ONLY AVAILABLE ON CD
ISSUE 37 FEATURES
Slater Williams 4th Dan "One Man's Way'
(Interview By J. Cheetham)
Letters to the Editor
JKA (GB) York Course. Yamaguchi, Kato, Yamada, Aramoto. SKM Report.
By John Cheetham
What Makes a Student? By Mike Clarke.
Speed of Technique and Age in Shotokan Karate.
By Clive Layton.
U.K.T.K.F. Edinburgh Course. Kase, Shirai, Kawasoe, Naito. SKM Report.
Classical Applications of Kata.
By John Cheetham.
Shotokan News - Reports - Reviews.
Seeking The Source.'An American's Adventures in Japan. By Rick Brewer.
Re-discovering The Tekki Kata's.
Report By Brian Roberts.
Sensei Kanazawa S.K.K.I.F. Weekend Course.
Karate Training - 'The Modern Approach'
By Ken Hollows.
Toru Yamaguchi Sensei, 8th Dan JKA.
By John Cheetham
I think it would be fair to say that the majority of Shotokan clubs practice straight punches, namely - Choku zuki, oie zuki, gyaku zuki and kizami zuki far, far more than mawashi zuki (round punch), kage zuki (hook punch) ura zuki (uppercut punch) and the overhand jodan punch in yama zuki ( double punch found in kata Bassai dai and Nijushiho) which is also a deflective arm block and simultaneous punch, coupled with the ura zuki, uppercut. The only time many students practice these generally more, 'circular' type punches is during kata practice where they occur many times.
On the old JKA training films these punches were given equal importance to the straight punches which seems to indicate that with the emergence of competition karate, they were sadly not practiced as much. In fact it could be said that they were 'neglected' by many karateka.
One cannot deny that Boxing is the most superior art where 'punching' is concerned and if we look closely at the above mentioned round and hook punches, then karate too, has very similar punches to Boxing. The way boxers put together combinations of punches is fantastic and can be extremely devastating. It would be incredibly hard to 'block' a good boxers punch combination. Yet most clubs don't practice these type of combinations in karate.
When we first start karate, most Western males would throw a punch in a round, haymaker type action, this seems most natural. So, you start off doing round punches 'naturally'. Then after two years karate training it feels totally 'unnatural' not to punch straight as in the usual karate punching techniques. Then all of a sudden in Tekki Shodan we come across a hook punch, kage zuki, and the double punch, yama zuki at the end of Bassai dai. The jodan punch is most definitely a bit like the swinging overhead right or left cross you would have done before karate but a lot more organised. Yet, at this stage it feels horrible to most students.They cannot achieve the thrusting type power found in a straight punch.
The next stage for many at this point will be the shock when they try and apply their straight punches to a 'Bag'. The gyaku zuki feels great on a makiwara but not so hot on a punch bag, where all the fist is absorbed and not just the first two knuckles,(sieken).
All the various punches mentioned, which occur in the Shotokan kata of the round or uppercut variety are 'perfect' for bag work and getting leverage from lateral movement. To me and many karateka I have talked to, it feels more natural to use round punches on a bag and the opposite, namely our straight punches on the makiwara. Try it sometime for yourself, see what you think.
Obviously, because we practice a multitude of techniques within karate which are equally as good as punching, we don't totally specialise as boxers do, but it is well worth studying 'all' the punching techniques within our art, a good left hook as recently displayed by Lennox Lewis on Frank Bruno is a hell of a technique no matter what art you are studying! Coming up from such an angle would make a conventional karate block virtually impossible. So, we must look at these blows very carefully and see what we have that are similar.
Try experimenting with some combinations like; Mawashi zuki jodan - ura zuki chudan and kage zuki chudan as a counter attack in one step sparring. Make up your own combinations. There are no end of variations which can be experimented with.We do have these circular punches at our disposal, right in the heart of our training, 'THEY ARE IN THE KATA'.
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