uke-waza


Power Generation Methods

Karate is not a single, homogeneous practice, but rather is made up of a wide variety of styles, all of which are eclectic blends of native Okinawan arts, Japanese arts, Chinese arts, Indochinese arts, and more. While the human body only functions in so many ways, there are actually quite a number of approaches to doing most things, including generating […]

Nishiyama (Shotokan) breaking boards

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How to Bunkai

Bunkai (lit. “take apart, analyze”), in the context of karate, is the practice of breaking down kata and working on developing applications for their movements, but sometimes it can be hard for karateka to figure out how to apply kata movements on their own. This is compounded by the fact that many instructors still only teach basic “block-punch-kick” applications for […]


Motobu Choki and Stopping Attacks with “Blocks”

“One cannot use continuous attacks against true karate. That is because the blocks of true karate make it impossible for the opponent to launch a second attack” The above quote comes from Motobu Choki, as translated by Joe Swift, and is one of many somewhat enigmatic statements from the famed Okinawan fighter about the nature of karate. Some of his […]

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Taira Masaji demonstrating Goju-Ryu techniques

Clearing the Way

  As karateka, we often look at being on the receiving end of attacks, but sometimes we can overlook dealing with the defense of our attackers. From a philosophical view, it is easy to understand why this could happen. Most serious karateka are familiar with the concept of “karate ni sente nashi,” or “there is no initiating hand in karate.” […]


Opposing Forces

Karate kata contain many movements that travel in opposite directions. Although it is quite simple, this concept of opposing forces is one of the signature methods of Okinawan karate. It can be seen in kihon practice, as well as in advanced kata, because it is extremely versatile. In application, this concept can defend, attack, clear obstructions, dislocate joints, and increase […]

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The Limb Strikes of Karate

While karate strikes primarily target the head and body, it also includes strikes to limbs. In my recent article about cutting lines, I mentioned that those methods involve striking the limb as you attack. That is a byproduct of cutting the opponent’s line of attack or defense, but damaging the limb isn’t usually the intent. In this article, we will […]


Compound Movements and Cutting Lines

Karate is often described as being a linear art, especially when looking at modern karate, but it is actually more circular than it gets credit for. Both linear movements, and circular movements, work together in karate to function as compound movements. These compound movements allow us to do more than we might otherwise, because they exert force in unusual ways […]

Funakoshi Gichin, founder of Shotokan, demonstrating Naihanchi Shodan

Mawashi-Uke - Higaonna Morio

Hidden Techniques in Kata

There is some disagreement in the karate community about whether hidden techniques in kata actually exist or not, but that disagreement largely stems from differing views on what the definition of “hidden” is. In the sense of karate techniques, “hidden” could be used to refer to things that are purposely concealed or obscured, or even completely removed. It could also […]