Very early in their training, karate students are
taught a basic punch called oizuki (lunge punch).
It is used frequently in basics, bunkai (applications)
and kata, and is usually executed in hangetsu-dachi
(the Ryusei forward stance). The beginning student
should step first and then punch – the base must
set before the punch is executed. Other factors to
keep in mind include balance, direction and distance.
The basic oizuki is done with a separate step,
to set the base, and then punch.
As the student becomes intermediate (4th to 2nd kyu),
they should begin to use rotational hip action to add
power to the basic step and punch. At this point, the
step should become more of a lunge. Rather than breaking
down the motion into separate step and punch motions,
the student must bring it all together in a single,
fast motion, getting power from the forward thrust
of the body. All to often I have seen students continue
to step with this punch when a lunge is necessary to
make it effective. A step is far too slow for this
As the student becomes advanced (1st kyu and shodan),
the oi-zuki must become a part of the their fundamental
arsenal. Now the karateka must bring the basic concepts
they have learned into a single focus, to make the
punch really effective. They should start to execute
the punch slightly before the step, with the hip remaining
relaxed until the last moment. Just before impact all
the factors – the step, punch, hips, balance
and kime (focus) – come together to create a
truly fast, powerful technique. It is important for
the student to stay relaxed until the moment before
the technique’s completion. They should also
start to realize the important role the punch plays
in learning to execute explosive movement from a standing
As the student advances in the black belt ranks, this
punch must become even more explosive and realistic.
All the components should be there as one: lunge, hip,
punch, shime (contraction), shibori (wringing), kime,
zanshin (awareness of opponent) and eventually hakkei
(unleashing of internal energy).
The advanced oizuki
explodes out of a standing
start, uniting all the elements of the technique in
one move, including hips, kime, lunge and punch.
I like to compare the technique at this stage to a
bullwhip. The whip is a single entity but it is composed
of a handle and a long rawhide length that extends
to the tip. The tip cannot strike by itself, nor can
the rest of the rawhide length or handle. However,
when these parts work together – the handle snapping
its energy along the length of rawhide and exploding
out the tip – a flawless technique is executed.
Although the whip is supple and soft, it delivers a
powerful, penetrating impact. The karate student must
train hard to achieve a whip-like power in their oizuki
and other karate techniques.
—Peter Zehr, 4th Dan, Grey-Bruce
Ryusei Karate Clubs