Atemi represents the hand strikes that you must know to advance to the Yellow Belt ranking. In general, Atemi should be delivered quickly and with a very rapid return to a guard position (unless noted otherwise). Additionally, strikes should be delivered using the concept of Disproportionality. When applied to strikes (and kicks) this concept provides that strikes should be delivered at a moderately fast speed and then returned at maximum speed. Surprisingly, delivering strikes this way often makes them faster than if you tried to use full speed in both directions (extension and retraction).
You will notice that sometimes the word “Tsuki” (sometimes spelled “Tzuki” or “Zuki”, we will use “Tsuki”) is used to describe a strike, and at other times the word “Uchi” is used. The word “Tsuki” means “thrust”, so strikes that have a general thrusting nature to them will use the word Tsuki in the name. Other strikes will be described using the more generic strike word “Uchi” (which by the way has a great many other meanings).
For the sake of brevity all strikes will be described as being delivered on the right side (when relevant). It should be straight forward to apply the same methodologies and practices to the left side – but please consult your instructor should you experience difficulties.
For many strikes the elbow is used as a target seeking device. The elbow is first pointed at the target and then the hand or arm is extended to complete the strike. The Shuto Uchi is a classic example of where this strategy is utilized.