" Tsuki " A Punch

Tsuki (突き?) is the Japanese word for "thrust".

The punch is a fundamental part of the karate training syllabus and almost all forms ('kata'). My article about “Tsuki”(punch) described here make up the very core of wadokai; the powerful stances and hard hitting energy, the subtle yet significant movements. Punch can be performed in different stances, although only one is described in this article, “Zenkutsu-dachi” (Front Stance).

Some examples of use for basic techniques include:

Choku-tsuki (直突き), straight punch

Gyaku-tsuki (逆突き), punch with the rear arm

Oi-tsuki (追い突き), punch with the lead arm

Age-tsuki (上げ突き), rising punch

Ura-tsuki (裏突き), upside-down fist punch into solar plexus area (short-range)

Tate-tsuki (立て突き), vertical fist punch into the middle of the chest (short-range)

Morote-tsuki (双手突き), augmented punch using both hands

Kagi-tsuki (鉤突き), hook punch

Mawashi-tsuki (回し突き), roundhouse punch

Jun-tsuki no tsukomi, Forward lunge punch

Gyaku-tsuki no tsukomi, Reverse lunge punch

So let's get down to business!

Front stance:

Fig: 1

To properly assume a front stance first begin by standing with your feet shoulder width apart with both hands resting in a fist in front of you, level with your hips. You should have your feet flat on the floor and your knees slightly bent (fig:1). This is called the 'ready position' ('Shizentai').

Then, we move into front stance. Move your left leg slightly forwards and to the center, at the same time bringing your left hand up to your ear. Then shift your weight forwards and allow the momentum to move your left leg further outwards, bending your knee and bringing your left fist down in an arc across your body, also lifting your right fist so it is now in line with your navel. Finally, extend out your left foot enough so that it just blocks your toes from view and both feet are shoulder width apart, and have your left fist immediately above your knee (Fig:3).

Fig: 2

Fig :3

Congratulations! You have moved into front stance, and also performed a downward sweeping block in the process!

Now for the difficult part! You have to push your weight forward onto your front knee, and at the same time begin to slide your back leg forwards. Your leading arm should be lifted to be level with your chest. The power in this punch comes from its explosiveness and its incorporation of your body's momentum and center of gravity. The process begins when both feet are together, and you shift your weight forward to create momentum. To do this, you have to first push your rear heel into the ground, sending the energy up your leg, and as you twist your hips the energy is transferred through your core and finally through your shoulders, arms and wrist when you finally place your leading leg down. You should always strive to make contact with your target at the same time as landing with your front leg, so as to maximize the transfer of energy. Contact is made with the first two knuckles (Seiken Fig:4) there you have it; you can now perform a choko-tsuki!

Fig: 4

Hikite is another very important technique while punching. Hikite (te meaning hand, hiki or hikeru meaning drawing in) is a very common aspect of traditional martial arts, especially in karate. Whenever you see karateka performing straight punches as a group, they are sharply snapping one hand out while pulling the other hand back to the belt.

The performance of the hikite itself is fairly consistent across styles at a base level. As the straight punch extends, the withdrawing hand retracts. It is chambered somewhere around the floating ribs. Depending on style you might chamber it a little lower, or even higher tucked up near the armpit.

Targets : Face ,solar plexus & abdomen.

Click here to see the video.

Bottom line: Use your hips, shoulders & wrist in a proper way to deliver an explosive punch.