Oi-Tsuki – A Simple Punch?

oi_tsukiSounds simple enough, but in last night’s class under the constructive scrutiny of a 5th Dan I practiced the Oi-Tsuki until my legs ached. Why? A) Because there’s always room for improvement, and B) in my Dojo, if you expect to progress though the Dan ranks you need to fix the subtle mistakes.

You can see the Oi-Tsuki as a step and punch where you show nice form, speed and power, or…

Prior to movement: head back, big form (left arm fully extended, draw arm all the way back), deep stance with your legs ready to drive your body forward, hara tight, quick in-breath. AKA Spring-Loaded.

During movement: head back, maintain your vertical posture (no bobbing up and down), lead with your hara (hips square), drive off the back leg, continue the drive with the front leg as your weight shifts, energy focused not ‘on’ but ‘past’ your opponent. AKA Driving Forward.

Delivery:  Simultaneously ripping the draw arm back, punching arm drives out (straight from the hip) to the center, hips rotating forward as if driving the punch with it, settling into a strong front stance, head still back, energy focused beyond your opponent and exhale coming to an end as the punch hits the position of Kiai. AKA Finishing Blow.

 I’m not writing this to teach anyone how to do Oi-Tsuki. I’m writing it because, even after all these years of training, I am still trying to bring such a simple thing all together myself.

As I watched the 5th Dan demonstrating the Oi-Tsuki last night I had a thought about his karate: Getting hit with that would be like getting hit with the force of a Mack truck in the shape of a fist!