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What is the Most Advanced Technique in Martial Arts?

I have often heard the question, "What is the most 'advanced technique' in martial arts?" In my opinion, the most advanced technique in Karate is also the simplest movement--The straight snap punch. In Isshin-Ryu, the straight snap punch, or the 'tsuki' as it is called in Japanese , is the first technique one learns. Then the student moves on to a different technique. However, do not overlook the power and application of the straight snap punch. Anyone can punch, but the tsuki takes practice, conditioning and time to craft. Something that looks simple can be turned into a devastating strike and defense.

How Do I Perform a Straight Snap Punch?

First, curl your fingers into a fist and place it by your hip and waist line. In Isshin-Ryu we use a vertical fist. At this point your arm should be relaxed, your elbow bent and your fist should be firm but not "rock" hard. This is important, as a stiff arm will not move into action quickly enough. Launch your fist to the target in front of you at solar plexus level. Although, the punch could be applied to a myriad of body parts. Just before impact the fist is tightened " rock" hard, driving the top two large knuckles into your opponent. Once impact is made, the arm and fist are immediately snapped back, inches away from the target, with arm relaxed and fist firm. Last, holster your vertical fist back at the hip.

Now, let's look at the details.

The punch actually starts at the ground, utilizing a correct stance with knees slightly bent and back having good posture. Power and momentum can even be taken from a slight "shuffle" forward while maintaining good posture. With practice, one can feel momentum being pulled from the feet up the leg and into the hip. This is where the fist receives the momentum that the lower body produced.

Imagine a rock in a sock. The sock is loose and pliable, but at the end the sock is rock hard. One's arm and fist must parallel this analogy. Also, take notice of the physics of cracking a whip. The motion of a punch must parallel this analogy.

Combined with the muscles of the shoulder and tightening of the belly on exhale, the holstered fist receives the momentum at the hip and is quickly snapped out while sending all the momentum into the opponent via the top two knuckles.

Looking at the tsuki from the outside, it would seem the least advanced technique when compared to the kicks , throws, take-downs and chokes that karate contains. However, with constant practice, in many self defense situations, the straight snap punch is all one needs.

Thanks for reading!

Oshita Sensei

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