Online introduction to Kyokushin Karate - one of the best fighting techniques
This part of the fist is probably the most often used for attacks, so it should be done properly. Consider this - if your punch is strong, it means that you are using your hand, and you also turn your body, to add some power of your back and hips muscles, and you may also step forward, to add the speed of your body moving towards the target. If your wrist is weak, all this power will twist it, instead of going into the target. It is a common trauma.
To close the fist properly, start from the baby finger, then the ring finger, and so on, thumb is the last. The thumb should be on the side of the fist (approx. on top of the middle finger) and NOT on top of the fist, covering the pointing finger. Beginners are often getting traumas when neglecting this rule.
The area used for the punch (the seiken) is circulled on the following picture, it includes the nockles of the pointing and middle fingers.
Note that I am only listing the parts of the body here, later, when we discuss particular techniques, we will talk about additional details, like concentration and relaxation, keeping the wrist aligned with the fist and so on.
Same part of the fist as above (the nockles of the pointing and middle fingers) is used in the "ura" punch ("ura" means "back" or "reversed", you will see this term as part of many names in karate techniques).
Used both for blocks and attacks.
It is very important to know that the area you are supposed to use is NOT at exact side of the palm, but slightly inside the palm. If you touch your hand at the side of the palm, you will feel the bone that connects your baby finger to the wrist. This bone is not protected by the muscules and can easily be broken if you try to use it. Now move your finger half of an inch inside, towards the center of the palm. There you have a large muscle, that will protect your bones, allowing (practice required) to break objects or to block hands and even feet of your opponent.
In this technique we are using tips of the fingers. It is working for "paralyzing" punches, on soft tissues, like muscles. Note that there are sensitive muscules in many "bony" areas, for example, between the ribs and on the neck. Also the technique can be used to attack the face and it is very dangerous if used on the eyes area (and usually rules forbid that).
As with seiken, the thumb must be pressing against the center of the palm, and NOT top of it (not parallel to the other fingers). Otherwise it can easily be damaged.
The use of this technique is the same as above. The technique is efficient for the precise attacks against the "vulnerable points". It should be noted, that as Kyokushin students are developing very strong muscles, their "vulnurable points" are less "vulnerable", at least, most of these points. So you will not see this techniqie very often on the competitions.
Pointing and middle fingers are used together. For this technique it is especially important to make the hand "solid", at least at the moment of the contact. I will talk about concentration and relaxation later, in the corresponding chapter.
You can use second nockles or you can use the part of the palm (circuled) to deliver a strike. The first form can be used both on soft tissues, and (not that often) on ribs. The second form is used for blocks and to deliver powerful "shocking" or "breaking" punches.
The back of the hand is used both for blocks and attacks (think of circular punch in the side of the head).
The inside part of the palm, closer to the wrist. Used for blocks and for attacks (think of circular punck in the side of the head).
The "hammer". For this technique you use the bottom part of the fist.
Close your hand as if you want to pick up a small amount of salt or sand. Bend your wrist inside, as far as it normally bends. In this position the hand becomes tense. The outside part of the wrist (where you would normally wear the handwatches) is used for blocks or for powerful "breaking" attacks.
The fist is closed with the end of a thumb pushing against the second nockle of a pointing finger (from the inside). For the strike, the first nockle of the thumb is used. This technique is very dangerous, when used on the temple, so it is forbidden to use it on the competitions.
Close your hand as if you want to pick up a small amount of salt or sand. The punch is delivered by the tips of the fingers, it can be either very fast, to produce the shock (think attacking face or the back of the hand), or (not very often) powerful, to penetrate the sensitive areas with the soft tissues.
Sometimes called ura shuto. The hand is closed as for the shuto, with the thumb against the middle part of the palm. The muscules between the thumb and the pointing finder are used for the strike.
The four fingers form the part of a semi-circle, while the thumb forms the other part of it. The area between the thumb and the pointing finger is used for the strike, usually in the throat area.
