Body Kick Set Ups by Henri Hooft
Henri Hooft is here to teach you the ways of BRUTAL Body Kicks!
What do you get when you mix full contact Japanese karate with a Dutch kickboxer who moved to Thailand?
After growing up in the Netherlands and playing soccer for many years of his youth, Henri discovered martial arts. Following the lead of his brother, Henri started in full contact karate. After having only a few months of training, due to a combination of constant effort and talent, Henri started fighting in full contact competitions.
During his early days of competition, Henri was discovered by Rob Kaman, regarded as one of the greatest Dutch Kickboxer in the world, and at 18 years old began training with him. Henri moved to Thailand to work with Kaman and learned about Muay Thai Kickboxing. Henri’s love for the karate style of fighting, transitioned to love of kickboxing, Dutch and Thai styles. By blending together the complete knowledge learned across three different striking arts, Hooft went on to compete in over 80 professional kickboxing fights gaining multiple championship titles under his belt. By all means, Henri Hooft is a striker of his own caliber.
After years of refining his own skills and fighting opponent after opponent, Hooft became a striking coach. Just like as a fighter, Henri Hooft is on a different level as a striking coach. Henri has coached some of the greatest kickboxers of current generations, including Peter Aerts and Tyrone Spong. Henri also worked as the head stand up striking coach for the former Professional MMA team, The Blackzillians. While with this notable team, he worked with MMA greats the likes of Rashad Evans, Eddie Alverez, and Matt Mitrione and more. Though he still coaches professional fighters at the top level of various striking sports, Hooft has focused on providing his distinctive knowledge of the striking arts to aspiring fighters of all levels through his instructional.
In this video, Hooft provides fighters with a technical way to create an opening for a body kick on a skilled opponent who is either standing still, or moving away from the strikes while blocking. In the first showing of the technique, Henri uses the jab as a set-up to throw a switch kick to the body on an opponent who does not move. Henri strikes with the jab getting his opponent to block, as well as using the strike as a tool to manage his distance. From there, Hooft hop steps, moving his front leg back as the back leg moves forward loading the kicking hip on the jab side. From that stance without hesitation Hooft throws a switch kick, with what is now his back leg, to the body of an opponent who has not moved. Hooft mentions watching your hand positioning, as he keeps his back hand close to his chin to block, while using the hand that is on the same side of the kicking leg, to counter the rotation in the hip as he throws the switch kick.
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In the second variation of the technique, Henri throws a jab cross combination while moving forward on an opponent who is moving backwards, away from the strikes. After stepping forward with the cross leg, Hooft follows up with a back leg round kick to the body. Henri throws the jab, just as in the first variation, but follows it up by throwing a cross punch, as the opponent steps away, Hooft steps forward with his back leg to cover the distance created, rather than using a hop step. By stepping forward, Hooft is able to put his weight on his right foot, loading the kicking hip on the jab side, and proceeds to kick with the same leg as the side of the jab hand.
Henri displays the techniques from both variations’ multiple times, stating that a switch kick, where the fighter hop steps, and a back leg kick after stepping forward, are two completely different techniques, and need to be understood in order to be used in the correct fashion.
When an opponent remains stationary, although they are in range of your strikes, they are also able to throw counter strikes of their own. In the case of a more stationary opponent, a switch step is exceedingly faster than stepping with the back leg, then kicking.
Using the switch kick in this instance would be the best option. When the opponent is moving away from the strikes, they will most likely be able to run faster than you can switch your feet. For this reason, it is best to chase them by stepping prior to kicking with the leg on the jab side. While round kicks with the front leg are available and are generally faster, they are not nearly as powerful as back leg round kicks.
Therefore, in most professional kickboxing, MMA, or other striking competitions that allow kicks, you will see nearly all round kicks with the back leg rather than the front. When you hear the sound Henri Hooft’s leg makes when throwing his kicks, you begin to understand the power you can develop when you have a firm grasp of the technique and practice it with diligence.
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