's funny, but just a little awkward when trying to mention you. If I addressed you as James however, no one would know who I'm referring to haha. Including it in your signature could work~
     
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  10. a guy Black Belt

    a guy
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    Hm...not a bad idea. Don't wanna derail your thread any more though, carry on!
     
    #10
  11. Lucas Coradini Professional Fighter

    Lucas Coradini
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    I've posted this before, but since it's a low kick thread I figured it wouldn't be a problem posting it again... This is a fight were I used a couple variations of low kicks to win

     
    #11
  12. LawrenceKenshin White Belt

    LawrenceKenshin
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    Nice video Lucas.

    When watching the video, notice how Lucas takes advantage of his opponent being lead leg heavy, whether it was when he was hopping in, or shifting out, or when his opponent was in mid-punching. Though his opponent is aggressive, Lucas controlled the distance and the pace of the short bout.

    For his left hook (or jab) into low-kick, Lucas was able to shift his opponent enough (and his opponent couldn't regain stance fast enough) to create a solid timing for a powerful low-kick. When the opponent is shifted back, they may often shift to rear leg (to step back) and then try to regain stance by quickly shifting back to lead leg- this adjustment makes it more difficult to defend a kick.

    Also notice how Lucas was consistently drawing his lead leg back (when there were potential low-kicks) so that if his opponent would get the range, it would either miss, run into a knee-spike, or land on the top part of the shin.
     
    #12
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  13. Azam Purple Belt

    Azam
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    Nice breakdown TS - although I know people call Ernesto Hoost Mr Low kick - I don't think he is - Mr Perfect though is without a doubt a 'perfect' name, technically Hoost is as perfect as you can get.


    On the left hook/low kick combination - maybe I can shed a bit more light on the topic. That combo that Hoost uses is taken from Kyokushin Karate or more specifically from Knockdown Karate, it's sporting format - since it's a left hook to the body/low kick it is perfect for knockdown where there are no punches to the head - this is why the combo was developed & perfected in knockdown originally, of course you see this combo being used in the 70's all the way to today in knockdown still.


    Here is a clip of Hiroki Kurosawa using a the left hook to low kick combo back in 91' (remembered this off the top of my head):


    [​IMG]

    IN PARTICULAR NOTE THE SIMILARITY - Kurosawa is throwing a lead/right/left hook/low-kick but it is at the body (because it's knockdown - no face punching) - Hoost's combo is an exact version of Kurosawa's but adapted to kickboxing - so instead of the body it's going to the face - adaptations made via Kenji Kurosaki (cite below **) - that haven't changed since the 70's.


    He was using this back in 84' as well for the 4th world tournament - Peter Smit, Andy Hug, Thompson, Kurosawa, Masuda - many of the greats in KK - were all using this combo back in 84' - it can even be traced further back.


    (**)
    This combo was also popularly used by Kenji Kurosaki, if you watch any footage of fighters under his gym, they all used this combo (as well as a varying degree of low kick combos) - many of these combos were directly taken from Kyokushin Karate, many of them exact replicas of the original versions used in knockdown karate and some adapted for use in Muay Thai & kickboxing. I'm guessing this is where the Dutch picked these combos up from & why Hoost uses it so aptly - since Kurosaki's style was the original Mejiro style or the style that Dutch kickboxers adopted - from watching footage of Toshio Fujiwara in particular, in my own opinion techniques/combos are much the same as they were in Kurosaki's day - although his fighters employed them differently but I digress.


    Toshio Fujiwara - in particular note the low kick combos (it's a highlight but his fights are littered with them) - the highlight doesn't show it but he also uses the left hook/low kick combo usually set up with a jab:





    Anyone wanting to improve their low kicking game should watch footage of Kozo Takeda - who in my opinion is the GOAT of low kicking & their combos:




    I've admittedly stolen & studied many of his low kicking combos - so much so they've become staples for me that work pretty damn well. I disagree with Greg Jackson as well with his low kicking advice - while what he is saying is good, you can also throw the low kick out there by itself provided you know what type of low kick to throw - Kozo Takeda did this throughout his career to top tier kickboxers & rarely got checked - I mean you can see this in his highlight.


