Beginners’ Karate moves

Karate basics

Before you can do spectacular karate moves like The Karate Kid’s crane kick or sophisticated katas, you must understand the basics. All art is constructed on simple motions.

Learn the punches’ Japanese names. Karate involves mind and bodily training. To that purpose, we’ll also provide the Japanese names for karate movements.


Before punching, make a fist. If you create a fist improperly and strike anything, you might shatter one of your hand’s 27 bones.

Make a fist by curling your fingers toward your palm. It should be so snug that your finger pads almost touch your finger joint. Fold thumb over index and middle finger. It rests between the middle and ring fingers.

Some suggest pulling the thumb back and resting it on the index finger or tucking it within the hand. Both positions risk fracturing your thumb (not to mention they are a little uncomfortable).

No gaps or slack should be in your fist. Punch with your index and middle finger knuckles. Impact wrist straight.

Step-by-step, we’ll go over basic karate movements.

1.Choku Zuki

Straight punches are common in martial arts. Many martial arts use it. Karate, which is linear and choppy, has a specific place for it. When done effectively, karatekas love the straight punch.

Start neutral to throw a straight punch. Right-handed punches are palm-up and cocked towards the side. Turn your palm down as you punch. Do not lock your elbow or you risk damage.

Step forward with your right leg and bring your left hand to your side. When timed right, this push-pull action boosts your punch.

Strike with your two biggest knuckles and aim for the chest. Kiai.

When done properly, this apparently harmless motion may be lethal. Straight punches can damage boards in competition or street battle opponents.

2. Oi Zuki

Front lunch punches are more forceful than straight punches because they use body momentum. Push, pull with your other hand, start with your palm facing up and twist your fist as you punch. Don’t overextend your elbow.

This punch will require more effort. You’ll get deeper. This increases the punch’s strength but roots you for a few seconds. If a friend is behind you, you’ll have trouble reacting to another assault.

Instead of a leisurely stride forward, leap into a deep zenkutsu dachi. Add a push with the punching arm’s hip and pectoral.

3. Mae Geri

Karate involves punches and kicks, right? Now that we’ve covered punching, let’s look at kicking.

Challenging kicks. While your foot is in the air, you lose balance and are exposed. The tradeoff is powerful. Legs are stronger and longer than arms.

Front kicks maintain balance well. A rapid front snap kick might startle your opponent.

From a fighting posture, bring your leg up until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Both legs can be used. Stretch your foot forward and bring your toes back to strike with the ball of your foot.

Don’t kick or you’ll break your toes. Kick your opponent’s chin with bursting power. Kiai.

As vital as the kick itself is regaining balance and posture. Reposition your foot in the chamber (knee up and thigh parallel to the floor). Lower it into a combat posture.

The short version. Front kicks can be employed to push opponents back. As you extend your hip, chamber the kick the same manner. Aim for the solar plexus to “push” your opponent away.

You can’t return to the same posture after thrusting forward, so chamber the kick and put it on the floor in front of you.

4.Yoko Geri

Side kicks are both offensive and defensive. You queue up behind a strong strike. When completed properly, your opponent can’t get through your defence. You shouldn’t give them enough time to dodge.

To side kick, turn sideways. If you’re kicking with your right leg, turn 90 degrees to the left.

From a fighting or ready posture, elevate your leg as high as possible. Use the momentum from elevating your knee to pivot and point your supporting leg’s toes behind you. Lean back and raise your foot so your lower leg is parallel to the floor.

You’re ready to launch that leg towards your opponent. Turn your ankle so you’re striking with the foot’s “knife edge.” Pinky side of foot. Kiai.

If you did it well, your opponent will collapse.

5.Mawashi Geri

What about side kicks and punches? The roundhouse kick is a famous combat manoeuvre.

The roundhouse kick is popular. It’s stealthy yet strong. A roundhouse kick has rung many a fighter’s ear.

Fight posture. Chamber the kick by rising and rotating your rear leg parallel to the ground (or as close as possible). Your knee should be bent, your toes pointing, and your shin tight.

In this position, your lower leg is coiled and ready to strike. As you send your foot forward, swivel your standing foot to point behind you.

Full-force kicks require a pushed-forward hip. You can kick quicker without extending your hip, but you’ll lose power. Foot-to-ear or foot-to-ribs. Kiai.

Rechamber the kick by bending your knee, rotating your standing foot to the front, and lowering your leg into a fighting position.

6.Age Uke

Blocking skills are essential to karate. Karate, a defensive art, doesn’t attack first. It deflects assaults and will unleash a deadly counterattack to win.

First, the higher rising block. This block deflects hammer blows, axe kicks, and other overhead strikes. It can also deflect high blows away from your face.

Start with your blocking hand at your stomach, palm up, as if you had a stomachache. Step forward with the blocking leg.

As you walk, raise your arm parallel to the floor above your head and rotate it so your palm faces out. Keep a fist to reinforce your posture and allow your forearm bone receive the hit. Deflect and attack from there.

7.Soto/Uchi Uke

The central block deflects all body attacks. From the inside out or outside in.

Soto uke brings your opponent within your guard, allowing you to counterattack. Bring your blocking arm up from the hip so it’s perpendicular to the floor. Palm facing you, touch pinky finger side of forearm as arm rotates in from outside.

In this posture, you may easily make a deadly assault, possibly to your opponent’s face if they don’t cover up quickly.

The opposing block (uchi uke) opens your attacker’s chest. Since you’re also exposed, you’ll have a great selection of targets.

Bring your blocking arm up and outward. You’ll catch the assault with your thumb-side forearm palm. Immediately assault to prevent them from using their other hand.

8.Gedan Barai

How about a low opponent? Middle and high blocks are good for head or torso strikes, but not for abdominal hooks or uppercuts. You can deflect these assaults with a low block.

Bring your opposite blocking hand to your ear. Bring your arm down towards your hip. You’ll lose strength if you stretch your hand too far. Stabilize the block with your hips and shoulders.

The pinky side of your forearm should contact your opponent’s arm or leg. Timing this block perfectly will deflect your opponent’s assault away from you.

When doing this block, go to a back stance or cat stance. These postures protect your groyne and inner thighs, too. Cat posture might be unstable, so be careful.

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