Book review: “The ultimate Kick” by Bill “Superfoot” Wallace
Bill Wallace is nicknamed “Superfoot” for good reason: his kicking techniques have been clocked at an excess of 70Mph. His specific style of fighting with the lead leg only is very spectacular and legions of martial arts practitioners have followed his example. For a long time, I was one of them.
This book followed “Dynamic stretching and kicking” and was probably meant to be an extension of this previous work. Without delay, here is what it contains.
In a prologue, we receive some general information about Mr. Wallace: how he got his nickname, why he developed his style, his competitive career, etc.
Next is a more detailed description of his method and kicking philosophy. He follows this up with a series of pictures showing how he applies his style in specific situations: against an off balance opponent, countering, faking, against jamming, setting up techniques with punches, etc. Here are some examples of specific tactics at one of his seminars:
Footwork and stances is next, with a brief explanation why he uses a modified horse stance and small steps. Strangely enough, instead of demonstrating this, the following pages show examples of evasion skills and how to use the method against several fighting styles (Karate, Taekwondo and Boxing). Bill points out the weaknesses of these styles and how you can exploit these using his system.
In theory, this is a great idea but I have some doubts about it. The boxing stance in particular is approached in a bizarre way. Not only is the person in the pictures doing a lousy job at it, the reactions Mr. Wallace claims to entice from his opponent seem strange at times. E.g.: He throws a side kick to the boxer’s chest, which is supposed to pull his arms in. But the pictures show him hitting the stomach area. The main reason he manages to do this, is the lack of decent boxing guard of his opponent. In fact, he is so open, his abdomen deserves to get kicked. I agree to the basic principle of setting an opponent up with a series of techniques where one creates an opening for the next, but the subject could have been approached with more care.
The next chapter has numerous examples of the use of punching techniques: Most often, these are basic combinations of hand techniques or together with kicks. This chapter concludes the technical part of the book and we get into the more theoretical aspects. Mr. Wallace takes on various questions and provides his views on the matter. The topics include:Advice on how to become a good fighter, Karate after 30, meeting people from other styles, the future of tournament fighting and the most common questions he gets at seminars.
To his immense credit, Bill states that his way is not the only one and that you should only use it if it fits you. His mindset is such that even if he can more easily punch you in the face, he’d go out of his way to kick you in the same spot. This makes you look very bad, because he kicked you, while you knew he was going to try that. He also explains the weaknesses of his system and what strategies gave him the most trouble.
The book ends with a small section with background information about the author.
Interest: The Ultimate kick feels like a missed opportunity. There are several interesting topics in it but the author doesn’t cover them in depth. What’s worse, the material is not well organized. This lack of structure makes it more difficult to distill information and is one of my major issues with it.
Before you think I hate this book, I don’t. There are some good ideas in it, such as the series of pictures that show different angles of a specific technique. You can really study every detail this way, which is definitely a good thing. The combinations he shows are also worth investigating if you’re into point fighting or kickboxing without leg kicks.
In the end, this book is a follow up of the previous one where the basics of the Wallace method were explained. This book shows you how to put it all together. Unfortunately, you’ll have to read it several times to find the information you need.
After my previous review, I received some feedback asking why I was so negative about his material. To make things clear: I have nothing at all against Mr. Wallace, on the contrary. When I was a teenager, I tried my best to kick like him and loved his material. To a certain extent, I still do. And from everything I’ve heard, he’s a great guy and awesome at his seminars. Cool. But that doesn’t change the issues in his books. I try to give balanced reviews, pointing out good and bad alike. Sometimes there’s just more of one and less of the other.
Quality: The lay out is clear, but as I mentioned before, the content is not consistent. The pictures are of good quality and the subjects are well defined. No problems to note.
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