Pictures of Karate Fists Types: Hand (Te) Strikes in Karate
Depending on the style of Karate, hand strikes are one of the main components of your artillery. Delivered effectively, a single strike can be enough to disarm, disable, or destroy an opponent. But there is more to a Karateka’s skill-set then a simple straight punch or the “karate-chop” that we see in the movies. Every part of your hand is a potential weapon, and every part of your hand can be used to block or deflect an attack.
Attacks with a Straight Wrist: an Important thing to remember
your wrist will remain on an almost straight plane so that the top of your forearm smoothly runs to the tip of your first knuckle. Your wrist should never be “kinked” and a strong tightening of the wrist should be achieved just prior to the moment of impact.
Gyaku-Tsuki (Reverse Punch): striking hand is opposite to the front leg - Oi-Tsuki (Lunge Punch): striking hand is on the same side as the front leg (N.B. This move will require a slight withdrawal of the offset hip in order to thrust sharply and with power). - Ren-Tsuki (alternate punching): a combination of reverse and lunch punches in any order and in quick succession. - Dan-Tsuki (consecutive punches) : multiple rapid punches using one hand only (N.B. This is most powerful and effective for a beginner if performed as a lunge punch).
This strike's starting point is usually withdrawn, sometimes even tucked behind the back. The arm continues in a circle, usually upside down, and the fist strike is hard to read and extremely powerful as the full thrust of the hips slam the attack into the side of the face, neck or under the arm where ribs can be broken. Be careful not to strike with the smaller fingers which have now changed positions with the larger ones. This can cause a weakened attack, and worse, self-injury.
Hasami-Tsuki (scissor punch)
This is a parallel punch beginning with both hands withdrawn, and driving out than in again. It provides a devastating attack to both sides of the body, or ribs if the opponent has their arm's raised, but also as a crushing blow to both temples.
Uraken (Back Fist )
This strike usually crosses from the opposite side, connecting with the upper knuckles formed as above in seiken. Ideally the elbow of the striking hand points towards the target, and the strike is delivered with a snapping motion. Although the body may be the target, this move is most effective when aimed at the temple or cheekbone, and is a powerful technique after slapping down a guard. N.b. Even though this is considered a straight-wristed attack, slight flexion of the wrist is vital to create greater power in the forward flick to the target. This will also create a better range of motion to deliver a strike even if the move is deflected.
Kentsui (Hammer Fist)
Here, the bottom of the fist should be thrust into the opponent at many critical points, including the head, face, solar plexus, and many pressure points in the arms and legs. When learning this strike, point the elbow of the striking hand at the target, and snap outwards, tensing the fist a fraction before impact.
Nukite (Spear Hand)
The hand should be open with the fingers bent slightly so that the fingertips can align. The very tip of your three middle fingers should be the part that contacts the opponent, tensing at the moment of impact. This technique should be thrust at the opponent, connecting with structurally weaker body parts, the ribs (and the cartilage between them), the sternum, the throat, the groin and under the nose are common targets.
Ippon (One-Knuckle Fist)
This move is a targeted strike. The hand forms in Seiken, with the middle knuckle of the index finger pushed forward. The thumb pushes into the side of the ippon to strengthen the attack. This weapon is driven into the face, rib cartilage of the assailant, and can also be used as a finishing technique to any of the pressure points in the head and neck. The point of impact is critical, as the hand becomes slightly weaker during this technique.
Nakadaka (middle-knuckle fist)
This is the same as Ippon, however the knuckle of the middle finger should protrude. Squeeze the fist tightly to support the finger. Unlike the fist shape formed in Ippon, the hand should be formed in Seiken, with the thumb wrapped underneath to support the fingers during this attack.
Shuto (Knife Hand)
The hand should be kept straight, with tips withdrawn slightly as in the shape of Nukite. The Shuto strike can be use as a powerful blocking mechanism but also as a strike to the temple or neck, or to the side of the body. The strike can be deployed from almost any angle, but is most powerful from above or the side. This is the move commonly seen as a “karate chop”, but should not be cheapened as such because when delivered with power and finesse, it can entirely disable an opponent.
Haito (Ridge Hand)
This strike is delivered much the same as a Knife hand, however the inside of the hand deals the blow. The thumb is drawn into the palm, and the point of impact is the knuckle at the base of the thumb and forefinger, as well as the meaty part of the hand in that area. Due to the short contraction of the biceps, brachioradialis, and anterior deltoid, this technique requires little wind up but provides devastating impact.
Haisho (Back Hand)
The hand should be flexed as in Nukite, but delivered as would an Uraken-uchi. This strike is largely used in blocking, but can be devastating to the face or solar plexus. Swing the back of your hand to the target, and dont forget to relax after you connect.
Kumade (Bear Hand)
Stretch your hand out with fingers bending at the middle-knuckle. Press the fingertips into the palm. The thumb should be pressed tightly into the side of the palm. This move should be used as a powerful strike and not a scratch, but the impact can flatten a nose or damage the eyes. To the side of the skull, it will also bring massive trauma to the eardrum and disorientate the receiver.
Kakuto (Bent wrist)
Reinforce the hand by pushing the thumb into the finger tips. Extend the wrist forwards and downwards. Drive up as a block that will injure the attacker, or use it to disable, driving upward into the armpit.
Seiruto (Ox Jaw)
The hand is positioned like Shuto, but flexed at the wrist to create an attack from the outside edge. Powerful against most body parts, but will fracture a collarbone with no pain to the person delivering the strike.
Your index and middle finger should be extended and spread apart, with the thumb pressing down on the two outside fingers to strengthen the hand. This move is a flicking strike to the eyes, with the purpose of scratching or rupturing the eyeballs.
Teishov (Palm Heel)
Tense the palm and drive with the upper knuckles curled downwards. This move has the same effect as an uppercut, but has better range and power. If used to block an attacking arm, this position opens up the potential for a number of successive hand strikes.
Keito (Chicken Head)
Flex the hand and strike with a bent-wrist. The point of impact should be the outer joints of the thumb.
N.B. Your hand should be flexed ever so slightly downwards and outwards to achieve full power, maximise impact, decrease risk of injury, and to deliver a technically accurate and comfortable strike with the correct part of the hand.
Tsuki actually means “thrust” in Japanese, however, most styles use it to describe their thrust punch attacks. These can be to:
head level (jo-dan)
stomach level (chu-dan)
lower/groin level (ge-dan).
The point of impact for this punch should be largely centred on the two largest knuckles on each hand: the first knuckle of the index and middle fingers. The impact is spread across the surface area at the front of your fist. This hand shape is often called seiken.
The damage caused by the bullet- like impact of your knuckles is compounded by the dimensions of your entire fist. This kind of strike is most usually performed with the fist positioned horizontally, however can also be performed vertically (tate-tsuki), however there are occasions where angled attacks are a better option. Slight flexion of the wrist may be needed to angle the strike towards the target and prevent injury. Training and conditioning your body to perform the most common hand strike in Martial Arts is essential.
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