When attending one of the many karate for beginners classes available, one of the first karate moves taught is Chokuzuki or straight punch.

The punch is practiced from heiko-dachi (natural stance), feet roughly shoulder width apart, toes facing forward, shoulders relaxed, crown of the head pushing up, stomach pushing down and chin pulled in. The weight should be evenly distributed over both legs. Try not to put the weight on the heels, instead the weight should be on the balls of the feet and big toes.

One arm is placed straight out in front with a fist formed, try to keep the shoulder of the punching are relaxed and down, the back of the hand facing up.

The other arm is placed in the hikite position. Hikite is made when you form a fist and place it on the ribs at the side of your body, the fist should be palm up, with the elbow pulled in and down. If you look from the front, you should be able to see the fist at the side of the body, but not the elbow sticking out. If the elbow is higher than the fist, the shoulder will be up and weak.

Punching With The Right Arm

1. When you start the punch, your right fist will be in the hikite position at the side of the body. Your punching arm moves forward, but nothing else, keep the palm facing up, do not let the elbow come away from the body as this will cause the punch to become a flick, keep the elbow directly behind the fist until your elbow comes level with the front of your stomach. As your elbow moves away from the body, you begin to rotate the forearm anti-clockwise, your fist and forearm should travel through 180 degrees and complete the rotation at the end of the punch, do not do the rotation at the end of the punch, this is a mis conception, the rotation starts as the elbow leaves the body and finishes at the end of the punch.

2. Try to keep the wrist straight and the two large knuckles aligned forward.

3. At exactly the same time as this is happening, the arm that is out straight, starts to pull back to the hikite position. As soon as the pull back starts, twist the left arm 90 degrees anti-clockwise, then start to pull the arm back in a straight line. Once again keep the elbow in a straight line, as soon as the elbow reaches the side of the body, the last 90 degree rotation can be completed.

4. Both arms should be moving at the same time and both arms should stop at the same time. Breathing should be silent, breathing out on the execution of this basic karate punch.

5. Technical Detail

When punching with the right fist, the power is generated not just from the upper body and arms but from the legs and in particular, the left hip which initially rotates back to pull back the left reaction hand (hikite) and then immediately thrusting forward at the completion of the punch, so the hips once again return to their square position, this movement generates tremendous power in the punch. The muscles in the back of the left thigh plays a major part in the punch and this muscle tenses at the end of the technique, along with the abdominal muscles and the muscles under the right punching arm.

When learning karate, the techniques are extremely complex, so it is a good idea to take things slowly and understand the karate basics fully, before moving on to the advanced training.

Author's Bio: 

Linden has been training and teaching karate for over 30 years and loves to share his knowledge and experiences in the martial arts. Supplement your karate dojo training with these free videos at karate lessons for beginners.