The legendary Ernesto Hoost was a four-time K-1 World Champion. To many, he's known as Mr. Perfect and Mr. Low Kick. Of course, consistent "perfection" doesn't exist in the combat world. But Ernesto Hoost was very consistent in many of his attacks, and this attack I'm about to highlight was truly very close to perfection.
Let's take a moment to enjoy this low-kick highlight made by BKM.
Greg Jackson: A Law in Martial Arts
"The first law is everything in 2. If he blocks the rear leg kick then I hit him with the left. Or it switches to a front kick... Everything in 2s, there is no single move. As long as you follow the principles, you have a very good chance in winning." Link : Seminar at Evolve MMA.
The Left Hook into Low Kick:
Most mid-level strikers know this trick. By throwing the left-hook and landing it, it effectively shifts the opponents weight onto his lead leg. Since defending a kick is done by raising it (to "check" the kick), downward pressure from the hook creates an extra timeframe for the low-kick.
However, this technique won't be nearly as successful against experienced strikers, as it is a very common and understood concept.
Ernesto Hoost's Left Hook into Low Kick:
1. Jab entrance ; 2. Right hand checks the left hand ; 3. Left Hook ; 4. Low Kick
The same technique? : Left hook into low kick... What's so special about what Ernesto does? Why is the opponent raising his leg? Why are they so helpless and why do they "allow" Ernesto to get away with such committed attacks?
As you can see, Ernesto Hoost is consistent. This isn't even a significant portion of the screen captures of the same thing happening over and over against his various elite opponents.
The Convincing Principle:
When you can convince your opponent that you are throwing something else than what you're throwing, it's going to be a devastating attack. If your opponent cannot prepare for an attack, his only option is to take it.
The Convincing Left Hook Transition:
Notice his upper body. Normally, a left-hook is thrown by transferring the weight forward and then back. Instead, when Hoost throws the left-hook, his body is more than half-way into the position of a right low-kick. This by effect, draws a check from his opponent (raising of the leg).
The Effect of the Left Hook:
Leaving his weight forward, Hoost takes a 45+ degree step to transition from the left hook to the low kick
When you throw a left-hook to someone who is standing on one foot, it's nearly impossible to keep the raised-leg up. The impact on the core will off-balance the opponent enough that they have no option but to step down. On it's way down, it becomes literally impossible to defend the low-kick.
A Closer Look at the Body Shot:
If the left-hook to the head isn't convincing enough to draw a check, then Hoost would often throw one to the body. On its way down, Hoost takes the 45 degree step and slams his entire bodyweight into his kick.
Level Change and Forward Scrunch:
Hoost's low-kicks are full commitment and full power. He swings his right arm down for extra momentum, and his left would often be in position to balance rather than to guard. But this doesn't mean that he doesn't have a defence built in, should his opponent miraculously find a timing to counter his near perfectly timed kick.
First off, he is positioned off the center-line.
And to add, since the best (power punch) counter to a right low-kick is a right-straight (straight down the pipe), Hoost does something that is again double purpose.
1. By scrunching down and forward, he is fully committed to the attack, and in doing so he multiplies the power of the kick.
2. Look at where his head is relative to his opponent's hand (highlighted by the blue line). If the opponent was able to fire off a right-straight, then it would hit the forehead.
The forehead is the hardest part of the head (it breaks hands) and it's common for skilled strikers to take a punch there as a last resort.
Even if Hoost does not draw a check, his left-hook off balances his opponent enough for him to throw the kick. However, Hoost will always put full power to it and by doing so he also changes levels. In this particular case, he had his opponent thinking about a high-kick, and the opponent was left with a right hand without a straight target.
Let's look at some of the principles at play again.
Greg Jackson's law of effective techniques- everything ought to come a set of twos.
a) The left-hook is often followed by a low-kick. Since this is a common technique amongst strikers in practice, people have a natural inclination to raise the leg already.
b) Hoost also convinces the opponent with his upper body posture. His opponents think that the left-hook may be a low-kick lead.
a) If you don't raise the leg to check, the left-hook will off-balance the opponent or put his weight on the lead leg so it becomes difficult to check the kick.
b) If the opponent does raise the leg, the left-hook will make you drop it and the low-kick will be impossible to check.
a) By fully committing to the low-kick, the weight is pulled forward to multiply the power and the core is scrunched.
b) By doing so, the level is changed and the right hand straight counter will likely hit the forehead. Should an opponent choose to punch down, he will not generate optimal power due to the mechanic of the punch. One would need to also change levels to punch more effectively here.
Perfect doesn't exist in the combat world, but this is as close to perfection as it gets. Though this is just merely one technique of "Mr. Low Kick / Mr. Perfect", it demonstrates why people gave him this name.
As always, thank you for reading. This piece is dedicated to ZS and BE.