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How to do a Choku-Zuki? Use your Hip and Pelvis!

Our friends from Karate Dojo WaKu in Tokyo allowed us to share the following video. This time, they explain how to do a choku-zuki.

How does it work?

A choku-zuki is a punch in an upright stance called heiko dachi. Although, it belongs to the most basic punches, it poses many difficulties for beginners to execute it with a maximum of power and speed. No forward body-movement supports the punch. Therefore, the secret to the choku-zuki lies in the utilization of the hip and pelvis rotation. Both have to move slightly back and forth in order to initiate the movement and to create a whiplash-effect. Without the hip and pelvis rotation only the shoulders and arms generate power. That limits the efficiency and effectiveness of the punch.

Basic Posture of Choku-Zuki

The starting position comprises the front hand in a zuki position while the back hand rest in hikite position between the hip and the rips. Do not forget to pull the hikite hand as much back as position. As a result the arm muscles create some tension. That makes it possible to release the arm like the arrow from a bow. When the fist reaches it target, the arm will have accelerated to maximum speed and thus power.

The picture shows Hirokazu Kanazawa. His Seiken and Ki were tremendous. In this picture he does a Choku-zuki.
Hirokazu Kanazawa doing a choku-zuki.

Basic Movement of Choku-Zuki

When you move your fist an arm forward focus on a straight motion. Your arm should not rotate towards the target. Keep it straight without tensing up. Therefore, the elbows must stay inside. If the move outside you lose a lot of energy and disrupt your joints. During the whole motion stay relaxed. Only a few millimeters before your arm has fully extended use kime for a split of a second.

What to Consider

Do not forget to use a slight hip-rotation in order to initiate the punch. However, do not leave your hip at the front. Create a tiny counter motion by pulling it back before your fist reaches the target. Once you have mastered this you will experience the so called “whip-lash-effect“. You then create power and tension without using to much of your muscle power. Thus, your punch will become way more efficient.

You must also focus on you knuckles (seiken). Only the inner two (index and middle finger) should hit the target. The physical idea behind that is to maximize energy on a very small spot. The effect of the impact will then much stronger.

How do you do your choku-zuki? Critical comments are welcome!

7 thoughts on “How to do a Choku-Zuki? Use your Hip and Pelvis!

  1. Thank you for sharing.
    These small bits of knowledge help to focus on specific topics. very good.

  2. Hotton Sensei also covers this topic well in this video:

    Based on this article, when Hotton Sensei says let the relaxed wobble of your hips “naturally transition” (1:15) into your punch, he means to coordinate the returning motion of your hips with your punch – this is stated in the above video at 0:50 as “the impact of your punch should synchronize with your pelvis twisting back (to its starting position).”

    It seems that being relaxed is required for your hips to be able to initiate and move quickly enough for them to be active in the punch.Compare this to when the hips are loaded back in hanmi in zenkutsu dachi. In this case there is a tension feeling as if an elastic is being pulled back, and the release of the hips is naturally transitioned into the gyaku zuki

    Is this correct? Are these distinctively different ways to generate power? If so, what other ways can we compare and contrast these movements? For example, do they generate different intensities or kinds of power? Do they have distinctively different martial applications? Is one better for grappling techniques than the other?

    1. Dear Ryan, do you mind if we post your questions to the readers?

    2. That might lead to an interesting and beneficial discussion.

      1. I don’t mind at all. Post away!

  3. […] than in a regular Shotokan kiba dachi. Then the hip can rotate even more freely. As a result, the whip-lash effect, which is fundamental for Okinawa Karate, becomes […]

  4. […] se. But we’ll get back to that. The difference between karate and let’s say boxing is simple. Karate doesn’t use a shoulder and or a lean in or a swing to generate power in the technique. Power generated in that manner makes the weight of the initiator a major part of that power […]

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