Spinning Crescent (diary entry)

thai high kick



The tenth lesson in my client’s second Muay Thai for Martial Arts Cross Training continued on the theme of so-called advanced techniques. In Muay Thai, these are technical and more flamboyant moves that are known as luk mai (minor techniques). These are supporting moves that rarely dominate a fight and are usually brought in to bring about a speedy finish. Please see last week’s report on why I am taking this unusual diversion.


Tonight’s lesson ended becoming a complete introduction to the spinning crescent kick. The spinning crescent kick is not regularly found in traditional Muay Thai, but it is a common American/European/Japanese Kickboxing technique. The kick’s strongest roots appear to be in Korean, Chinese and African martial arts, although this doesn’t mean it has its origins in these countries. We find spinning kicks in a wide variety of folk dances in Russia and it has found its way into a range of non-combative such as figure skating. After the back kick, which isn’t really a spinning kick in my mind, I consider the spinning crescent to be the easiest of the spinning kicks to perform and works as a good introduction to the spinning hook and the reverse round kick (back-spinning kick/spinning heel kick/wheel kick). The kick involved a 360 degree rotation with the kicking leg striking at the top of an upward arc using the outside edge of the foot.


After a series of warm-up mobility exercises containing sets of Indian press-ups, squat thrusts, straight leg stretches and four-point squats we began with an outside-to-inside crescent kick. This is also simply known as the inside crescent kick due to the kick coming inwards. This is the simplest of the crescent kicks. Although pretty much any technique can be effective if used by the right person at the right time, this crescent kick has virtually no presence in full-contact fighting outside of WTF competition. However, it is a good dynamic warm-up tool for opening up the hips and engaging the adductor leg muscles. We then moved onto the inside-to-outside crescent kick, also known as the outside crescent kick. This is the kick that is used at the completion of the spinning crescent kick. It engages the hip flexors, quadriceps and abductor muscles purposefully.


With the kicking part addressed we looked at the motion for the spin. Here it is important to get the head around first to the target before the rest of the body follows. The motion is memorably and humorously covered for the back-spinning kick in “Lethal Weapon 4”. Here the student learns about the demands of balance and momentum. There is only so much you can break down when practising this move, as the momentum is crucial for it to work.


Finally we put it together and practised the technique off both legs before bringing out focus mitt targets. The lesson ended with my client being able to hit the target off both legs. I was satisfied with the result considering that my client is 40 years of age, has trained with me for close on two years exclusively in pragmatic fighting systems (self-defence and MMA arts) and has had no previous experience in any sport that places high demands on flexibility or balance.


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