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Torakan Karate-Do

Karate Essence ‘Reality Check’ Oi Tsuki or Jun Tsuki/Lunge Punch or Stepping Punch

Karate Essence

‘Reality Check’

Photograph by Zoё Lake

Oi Tsuki or Jun Tsuki/Lunge Punch or Stepping Punch

This punch is a basic technique in many styles and arts and, as in all the techniques that I feature in the ‘Reality Check’, each of those styles and arts put a slightly different spin on it.

Table of Contents

  •          Fighting or Self-defence Technique?

  •         Tae Kwon Do Seu-Te-Ping-Peon-Chi/Stepping Punch

  •          Kung Fu Chōng Quán/Lunge Punch

  •          Wado Ryu Jun Tsuki/Lunge Punch

  •          Muay Thai Lunging Punch

  •          Shotokan Oi Tsuki/Stepping or Lunge Punch

  •          Torakan Eye View

  •          Conclusion


Fighting or Self-defence Technique?

I began my traditional Shotokan training in the early 1970s, more than 50 years ago, and Oi Tsuki was one of the first Shotokan techniques that I learned.  Over years, as a training tool in the dojo, I must have executed the technique thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of times.


I fought in Karate competition at national level both in Scotland and in Australia, for a combined period of about seven years.  I also had a thirty year career in high risk security; negotiating, perhaps, hundreds of adverse self-defence situations.  I could count on one hand how many times I’ve actually used Oi Tsuki in a practical application.

At this point I will state that it happened with no conscious, prior thought; and on those occasions, it was my Mushin that instigated the technique.  Also that it worked well!  On those occasions, nothing else would have been more appropriate.

Tae Kwon Do Seu-Te-Ping-Peon-Chi/Stepping Punch

‘In a walking stance, step forward while simultaneously throwing a punch with the same side arm.  The power comes from your hips and legs.’ 

The above description is more or less copied straight from the tutorial description.  I would add also that the hips and shoulders are kept square to the front all through the technique, in a Shomen position.

To be fair, I believe the tutorial is designed for beginners but it was the only Tae Kwon Do Stepping Punch/Seu Te Ping Peon Chi tutorial I could find.


Kung Fu Chōng Quán/Lunge Punch

The Kung Fu Chōng Quán, Lunge or Lunging Punch is practiced quite differently to the way it is expected to be executed in reality, but only in its depth and exaggeration.  The hips and shoulders are used to twist the punch into the target, finishing in Hanmi position (punching hand, hip and shoulder, forward) on contact.

If you look at the history of Kung Fu: Bodhidharma is traditionally credited as the founder of the Shaolin Kung Fu martial arts system around 500AD.  Supposedly, Bodhidharma introduced the physical disciplines to the Chan Buddhist monks, as both a fitness regime and a system of self-defence, to prepare them for all manner of hardships and physical attacks on their person while travelling in a very tough and dangerous environment.

As you will see in this short tutorial, the Kung Fu Lunge Punch is practiced, much like the rest of their art, with exaggerated movement and depth to exercise and stretch the body; building strength and flexibility. 


Wado Ryu Jun Tsuki/Stepping Punch

The Wado Ryu approach to the stepping punch is different from that of the Kung Fu Lunge Punch in almost every aspect, but the practice is no less technically considered; in fact I might say more so.  I won’t go into the application differences here, as I believe that to be self-evident.  However, I will point out what I believe to be the main conceptual difference.

The Kung Fu Lunge Punch practice is performed jointly as an exercise (in an exaggerated form) to build strength, speed and power to the body and the technique.  The Wado Ryu Stepping Punch practice is performed in a precise, technical manner, building speed and Kime as the practice continues.  I will point out one technical difference, and that is that the hips and shoulders in the Wado Ryu technique are locked in a Shomen position on delivery of the technique.


The first link is a short Wado Ryu Jun Tsuki tutorial, and the second link is to an article by a Wado Ryu Chief Instructor on Jun Tsuki and contains a couple of short videos.


Muay Thai Lunging Punch

I have included this Muay Thai Technique because they call it a ‘Lunging Punch’.  It is as different as you can get from all other versions of a Lunge Punch but it is a Lunge Punch and therefore deserves a mention.  It actually reminds me more of a fairly mean body rip from my boxing days than anything I executed in Muay Thai training; but I have seen this Lunging Hook Punch executed with devastating effect.