The part of the hand, on the side of the baby finger. Used for blocks and sometimes for the attacks. For this techniques, like for many others, the muscke is used, rather than the bone.
Also note, than in the Kyokushin karate the blocks are often performed as strikes (against the attacking part of the opponent's body).
When you use this area for the first time, you will feel the pain. You will also get bruses and bumps on the soft tissues of your hand. As time passes, your hands will become conditioned, so you will be able to block hands, legs and even sticks without any unpleasant side effects.
The back of the hand is used for blocks and attacks.
The inside part of the hand. Used for blocks and sometimes for attacks.
The part of the hand, on the side of a thumb. Used for blocks and attacks.
Nakajubi ipon ken
The second nockle of the middle finger is used, and the thumb (the fingerprint area) is pressing against the first nockle of the middle finger, creating the necessary support.
Usually, applied to the muscles of an opponent, but can be used to break things as well. For that reason, should not be used in the class or at competition, especially in the head (temple) area.
Hitosashi ubi ippon ken
Same idea as above, but the pointing finger is used.
The elbow area. Please note, that the joint area of the elbow is very sensitive, so it only can be used for attacks on the soft areas, like the abdomen muscles. For "breaking" type of strikes, the next-to-elbow parts are used, where the bones can be conditioned and muscles are shielding the bone.
The part of the foot used for the blocks and attacks. Can be conditioned, to become much less sensitive to pain.
The toes are bent back as far as possible (practice helps). The area used for the strike is the part of the foot right under the toes.
Used for blocks and for attacks. In many schools you cannot use chesoku for kicks in the head (for safety reasons), so haisoku is used. Also, it helps when you work on a close distance, as the "haisoku" is aligned with the "sune", so if the distance is too close for you to kick with the foot - you can always use the "sune" area instead.
When you need the kick to be fast, this technique will give you some advantage, too.
The foot is bent sideways, to expose the side, between the heel and a baby toe. The four toes are bent down, while the big toe is bent up, this position provides the maximum of concentration.
The heel. To reduce the risk of traumas, the angle should be as sharp as possible - use your muscles to pull the toes towards the knee.
There are some ligaments that go from the heel up. DO NOT USE THEM to deliver an attack. It is painfull for you and safe for your opponent. Instead, use the heel itself, this part of your body is naturally conditioned as we are walking on it.
This area is used for blocks and trips, keeping in mind, that when performed with enough power, the block can be considered an attack.
The knee. As with the kakato, the angle should be as sharp as possible to make the knee cup solid. Still, the knee cap area can ONLY be used to attack abdominal muscles - they are soft. If you want to attack, for example, the opponent's forehead (assuming, he bends down), then you will use the area ABOVE the knee cup - there is nothing to damage there.
The head can be used for blocks and attacks, too. It is very important to know exactly which areas to use and how to concentrate. This technique can be learned by the book in its basic form (head to face attack on occasion in the close range fight), but if you want to learn to break the wood with your head, you should fing a teacher.
The tips of the toes used to attack. It is possible to condition them, but difficult. This is not a technique for the beginner.
A most important technique, so we are going to explain some vital theoretical points, using it as an example.
First of all, there are different ideas in different schools, about the way your body should move to help the punch to be fast and strong. In the Kyokushin we end up with the shoulders turned 45 degrees, so that the twist of the body increases the speed of the hand.
But it only works if the two motions are performed in synch. If you, for example, move your shoulders, and then begin to move the hand, your opponent will get a message: "his shoulders are moving, looks like a punch, I better do something". In many places of this book I am going to talk about the ways to NOT to communicate your intentions to your opponent.
If you turn your shoulders more then 45 degrees, you will a) injure your back sooner or later, b) spend too much energy, c) loose the speed, and d) make your back vulnerable to the counterattack.
