The hardest part of Sanbon-zuki is definitely the three hip movements. Getting the hips to work correctly on this combination is extremely important, but will take time to master.
We first introduce sanbon zuki at 7th Kyu (yellow belt), we are not looking for perfect hip movement at 7th Kyu, but this combination is used in other examinations and we look for improvement as you progress through the grades. Ultimately, we are looking for excellent hip movement before Black Belt is attempted.
Video tutorial at the bottom of this page Oss!
Stepping forward from zenkutsu dachi, gedan barai (left leg in front).
1st Punch Oi zuki (stepping punch) with the right arm.
An initial, small but important forward movement with the front knee, whilst keeping the front foot still.
Drive the left shoulder, right hip and rib cage forward, at the same time keeping the right shoulder back.
Try pulling with the front leg as you step half way.
The left leg then pushes from the floor to propel the body forward, especially the right side of the body.
At the same time the right foot lands, the right side of the body should be shooting forward as you execute the punch.
At the exact time the right foot lands and the punch reaches the target, drive the left heel back into the floor tighten the muscles for a split second, especially muscles under the punching arm, abdomen and the back and inside of the thigh muscles and buttocks, them immediately relax.
At the same time the points in number 6 are applied, snap the left hip forward (1st Hip Movement) and bring the hips and body into the square position (shomen).
2nd Punch Gyaku zuki (reverse punch) with the left arm.
As your hips are in the shomen (square) position, you must first relax and drop the left hip back slightly (Start of the 2nd Hip Movement).
Then immediately drive from the back leg, through the left hip and begin the punch.
The left punching arm remains palm up until the elbow loses contact with the body, then start to rotate the left fist and forearm clockwise.
At the same time the punching arm starts to drive forward, you also drive the left side of the body forward.
When the arm starts to punch and the body starts to rotate, you also drive the hips around and forward. (finish of the 2nd Hip Movement)
When the arm starts to punch and the body starts to rotate, along with the hips, you also start to pull with the right hikite arm.
As the punching arm finishes the rotation, everything else also finishes. The body and hip rotation and the right hikite arm. So your body is in the shomen (Square) position.
3rd Punch Jun zuki (same side as front leg punch)
As your hips are in the shomen (square) position, you must first relax and drop the left hip back slightly.(Start of the 3rd Hip Movement)
Then the right arm starts to punch and you drive the hips around and forward. (finish of the 3rd Hip Movement)
So once again, your body is in the shomen (Square) position.
Try and have an explosive start, but stay relaxed through the movement.
Breathing should be smooth and natural.
Once this style of movement is drilled and practiced thoroughly, especially during kata training, your whole karate will take on a new direction. There is a saying ‘It is in mastering small details that one may reach perfection’