In the 8th Kyu red belt article we described the arm positions for shuto uke. In this article and video tutorial we are going to explain stepping forward and backward in shuto uke (knife hand block) – kokutsu dachi (back stance).
Although this is classed as a basic karate technique, most people find this difficult and uncomfortable. So we are going to break this step down, into small sections.
Get into the habit of breaking new karate moves down, they then become much easier to understand the small detail.
Starting with the left leg in front.
1. Start the step by driving the front (left) knee forward. Imagine someone has a hold of your left wrist and they sharply pull you forward, so really stretch the left arm forward, hand open, fingers and wrist straight.
2. At the same time as you perform number 1. Lift the right arm straight up from the stomach to the left shoulder. Keep the forearm close to the body as you lift the arm and keep the elbow in the center of the chest. When the right hand reaches the left shoulder (palm facing the neck), the hand is open, fingers and wrist straight.
3. The front knee and two arm movements above, should be done at exactly the same time. As the above moves are executed, immediately start to step with the right leg, pushing the right side of the body forward.
4. Keep the same height throughout the step, knees and feet come close together at the half way point, body square and both feet facing forward.
5. As you start the second half of the step, from the half way point, keep your body weight over your back (left) leg.
6. Still keep both feet facing forward as you move through the here quarter stage of the step. At this point, start to block with the right arm and pull the left hikite arm back.
7. As the hikite arm pulls back, keep the palm facing down and as the blocking arm goes out, keep the palm facing towards you and the elbow down. The back of the blocking forearm, slides down the inside of the hikite arm.
8. As you land in the full kokutsu dachi (back stance), sharply pivot on the left (back) foot, turning your left foot and knee out to the side.
9. As you complete the arm movements, rotate both forearms sharply, so the palm of the hikite (left) arm, faces up and the palm of the blocking arm, faces to the inside and down slightly.
10. Both numbers 8 and 9, should be performed at exactly the same time.
11. Breath in on the preparation and out on the execution of the block.
Most karateka start practicing this particular karate technique, a few months into their karate training. Of all the basic karate moves, this is one of the hardest to master. Whether you are attending a karate dojo, or learning karate at home, I recommend you break the techniques down and repeat again and again. Start slowly and gradually build up to maximum speed.
We covered the basic arm positions for shuto uke in this article and video used for our 8th Kyu red belt test.