What’s In a Punch?
It’s been a long time since I wrote anything for SSKC blog/website – As I slowly creak and grind my way back into Shotokan since my long layoff – I’m picking up the pieces and finding my way back very slowly but surely.
I realise how much I’ve forgotten and as I try explain things to some of the newer karateka – there are grey areas in my karate performance I’m discovering – what you don’t use, you lose I think is a good way of summing my situation up, since my karate holiday.
It can feel wrong to tell another person about their karate mistakes– when you know fine well you are not so perfect yourself? – but being taken out of one’s comfort zone does jog the memory and bring up some interesting stuff.
TSUKI-WAZA – PUNCHING TECHNIQUE
Recently I was called on to show some of the newer members of our group the basic methods of Tsuki -Waza.
One of the very first techniques introduced to us is Choku Tsuki – the straight punch.
It seems pedantic going into such detail about something as easy as punching! – but then you see the difference between an effective punch delivered by an experienced karateka, and then a punch made by a novice student – which is an indication of why we are so nitpicky about karate sometimes.
I remember a very good session on Tsuki-Waza, given to us a while ago by Sensei Denby. The exercise included all the obvious movements of punching, but also there were some subtleties to it. I think this exercise, if delivered in an appropriate way, would be really beneficial, especially for novice karateka – to help realise the proper route and form of the punch, to aid control – and also to limit the chance of personal injury (and injury to others).
A crucial factor in Sensei Denby’s exercise was that a single Choku Tsuki is actually three punches in one. Visualising the proper route of a punch through this exercise is a great way of getting people to deliver technique properly - it lessens the chance of ‘chicken wing’ and ‘scooping’ punch syndrome.
It also helps people to develop an awareness of effective range and targeting when faced with an opponent.
The punch delivered through steps 1 to 3, with a small pause at the end of each stage.
CHOKU TSUKI DRILL
1. URA TSUKI – as the punch is initiated the hand/fist is still palm upwards, the elbow is more or less still level with the hip – A short range punch.
2. TATE TSUKI – as the punch is extended further – arm is now at approximately ¾ full extension, the hand has started to rotate – with palm facing inward – A short to intermediate range punch.
3. CHOKU TSUKI – the arm is now fully extended and the fist fully rotates at the extreme range of the technique (the last couple of inches of extension) – Palm face down.
I think this ‘three in one’ visualisation of Choku Tsuki is a valuable exercise.
A further development - as students begin to learn the proper route of the punch they withdraw the hand full hikite between each step.
Click on the yellow button below to return to the "HOME" page