The hips are turning too, it looks more like a slap, throwing an impulse, to provide an additional speed. It is different from many other karate schools. Also keep in mind, that if you work on a very short distance, there will be no space for hips and shoulders to perform the "classics". The techniques (all of them) are adjustable.
The fist must be properly closed. The hand should be almost relaxed, until the last moment, when it is touching the target. Then it should be completely tense, all your focus on the target, or - if you are performing a "breaking" punch - behind the target. You will often hear the saying, that if you are hitting the chest, you should aim the backbone.
The outer side of the palm and the wrist must be on a straight line. Imagine the line that goes through the seiken (nockles of the pointing and the middle fingers), the wrist and the elbow. This should be the line and not a zigzag. Otherwise you will bend your wrist, using all the power of your hand, hips, plus the body weight.
The fist begins its motion from the place almost under the armpit, at the height of the nipple. This is different from many traditional schools, they start from the hip level.
The fist rotates. At the beginning it is with the palm up, at the end - with the palm down. It should screw itself into the target - it will help your elbow to unbend, and the energy of a punch will increase.
But the elbow should not unbend completely - it must be slightly bent, to prewent the injury. Imagine, that your elbow is straight, and your opponent blocks it, or hits it. Very bad for you. While if the elbow is bent - it is not that easy to damage, and your opponent will think twice, before hitting it.
Your elbows must look down. If they look sideways, your punch will be less powerful, and your armpits are opened for an attack.
The other hand is performing a "reverse" - exactly the same move, in the opposite direction. At the end, it will be near the armpit, ready to launch another punch. In the middle of the trajectory, both hands should face each other, palms inside. This is often used to check the beginners for mistakes.
The fist should move by the straight line. It does not matter, that the body is turning, and hands are moving, and hips are moving too. It your hand is moving by the "freehand trajectory" - you are doing something wrong. The line between your fist, when still in the armpit, and the target, is the trajectory to follow.
This is the straight kick, one that you see most often. It can be fast, it can be strong, "breaking", "stopping" or "whipsaw-like", it works on short, middle and long distance.
The basics may look simple, however from my experience, everybody makes mistakes, and usuammy - more than one mistake in a time, when performing this technique.
Begin from the "kumite", the leg that you are going to use for a kick is the back one.
Raise the knee to your chest (it is a preparation for the attack, and a defence, in the same time).
With your leg muscles AND your hips turning 45 degrees, send the foot towards the target, keeping in mind, that it should move on the straight line.
The chesoku (base of the toes) or a kakato (the heel) is used in a classical version.
That was the basic technique. Now lets take a look at the details, just keep in mind, that missing any "little" detail will make your technique much less efficient, or vulnerable for a counterattack.
The foot of the supporting leg MUST be flat on the ground. DO NOT go up on your toes. If you do that, your balance will be compromised. Also, when the foot hits the target, you need to have a strong support. If you are on your toes, the ancle will work as a shock absorber, which is not what you want - the energy must go into your opponent, and not into your ancle.
The supporting foot may turn outside, but normally, no more than 45 degrees.
The knee of the supporting leg should be slightly bent. If not, the speed of your next motion will be compromised (you need to bend your knee to begin moving), and your balance will be weak, and your knee will be more vulnerable to the opponent's counter attack.
Your hips should turn, sending the leg forward, adding to the speed and power of a kick. However, it is not so on the short distance, so apply the common sence.
In a classical version, the knee goes up, to the chest, and then the leg is being thrown forward. There are variations. First of all, note that the foot is moving in a circle, when the knee is going up, and then the circle turns into the straight line. So the kick - it is very important - begins ON THE GROUND, and the foot is accelerating all the way. There is a "kekomi" version of mae geri, where the leg is going in a different path, but it is another technique (see below).
Now, what if you want to attack your opponent's knee? Bringing your knee all the way up would be too explicit, and the speed will be compromised. So there is a version, when the foot is going from the floor to the target, on the straight line. It can also be done to the chudan, or jodan. Again, the foot is accelerating all the way to the target.
