Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

September 14th, 2014

From Sensei Shabbir Kazmi, San-Dan, of Ueshiro NoVA Karate Club.

Onegai-shimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, Sensei, Deshi--

This week's Thought of the Week is submitted by Sensei Shabbir Kazmi, San-Dan, of Ueshiro NoVA Karate Club.

Push-ups: One of the most effective body conditioning exercises in Shorin Ryu Karate is the push-up. As specified on Page 89 of the ‘Green Book’, Karate of Okinawa, Building the Warrior Spirit, by Hanshi Robert Scaglione and William Cummins, “….a push-up is performed while resting one’s weight onto index and middle finger knuckles of a clenched fist on a hard surface to condition the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulders”.

A key aspect of the push-up technique is resting one’s weight on index and middle finger knuckles with a tight fist, which specifically helps us train to get a closed tight fist for punching and strengthening knuckles and forearms. Think of the ‘iron fist’ created by closed tight hands and hard knuckles, which can be achieved by doing push-ups and hitting the Makiwara. We often ask our white and green belts to practice knuckle push-ups to achieve this iron fist. Another important part of technique is maintaining a straight wrist and ensuring the elbows are rubbing the Gi as push-ups is performed (no chicken wings with elbows out to the side). Overall body position should be a straight plank which also engages one’s stomach muscles. When going towards the ground breath in and coming up breath out, one has an option to do fast push or do it on a slow count or breathing. Usually during a class, 10 push-ups minimum are done as a warm up, followed by 10 punches minimum. As noted on page 89, a normal training session is 50-100 reps, however “we do push-ups as a warm up and as a general conditioning exercise, not for goals or record breaking numbers…….in Karate we do not have to train for physical records”.

The “Green Book”, gives specific direction on how to do modified push-ups for beginners or if someone is working around the injury, as well as fingertip push-ups and Chinese push-ups.

One of my favorite techniques was from Sensei Barshai in New York, “start with one push-up every morning; you will be surprised to work up to 10 and more in no time”.

For additional information and visual aids, please see Sensei Lyle Kleusch' TOTW 17 July 2011.

Domo Arigato,
Kyoshi Salvatore Scaglione, Shichi-Dan
Denshi Shihan, Ueshiro Northern VA Karate Club


Sensei Shabbir Kazmi, San-Dan
Ueshiro Northern VA Karate Club