Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The perfect punch

JKA shotokan karate kumite

Do not forget to correctly apply: strength and weakness of power, stretching and contraction of the body, and slowness and speed of techniques. Gichin Funakoshi

The incredients of the perfect shotokan punch as i understand it.


To be able to deliver the perfect punch first you must be balanced and maintain the correct posture in order for the inefficiencies between the joints of the body to be kept to a minimum when they work as a unit.

The upper body must be firmly settled and on a good base with the back kept straight, hunching will increase the ineffiency of the transfer of force from one body part to the next, the shoulders are completely relaxed and down, rasing the shoulders will flex muscles that dont need to come into play yet.

Tension in your muscles should be kept to a minimum and when executing a punch only the muscles that are required should have any tension at all in them the muscles that dont contribute should be relaxed, eg for arm movement, when extending your arm out to deliver the blow only the tricepts should come into play and the bicept kept relaxed.

If you flex your bicept this will slow your punch down since these muscles (bicept) are not the ones that propel your arm out but rather the ones that bring it back, think of lifting weights from the ground while standing its your bicept that does most of the work, i.e. coming back towards your body.

And then think of the bench press its your tricepts that are pushing the weight up they do get help from the bicept, ofcourse lifting weights is the total opposite to what we are trying to acheive and there will be some help from either muscles, maybe its a bad example but the only one i can think of.

If you don't have good posture and balance unnecessary muscles will come into play to compensate and straighten the body so it can regain its balance this will slow you down.Taking your centre of gravity outside the base of your stance will unbalance you and you may even fall down by your own doing.


If we take the body to be a machine with alot of different moving parts that at the moment of impact must act as one unit to deliver the payload with maximum efficiency, then lets look at how this can be achieved.


If you dont have good grounding with your feet it doesn't matter how good a puncher you are, they will be ineffective. Try punching someone while standing in an ice ring, even if you succeed in hitting them you will probably end up traveling backwards.

Sequential linking of body parts

The first force your body experiences is the reaction of the floor against your feet (force-1), this is then channeled up through your legs (force-2) to your hips and tanden (centre of gravity) about 4 centimetres below your navel, your hips then rotate quickly (force-3)

Your torso then follows twisting sharply (force-4) and finaly your arm is extended (force-5).

For all these forces to act as one on impact the body must be linked for a split second in time, in karate this is achieved by exhaling and tensing the entire body for a hundreth of a second, this ensures that the payload is delivered with maximum effiency and that the force you are delivering does not come back into your body by providing the necessary resistance.

You know that saying every action has an opposite reaction, when you stand on the floor, the floor is pushing back up against your feet just as much as your feet are pushing down on the floor, otherwise you would fall through, so too when you hit something the same amount of force you delivered is trying to come back into your body and back through the same way it traveled to get there and out through your feet into the floor again.

Once the payload has been delivered snap back your hand just as quickly as it was accelerated out, this maximises the force by reducing the contact time.


Doesn't matter how good your punch is if you haven't got anticipation, good distance and timing its worthless, and your punches will be ineffective.If you posses these qualities then you can make someone who is younger and a superior athlete to you look slower than you.


The types of muscles required for martial arts are not the types of muscles required to lift weights, weights in correct proportions can strenthen your muscles and can be good for martial arts but not to become too mucsular, have you ever seen a good boxer that looks like a bodybuilder.

Karate training at its highest level makes your mucsles and tendons rock hard yet flexible and pliable, without great increases in mass. Also the karateka or any martial artist must have a good knowledge of which muscles should come into play at the right time.

Karate techniques in fresh air develop your muscles into fast twitch fibres and punches against resistance develop powerful muscles.

I forgot to meantion the perfect punch when delivered correclty should feel sweat and effortless.

Here is a great article about oi tsuki and dachi

JKA shotokan kumite - shobu ippon