The abdominal muscles. It is the most common mistake. They have nothing to do with your leg. Do not use them. Same about your shoulders and neck. The more tired you are, the more often you will try to use them, or to make faces, or to stick out your tongue. It does not help! And it takes energy, so learn to be relaxed, even when tired.
The body position. Unless you are a master, and know what you are doing, keep your back vertical. Yes, you can bend back, or forward. Both are bad ideas.
The foot at the moment of the contact must be solid. If it is relaxed, or if your toes are not in a proper position, you can get hurt. Conditioning helps.
There are few important points in this technique. First of all, the distance can be so close, that you will not be able to add the hip movion.
In a very close distance, you will not be able to use your foot (chesoku or haisoku). Use sune instead, it works extremely well.
The opponent's elbows pose a danger, if instead of the ribs or hip you hit the elbow, you may get trauma. This is a mistake most beginners make. The solution is simple - DO NOT move your foot 45 degrees up - make sure it goes up first, and then moves HORIZONTALLY. By the way, the 45 degrees "from the floor up" kick is much less efficient, as it "scratches" the opponent's skin, instead of getting "in".
Let's assume that you are in migi (right) zenkutsu dachi. Turn your back to the opponent, changing to hidari (left) kokutsu dachi. Continue by bringing your left foot closer to the right (supporting) foot (to the neko ashi dachi position).
Turn your shoulders and your head, so that you can see you opponent over your shoulder.
Continue turning, and in the same time bring your left knee up.
At this point it is VERY important to keep your body straight. Many beginners would bend, and - when the technique is performed fast - it will literally shoot them to the side.
If, on the other hand, your body is straight and your head is projecting down to the heel of a supporting foot, you will remain balanced, no matter how fast you spin.
Once again: the projection of your head on the floor is initially (when you are in kokutsu dachi) betweer your feet. The more you move your weight to the right foot, the close the projection of your head should be to the supporting foot. Finally, when you are standing on one leg, the head must be EXACTLY on above your right foot. Sounds simple. But it will take you many days to do it right.
Finally, continue turning, and send the heel to the target by the smooth line. Make sure the foot is "solid" (as opposed to "relaxed and jelly-like") when it touches the target.
This technique is illustrating a very important point that you will see a lot in kung fu, but not very often in karate. After the gedan barai, how can we perform the punch with the same hand?
The "classical" way is to stop the hand completely, to bring it back, and to begin the punch from the initial position (near the armpit). However it is very slow and energy consuming.
The "martial" way is to continue the gedan barai, turn the hand (in a tata tsuki position, baby finger down, thumb up), but almost without moving it back. Instead, your hips make a powerful "back - forward" move, making your shoulders to move back and then forward very fast and making the punch very powerful.
A word of caution. If the technique is not smooth enough, or if you are not warmed up properly, you can easily hurt your back muscles.
The first kick is actuallu a defensive move. It will stop the opponent's ushiro mavashi geri. Then you need to bend your knee WITHOUT bringing the leg down, and perform the mavashi geri. The technique is nice, but it is certainly not for beginners.
Consider the eBook below as a good start. Just remember the old saying: "to master karate, even nine lives will not be enough". There are katas, that I haven't even mentioned. There are meditations and special excersizes to make the body stronger. There are self-hypnotic mantras, that will make your behaviour spontaneous...
It all is based on the "basic" techniques, so this book was a foundation. Hope you enjoyed it.
|Num. of techniques covered|
|Parts of the body||31|
|Hand techniques: attacks||36|
|Using legs (Ashi vasa)||25|
|Jumping kicks (Tobi geri)||11|
|Kicks from position on the ground (Ne vasa)||6|
|Trips (Harai vasa)||5|
|Practicing sequences of techniques||82|
|Combinations (Rendeoku vasa)||12|