    When it comes to low kicking at least for me - posture like you've mentioned TS is what sells a low kick & it is what determines the type of low kick you'll throw (positioning & everything else besides but posture for me from a technical focus is what it's all about technique wise). If you watch Kozo Takeda - his posture is what makes the difference from everyone else - the secret ingredient so to speak. Lot's of guys mention posture when punching but neglect the importance of it in kicking & by God it makes a difference.
     
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  14. Bang Rachan Brown Belt

    Bang Rachan
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    Nice post
    My coach said that if you make them shift their weight onto the leg by sort of pushing the hook it makes it more effective.

    Also if you push them back with a right cross to the body, then left low kick, kicking them when they have pressure on their rght leg
     
    #14
  15. LawrenceKenshin White Belt

    LawrenceKenshin
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    Man, thanks for writing such a detailed response. I haven't had much exposure to KK, nor do I know the origin of the combination/setup, but it's great to see it through Kyokushin. Totally difference range and entrance (Kurosawa) it seems.

    It'd be absolutely fascinating if Hoost did indeed take from KK and adapted it, would be very MMA-esque of him/his coaches.

    As for Takeda, indeed he is a great low kicker. However, just watching the highlight alone, I see a couple of things:

    1. He is a very upright striker- doesn't change levels often- this makes his striking style more Muay Thai- esque. Now we know that Thais are not known for their hands, and one of the biggest reasons is because of their stance. Tense, upright, less fluid are some of the traits that many Thai's have and Takeda displays it as well. You can also see that his punches are not based on pivots / whole body motion, but rather based on strong hips.

    2. In Takeda's highlight I see that his kick style is more counter/lead based, and he's truly awesome at it. But because of these variables leading to less fluid hands (but better for kick-leads), Takeda is by effect a less successful seamless or combination low-kicker.

    A critical part to low kicking is not only the ability to lead off a low kick, but to set it up with a combination (hands) where it becomes very very difficult to defend. Hoost has mentioned that hand combinations can easily overwhelm his opponents, and though Takeda is a great counter puncher and in leading kicks, he is not doing what Hoost does consistently.

    I won't argue for who's GOAT low-kicker but I will definitely defend Hoost as the better "seamless low-kicker".

    Greg Jackson

    From my perspective, his advice is not that you can't lead with the low-kick. Rather, his advice is to keep people in mind that there should be always a plan-b, so that you are always ahead and proactively/reactively creating a set of attack. This gets all levels of fighters to be more thoughtful.

    Of course, throwing the low-kick by itself works. But I think what Jackson is saying isn't to not do it, it's that if you throw strikes in preemptive sets it will be much more successful. Takeda may also be a rare lead low-kicker.

    Posture

    Absolutely agree with you one this :).

    Agree with your coach ! Though I think it's generally trickier to land a kick to the back leg, the angle/range can be quite tricky. But man, when it works it's quite amazing haha.
     
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  16. LawrenceKenshin White Belt

    LawrenceKenshin
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    That said, maybe I should shoot it to Greg and Winklejohn to see if we can get a better clarification.
     
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  17. ALE Blue Belt

    ALE
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    Devastating hip rotation.
     
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  18. LawrenceKenshin White Belt

    LawrenceKenshin
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    Particularly because his opponent couldn't threaten his centerline, and opted for wild hooks, long-range and readable roundhouses, and spinning-kick instead. His opponent also seemed to not respect low-kicks (or just don't know how to properly defend them).

    Most likely, had there been teeps or competent jab/crosses he would need to resort to other setups for that much hip commitment.
     
    #18
  19. PirateTetra Brown Belt

    PirateTetra
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    Awesome thread!
     
