(Originally posted on HKL)
Following Anderson Silva's return to matrix- esque striking form against Vitor Belfort in the main event of UFC 126, the blogosphere is ablaze with discussion over what to call the rare kick Anderson knocked Vitor down with:
Silva has credited the strike to 7'th degree Aikido Shihan, Steven Seagal ( link )
"Steven Seagal helped me perfect that kick. That was a kick we were working on before I stepped in..." Silva said through a translator at the post-fight press conference. "This was a kick that I trained a lot."
However, from the cursory research i've done on Aikido (which is primarily a grappling art) it claims ownership to no specific strikes. Even the styles that do employ strikes only do so as a means of distraction, to facilitate the grappling techniques.
Seagal discussed the strike, and how he taught it to Anderson: ( link 2 )
"I've learned sort of a variation of that [Front Kick] in Japan, probably 30, 40 years ago, and I've been perfecting it all these years. It's not exactly cut out there, it's just something that I created that's a little bit different. I thought Anderson could learn well because he's sort-of a natural born athlete, has very quick hands and feet, and his kicks are good to begin with. So I started teaching him kicks that I thought he could really hurt people with.
"In practice, he was knocking other people out with body shots, and at that point I knew he was going to start making these kicks work.
"...Nobody knows the kick. I'm teaching it to Machida, Anderson, and a few other Brazilians, but we haven't really used it much yet. I haven't shown it to many people yet."
"Right before he walked out, I said, 'Stay away from him for the first two or three minutes. Just kind of get him frustrated and then fake low and come high and do that kick that I've been teaching you and kick him in the head or the face.' He did exactly what I said and exactly what I wanted to happen, happened, and I was very proud of him."
Now, the truth value of this is up for debate, but Anderson did say that Seagal taught him the kick. Fair enough- who, what, or where did he learn this strike from?
Anderson used a similar kick against Dan Henderson, but that seemed more akin to the traditional "pushing" motion of the Muay Thai teep
Another fighter, Cory Tait (a TKD practitioner since childhood), used the same technique (an upward, chambered front kick, that strikes with the ball of the foot) to devastating effect against Dino Gambatesa last October at Ultimate Challenge: Unbelievable in Britain:
Considering that Anderson himself is a Tae Kwon Do black belt, this doesn't seem unreasonable. Anderson also has a yellow rope in Capoeira, and the strike may or may not exist in that system.
Since the origins of this strike is debatable, and there haven't been any definitive answers confirming the name of this strike, we as Martial Arts/ Combat Sports fans have the distinct privelege of naming this strike. K-1 fans in the 1990's deemed Francisco Filho's "question mark kick" as the "Brazilian kick"; Peter Graham had his own special cartwheel kick, fondly termed "Rolling Thunder"; Muhammed Ali coined the term "Anchor Punch" to describe his lead overhand.
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