Shotokan Karate Techniques

Shotokan karate techniques are rampant in martial arts movies, but let’s be real. Most of us write shotokan off as another cool kung-fu trick or something (getting two different fighting styles and two different countries confused in the process, but nevermind that). Shotokan karate is distinguished from other karate styles by its linear, direct punching, blocking and kicking techniques from low stances. Here is a list of Shotokan Karate techniques to get us better acquainted with this awesome style of karate.

  1. Age-uke: “Age-uke” is Japanese for “rising/upward block.” This is probably the most recognizable Shotokan karate move. It’s when the arm moves upward, with the fist beginning at the hip, and blocks an overhead hit by finishing in front of the forehead. According to some Shotokan Karate teachers, it’s a natural defense move for any overhead hit, so you don’t need a lot of training to do this move.
  2. Soto uke: Translated as “From outside block.” This move is performed by bringing one hand up to the ear while you keep your elbow raised, and then sweeping the arm down and out towards the center of your body. This is also a pretty simple and movie-famous move.
  3. Gyaku Zuki: “Tsuki” is the Japanese word for “thrust.” It’s regarded as one of the most dangerous moves in karate, and so younger players, or players with a lower grade, are not allowed to use this move during practice and competition. What you do is use your hips to build up power. Then twist your hips as the returning arm is pulled back and the punching arm is pushed forward, with the fist twisting at the point of impact. You synchronize the tensing of the whole body when the punch makes contact, and at the same time push your rear foot down. Remember, even real Shotokan students need time to even be allowed to use this move, so don’t go around using it.
  4. Hachiji Dachi: The natural stance. In Shotokan karate, the hachiji dachi are shoulder width apart, with the toes pointing forward. The pupil stands upright, facing forward. This is the “ready” (also called “yoi” position), which means that you are ready to receive or block any punches.
  5. Gedan Barai: This Shotokan technique is mainly used for blocking attacks. Gedan Barai translates as “low level sweep.”  Standing in the hachiji dachi, bend your left forearm up until your first reaches close to your right ear while your right arm moves a little bit to the middle. Your left elbow should rest in the elbow pit of your right arm. Then fling the left arm while you pull your right wrist back to your right hip. While you do this, your hips should rotate clockwise to pack a bit more punch.
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