Shotokan Oi Tsuki/Stepping or Lunge Punch

From zenkutsu dachi, step and attack Oi tsuki, keeping low and level, using the driving leg to propel the body forward, keeping the back straight and the shoulders down, staying relaxed until impact, when you Kime.  Body weight x the speed the body is travelling, plus the speed of the punching technique, impacting with Kime to bring all of the components of the punch to its conclusion in unity.

The following link will take you to an excellent, short Shotokan Oi Tsuki/Stepping or Lunge Punch targeting tutorial.  Watching this tutorial, I am transported back to my early days and training with Enoeda Sensei.

I have included two more short Shotokan Oi Tsuki tutorials.  These tutorials are from different Shotokan organisations but they both emphasise locking your hips in the Shomen position as you deliver the punch.  Which is different, I feel, from the first, targeting tutorial, which seems to finish the technique in the Hanmi position.

·         Shotokan Oi Tsuki


Photograph by Zoё Lake


Torakan Eye View

Having been a boxer long before I was a Karateka – beginning my punching training at about six years of age – by the time I began my Shotokan training at age 22 I thought I knew every way there was to punch.  I was wrong of course.

As previously stated, I haven’t used Oi Tsuki very often in a practical situation; however though few I did learn in very practical ways that there are instances when nothing works better.

In two of the three above Shotokan videos the emphasis is definitely for a Shomen position (hips and shoulders, locked in, square to the front) on impact.  However, in the first Shotokan video clip (for targeting) the position is Hanmi (hips and shoulders offset), driving through on impact, to further power the punch.  I styled my Oi Tsuki on the very powerful Enoeda Sensei.  In the following video clip Enoeda Sensei demonstrates various devastating techniques, one of which is Oi Tsuki; note the Hanmi position.


Those of you who follow my ‘Reality Check’ will know by now that my main focus is self-defence.  The following links will highlight the Torakan eye view of Oi Tsuki or Lunge Punch moving from a neutral position, as in a self-defence scenario.  This ‘Sen in combat’ action would be ‘Sen sen no sen’: attack immediately you become aware of an imminent attack upon your person; or Deai: attack immediately you are aware of the intention of an attack.  This kind of Sen tactic is encouraged if, for instance in an adverse situation, you are outnumbered.


·         1 Lunge Punch

·         2 Lunge Punch

·         3 Lunge Punch

·         4 Lunge Punch



It is fairly obvious that the Lunge Punch is intended to maximise the potential of the ‘weight x speed’ equation.  So, the driving force of the legs is an important part in all of the above examples of Oi Tsuki.  Where they begin to differ in their application is mostly in the use of the upper body to create a plus factor to the equation and, I believe, that plus is in the final part, driving the hips and upper body into the Hanmi (creating torque) position simultaneously as the foot lands and the fist strikes.


Because there are, quite obviously, differences of opinion on this analysis, even within the Shotokan system; after a lifetime in the martial arts, I believe, as always, it is a matter of choice.


Thank You to the Readers

Thank you for following the ‘Karate Essence’ Reality Check and, again, thank you for your part in the terrific response to the launch of my latest book, ‘A Budōka Odyssey’

By the way, I'm not sure what's going on with Amazon but I have received a ‘heads up’ that there was no ‘Customer Review’ link available on the Amazon page when they tried to upload a review for 'A Budōka Odyssey’.  That perhaps answers the question, ‘why I have had no reviews so far?’  

For anyone finding they have that issue, try using the link below, which will take you to an Amazon page where my book is on sale, scroll down until you get to 'Customer reviews', just below that there is a 'Review this product' and then a 'Write a customer review' box:


And with that 'A Budōka Odyssey’ has just received its first review:

Top review from the United States

Minimal shopper

5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Man Shares a Life of Budo

Reviewed in the United States on May 18, 2024

Verified Purchase

At over 500 pages there is a lot of content in this autobiographical journey. A quick overview is as follows:

Author Shihan TD McKinnon has had ALOT of fights in his life; starting under the age of 6! He tells the narrative of his life through all those fights and what he learned about himself and life along the way. I appreciate that he doesn’t make self-defense fighting seem glamorous and one sided. He talks about injuries, dangers, and making alternate choices to physical violence as a reality.

This book emphasizes lessons like never quit, move on to the next venture, stay in the moment and learn what you can along the way. I recommend it for young and old, karate people and non-karate folks. He carries the journey into today with a very relevant subject - training and aging. Take it on your next plane trip, or beach vacation. And if you’re a karate instructor, you can work it into your teaching. This book does not disappoint!


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