As a white belt, you will be regularly practicing seven basic strikes.
- Stomach Level Punch (Chudan Tsuki)
- Head Level Punch (Jodan Tsuki)
- Forward Back Fist (Ura Uchi)
- Side Back Fist (Yoko Ura Uchi)
- Short Punch (Shita Tsuki)
- Rising Elbow Strike (Hijiate)
- Round Elbow Strike (Mawashi Empi)
These strikes will be your focus through to 7th Kyu Orange belt, where you are then introduced to more advanced strikes, open handed strikes.
As a white belt, these strikes are mostly practised in ‘Ready Stance’ (Heiko dachi). By standing in a comfortable stance, without stepping, a student can focus purely on coordinating their upper body for each strike. Once you have a basic grip on these strikes, your instructor may have you practise these strikes from other stances, while stepping. Strikes are developed and practised firstly at a slow, comfortable pace before moving to a faster pace.
From a fitness perspective, the variety of strikes provide an excellent workout for your core muscles, chest muscles, back muscles and all the muscles in the arms. Once a student integrates their strikes with moving in stances, they then incorporate every muscle in the body.
It’s worth noting that these strikes encompass different ranges of combat (eg close quarter elbow strikes) and encompass various weapons of the arms. The goal of these strikes is to develop a coordinated, powerful technique using the entire body. This allows a smaller person to strike with their full body weight towards a larger potential attacker.
Self-defence is not solely about learning to generate maximum power from your body, it is equally about striking accurately, and aiming towards vulnerable areas of a potential attacker (such as the eyes, bridge of the nose, temple, jaw, throat, solar plexus, floating ribs etc). Its important to understand that your instructor will not ask you strike full force to these areas on other students.
Finally, the regular practise of these techniques will see that they are not only powerful and accurate, but also instinctive. This allows a karate student to strike appropriately if they are ever faced with real-life combat and under the conditions of a PSCR (Psycho Chemical Stress Response).
From a defensive perspective, these strikes (for the more advanced student) also become useful for escaping from grabs and applying locks. These applications are not taught to novice students as a beginner is more likely to fail in their successful application under duress. As a beginner to karate, its essential that your habits are first and foremost simple and effective.