Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How to Strike with a Back Fist Attack in Shorin Ryu Karate

Shorin Ryu is one of the two major modern forms of Okinawan Karate invented in the early 1800s by Sokon Matsumura. He was the personal bodyguard to no less than three kings of Okinawa. His fighting style was developed by fusing styles of Wushu he’d learned when he traveled in China as a young man with the traditional Karate of his homeland. Since it was developed it has had several branches of Karate offshoot from it as subsequent martial arts masters developed their own techniques that they felt were an improvement. In any case, Shorin Ryu Karate is characterized by narrow legged stances to allow for greater mobility, direct rather than circular movements, and a focus of attack and defense in time with the rhythm of one’s breath. A basic attack beginners in Shorin Ryu Karate find easy to master and useful in a fight is the Back Fist strike.

Step 1:
Begin by assuming a Back Stance while facing your opponent. This is done simply by placing your off foot a foot forward off your main foot. In most cases this would mean placing your left foot forward. Instead of widening our legs, keep them well under you, no more than 8 inches apart at the ankle. While this tends to make the balance of a student of Shorin Ryu Karate a little more wobbly than usual, it grants him/her the opportunity to move out of the way of an attack or launch an offensive attack much faster. Keep your weight on your back right foot, bending slightly at the knees to consciously avoid locking them. Keep your upper forearms hanging down at your sides. Your lower right forearm should be crossed over your lower chest, the ball of your fist over the solar plexus. The lower left forearm should be extended in front of the body and held at a diagonal to cross over the chest.

Step 2:
Focus on your breathing. When you have committed to the attack, take a deep breath. Exhale and step a step forward into your opponent’s range with your leading foot, following up quickly with your rear foot in order to keep the same distance between your legs and maintain your stance. Your opponent may have his fists raised to defend. As you step forward, open your right hand and push his right arm sharply out of the way, directly to your left in a cross body driving motion, opening the way for your leading left fist.

Step 3:
Inhale as you extend your left fist, lashing out with a back handed swing entirely from the elbow. It should seem a bit like a door opening with your elbow being the hinge. As your fist extends, the back of it should strike your opponent across the left side of his face. The exact point of impact is dependent on your intentions. You could hit the ear, the neck, the nose, the temple. They would all be good targets to cause pain, incapacitation, or injury to an opponent. The impact should be the back of the top two knuckles; the knuckles for the index and middle finger.

Step 4:
Exhale and retract your arm to its previous position. Step back to your original position, back stepping with the rear foot and then following up with the front foot in a reversal of the manner in which you advanced.

No comments: