What the hell is... Red Bull Kick-It

Think you know karate? Well done. But Red Bull Kick-It is karate with a twist. Find out more here.
By Sean Calvert and Martyn Thomas

In a nutshell, it's the world’s premier kicking competition. But then, it is so much more. Bringing together disciplines as diverse as capoeira, karate, kung-fu, taekwondo, gymnastics and breakdancing, Red Bull Kick-It sees 16 of the planet’s best martial artists battle head-to-head, to find out who has the best kicks and tricks.

Check out the video below for the best action from Red Bull Kick-It 2014 in Seoul and read on for more about the event.

So, Red Bull Kick-It… what’s the big idea?
Each competitor has to compete in two rounds; the first showcasing their tricks, and the second, their ability to break boards with their feet. Following these dramatic displays, a champion is crowned.

So, they don’t have to kick each other?
No, not at all. This is not a competition designed to discover the toughest martial artist, but the most elegant. Red Bull Kick-it was born out of the idea that tricking had become too focused on simple gymnastic moves, like flipping. Therefore, there is more onus on kicking – which is where the sport originated, through taekwondo jump kicks. The difference being that board breaking with your feet is more creative.

I can’t say that I’ve ever attempted to break through wood with my feet…
Exactly, the moves that these guys have to pull to achieve that feat are simply breathtaking. Imagine trying to jump into the air, while creating enough force to break through five boards held above someone’s head. Not easy, but also extremely elegant, and showcasing all the skills needed to perfect the above disciplines.

Sounds fun, can anyone give it a go?
Well, these guys are trained and have come through regional qualifiers to make it to the finals. The 2014 finals competition was held at the end of August in Korea, so you will have to stick to practising for now. A martial arts gym would be a good place to start.

But keep an eye out for regional events coming up in 2015. Oh, and be careful… kicking wood can be very painful.

DO SAY: Watch me fly

DON'T SAY: Hold this piece of wood for me, I’m going to kick it.

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