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MMA Lessons: Ed Ratcliff on the Spinning Hook Kick

MMA Lessons is a FanHouse feature in which we ask someone in the MMA world to teach us about one aspect of mixed martial arts. Today WEC fighter Ed Ratcliff, who fights Donald Cerrone in the main event of WEC 45 on December 19, tells us about the spinning hook kick.

On December 17, 2005, in Tijuana, Mexico, Ed Ratcliff knocked out Brett Cooper with a spinning hook kick. Here's the video (NSFW, the video contains explicit language):

Michael David Smith: After knocking out Cooper with that kick, you said, "people don't respect karate, it's coming back." What did you mean by that?
Ed Ratcliff: I'm a karate and taekwondo black belt under my mom. The spinning hook kick is a move that goes back to my karate and taekwondo background.

Were you consciously thinking before or during the fight that you wanted to try to use the spinning hook kick?
That's a move I learned as a kid and it's always been one of my favorite moves. I've practiced it so many times that the kick isn't even something I think about anymore. That move is like second nature to me.

Why do you like the spinning hook kick?
The thing I like about the spinning hook kick is you can get a little more range or a little more accuracy out of it because you actually go around your opponent's head and then make contact with the bottom of the foot or the heel, and you hook it at the end to make the kick land exactly where you want it.

Do you work on the spinning hook kick in sparring?
I could really hurt my sparring partner if I use my heel. So in practice I make a conscious effort to cup my foot so that if I make contact with a sparring partner the contact is with the whole bottom of the foot, which makes it more like a slap than a big thud.

How is a spinning hook kick different from a spinning back kick or spinning crescent kick?
A spinning back kick includes that same spin, but the kick comes straight out -- in a straight line -- it doesn't go in a circular motion. A spinning crescent kick also uses that same spinning motion, but you use the edge of your foot as the contact point.

Here's another spinning hook kick instructional video: