Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

Thought/Technique Archive

Technique of the Week (March 17th, 2008)

From Kyoshi Michael Mckay
Ueshiro Midtown Karate Dojo


The technique for the week is tomoe-zuki, circular block and punch, as
seen in kata Fukyugata II, Rohai and Passai. Nagamine Sensei describes
this technique as being used "to deliver a blow to the chest and abdomen
simultaneously." The fists are separated both vertically and
horizontally by one to two fists' distance. The top fist rotates 180
degrees and benefits from the extra hip rotation of a reverse punch. The
lower hand remains in an upper-cut position and stays in a slightly bent
position (see Illustration 6 in the Shorin-Ryu - Okinawan Karate
Question and Answer Book, page 72). In Fukyugata II, zenkutsu-dachi is
used to deliver the technique, and in the black belt kata,
nekoashi-dachi is employed.

Striking to the chest and abdomen specifically includes the following

* Solar plexus and spleen
* Solar plexus and liver
* Solar plexus and heart
* Spleen and left kidney (striking to opponent's left side)
* Liver and right kidney (striking to opponent's right side)

The high number of potential targets makes this technique ideal for
fighting in darkness. The odds of directly striking at least one vital
target are excellent, particularly if the opponent has revealed his
location by grabbing the lapels (Fukyugata II) or has been located via
the foot searching movement seen in Rohai and Passai. Curiously, the
circular block and punch in the black belt kata is simpler than what is
seen in Fukyugata II because the circular block is omitted.

It should be noted that strikes to blood-rich organs such as the spleen,
liver and kidneys cause little external damage but may readily lead to
fatal hemorrhaging. Since internal bleeding may not cause instant loss
of consciousness, be aware that an opponent may continue his attack
(e.g., fire a weapon).

Knowledge of this deadly technique, introduced at one green tip,
requires the student have the responsibility to use it only in life and
death situations. We should also be familiar with ways to defend against
tomoe-zuki should it be used against us. Strategies for defense include
(1) maintaining a 45 degree angle to the opponent to prevent direct
hits, (2) protecting the torso with the elbows and forearms, and (3)
moving out of range. Inside and outside chest blocks may also be used to
sweep both punches to one side.

The lethal power of tomoe-zuki is allegedly tied to the belief that two
punches delivered simultaneously several inches apart are far more
destructive than two consecutive punches directed to the same target.
This phenomenon has analogies in nature, as when overlapping waves
(sound, water, shock) cause far greater disturbance when they collide.

Next time you perform Fukyugata II, visualize the force of two tsunami
converging at the point directly between your fists.

Domo arigato gozaimasu,
Kyoshi Mackay
Ueshiro Midtown Karate Dojo