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  20. Azam Purple Belt

    Azam
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    Hoost nor his coaches really adapted anything - nor was it his coach's coach - Jan Plas, the adaption was probably done by Kenji Kurosaki back in the 70's -from the footage I've seen of Toshio Fujiwara, Shimo Mitsuo & Okao - it's quite obvious who adapted it (aka probably Kurosaki).

    Was it MMA-esque or unique for the time - not really, many martial artists back then were cross training, take for example Jon Bluming, the man studied Judo/Karate, as did Kenji Kurosaki.



    He doesn't change levels because his kicking focus is entirely specialised on low kicking this is a disadvantage obviously when you focus on one kick to the detriment of others. I agree his punches are very hip orientated this is probably because of his background in kickboxing that was primarily Karate-esque.

    Kozo Takeda's greatest asset is his low kicking combination repertoire & he quite easily blows Hoost out of the water with it but to the detriment of every other kick. His low kicking style is not at all lead based - what he's truly awesome at is his ability to fire low kicking combinations with ease off both legs & he is able to start with a low kick or a punch - it makes it extremely difficult for opponent's to ascertain when the low kick is coming if at all - even more so when both his punch/low kicks are coming from the hip - this is why his opponents don't know what's coming next.

    The other thing which makes Takeda special is precisely his very hip orientated punching, it seamlessly aids the transition into a low kick (since it too is hip orientated) - the hip esque approach also takes advantage of the hip/body's natural movement to deliver punches & kicks more fluidly - so when he throws a cross using his hips his trunk/hips are already immediately cocked naturally to throw a low kick after & more importantly is hips are loaded from the cross ready to explode of it into the low kick - this is why his low kicks usually land in a way other's don't & why I disagree with you on "Takeda is by effect a less successful seamless or combination low-kicker" - his low kicking combos are much more successful & seamless than Hoost's by quite a considerable margin - this is why his low kick output is greater & why he lands low kicks more frequently than anyone else in K1 MAX before he retired (even his stint in K1 Max back in 03, he edged out of his prime).




    This is also where I disagree, the critical part to low kicking is the ability to fire low kicks with ease & equal effectiveness from either leg (southpaw or orthodox) - something that not many people can do (something that Takeda can) - whether you have great hands or not is secondary, if you can't take advantage of certain positioning opportunities because you can't low kick as well of your left leg....GOAT low kickers tend to be guys who understand & use different kicking postures and can make use of all positional advantages (i.e. can make use of southpaw/orthodox stances to open the left or right low kick whether they are off the front foot or back foot).


    (The words in Bold) - huh, while the highlight shows more lead work it is hardly representative..... Takeda is able to initiate low kick combos with low kicks or punches in either stance - this is the point I'm making - you can check his footage out on youtube, in a way Hoost doesn't know how to do because he's not a specialised low kicker the way Takeda is - I mean even though the highlight is only snippets of his fights - it's there lol. All Takeda does is low kick/cross/jab pretty much Hoost is much more versatile - arguably the hardest technical skill for a low kicker is the ability to fire & land a low kick by itself - something that Hoost cannot do the way Takeda can - actually there is much in the low kick department Hoost is unable to do that Takeda can.


    Kozo's approach is much more simplistic than Hoost's but it requires much more technical skill at least as far as I'm concerned to execute - not many people can counter punches with low kicks as consistently as Takeda - simplistic in idea difficult in practise.

    But I agree he is an amazing lead low kick combo specialist - something you picked up on, precisely because you don't usually see that - it's a rare skill, something Takeda has precisely because all of his kicking repertoire consists of the low kick nothing else.




    I'd defend him as the more technical fighter but in the low kicking department, as far as I'm concerned Kozo is in another league - there is a reason why Takeda was p4p low kick king in K1 Max even though he was way passed it when he joined in 2003 - synonymous for wrecking legs; JWP & Souwer in particular I think Buakaw & Masato felt the heat from those kicks as well lol.




    The point I was making is you should be able to do both.
     
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