Soto Uke Gyaku Zuki Stepping

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Soto Uke Gyaku Zuki Stepping

In this video, we’re going to be working on a basic shotokan two technique combination, comprising of soto uke gyaku zuki (outside block reverse punch). We will be stepping forward and stepping back.

This is a great exercise for coordinating arms and legs to help you move faster, more efficient and is a requirement when taking our black belt mock test.

Many years ago, we used to have soto uke gyaku zuki (inside block reverse punch) as one of the combinations for 8th Kyu Red Belt.

People used to really struggle with changing the arms at the half way stage of this karate combination.

When you practice this basic shotokan combination, you have to change your arms at the halfway point. You utilize body dynamics and the change of arms with the step, as you practice, this does become much easier, but it is very confusing at first.

Start from a left gedan barai with a right gyaku zuki reverse punch.

As you step forward with the right leg, drive the front left knee forward very slightly, no pressure on the knee itself, this is a very small movement, but it does initiate the step.
Also drive off that back leg as you start to step. So as you drive off the back leg and drive the front knee forward, prepare the arms immediately.

So as the right leg comes forward, the left arm is going to punch. But this is just a preparation and the fist can be open or closed back of the hand up.

As you step up with the back leg, pull the right arm back and up to your right side ready to block soto uke. Like the other basic double technique combinations, this is a great exercise for coordinating the arms with the step.

The right blocking arm pulls back high to the right side. Try and have the elbow straight out to the side at the same height as the shoulder, right fist should be vertical, directly above the right elbow.

At the half way point, the body is in a shomen (square position).

Both feet are level at the half way point, we have our feet apart, but if you put your feet together that’s also fine. Now to step forward. We won’t cover the soto ude uke stepping block in too much detail as we have another video for that and here’s another video tutorial showing different ways to practice outside block.

Drive off the left leg at the half way point. Drive the body forward, you should still be in the shomen (square position). These double technique combinations are excellent for working on the shomen (square position) and hanmi (side facing position).

As you land and block soto uke rotate the body and hips into the hanmi (side facing) position and be sure and pull the left hikite (pulling hand) back sharply, then immediately punch with a gyaku zuki (reverse punch)

Now moving backwards. Pull your front leg back and at the same time soften the back legs knee.

Use the reverse punching arm to help the leg come back and use the front leg to help the arm come back.

So use both legs and arms together. As you start to step back the hikite arm wants to stretch forward, so just let the arm go quickly but lightly. Then drive off the front right leg to step back, also drive the left stepping leg back sharply, along with the left side of the body.

As you land and block soto uke rotate the body and hips into the hanmi (side facing) position and be sure and pull the left hikite (pulling hand) back sharply, then immediately punch with a gyaku zuki (reverse punch).

Practice slowly until you feel confident with the half way arm changing, try and coordinate legs and arms to help with this combination.

Soto Uke Gyaku Zuki Tips

Make sure you block with the inside of the forearm and finish with a sharp rotation of the forearm, body and hip.
Try and time the block with the body and hip rotation into the hanmi (side facing) position.
At the three quarter stage through the block, just before you finish the block, you’re in the shomen position. So just as you finish the block, you sharply go into the hanmi (side facing) position, after a complete stop on the block, you immediately punch gyaku zuki (reverse punch) and finish the punch in the Shomen (square) posotion.

Focus and work hard on the shotokan fundamentals, because this will make your karate much stronger and ready for the advanced karate at black belt.

Linden Huckle

About the author

Linden Huckle has been practicing and teaching karate for over 50 years and believes first and foremost, karateka should enjoy their karate. He says 'there is nothing better than seeing a person develop into a great person through their karate practice, while at the same time enjoying karate.'

Linden Huckle