The axe kick (a rising kick) has been called the most useful kick in Taekwondo. It may be used to attack, stop forward progress, or to block, intercept or check an attack.
- Foot position. Foot is held vertical, with toes upward.
- Striking Surface. Backside of heel strikes the target.
- Leg Position. Leg is kept straight throughout the kick.
Axe kick is unique to Taekwondo. It is variation of crescent kick although it is not circular in nature. Instead, the foot travels upward and then downward with little to no circular or horizontal movement. Whereas crescent kicks are usually defensive, axe kick is a purely offensive kick (may be used as a checking kick). It is executed by running into opponent's space and throwing lead foot straight upward, over into opponent's head, and then forcibly downward into side of opponent's head or onto the clavicle. Axe kick may also be used to knock down opponent's guard so a combination attack may be used over the guard. There is very little an opponent may do to stop a well-timed axe kick because the foot will come crashing down through most blocks.
Proper way to execute the axe kick begins with correct hip and body position. Your back should be straight and your body upright. As you swing your kicking leg up, cock your ankle backward and keep your toes pointing upward. When the kick reaches maximum height, extend your ankle and hips as far forward as possible while making sure your back remains straight. When your leg begins traveling downward, lean backward and extend your hip outward; this enables you to increase the reach of the technique. You may also accelerate the kick by applying your body mass into the downward motion. When your kick makes contact with the target, your foot should be turned slightly toward the outside and your toes curled. This allows the entire foot—not just the heel—to strike the target. It is important not to lock your hip as you complete the kick so you do not strain your hamstring muscles. Upon completion, the toes of your kicking foot should touch the floor first.
Axe kick requires excellent flexibility since for a moment the kicking leg must be held almost vertical, or at least higher than the target, and then you must contract your gluteus maximus muscles to cause leg to come ripping downward. Some people just drop their kicking leg with little power; instead, use your biceps femoris muscle (thigh muscle) to pull your leg down sharply into the target.
Axe kick may be performed with the leading or trailing foot. Jumps may be added to axe kick.