Otoko No Atemi Waza

Otoko No Atemi Waza refers to male percussive striking techniques. A male percussive strike typically involves the following elements:

  • Significant rotation or movement of the body to develop momentum for a strike
  • Whole body involvement such that the arms, legs, and torso are all involved in the strike delivery process
  • Contact using a hard surface area of your body
  • Striking along or moving onto your center line and ideally within your center triangle
  • A relatively stationary opponent
  • Striking a body surface that will cause injury and/or pain

A Gyaku Tsuki is a classic example of such a strike. The entire body rotates to bring the tight and hard fist forward to project the strike directly along your center line and into your opponent. The front leg bends slightly, the back leg straightens, and the torso surges slightly forward to provide additional impetus to the strike. This strike takes some significant time to develop so clearly if your opponent moves during this time then the strike will either miss or have substantially less impact than intended. The opponent therefore must be generally stationary or close (to reduce his or her reaction time) for this strike to be effective.

Most of the Otoko No Atemi skills have already been studied in prior belt material. You may not have been aware of their general classification at the time, but a great many of the strikes you learned were or can easily be used as Otoko No Atemi Waza. Here’s a list of some of these striking skills.

Tsuki AtemiUchi AtemiKeri
Ken TsukiShuto UchiMae Geri
Tate Ken TsukiTettsui UchiYoko Geri
Kizami TsukiShotei UchiMawashi Geri
Ura TsukiNihon Nukite UchiKin Geri
Uraken TsukiTiger ClawUshiro Geri
Gyaku TsukiMae Empi UchiMae Kekomi Geri
Hiraken TsukiAge Empi UchiYoko Kekomi Geri
Sword HandMawashi Empi UchiUra Mawashi Geri
Web HandUshiro Empi UchiHiza Geri
U HandWashide UchiMikazuki Geri
Yama TsukiHaito UchiMae Fumikomi Geri

You will likely notice a few things while looking at the list above. Firstly, the list includes several open handed strikes. Secondly, the list includes kicks. This is because Otoko No Atemi Waza refers to a striking concept rather than a particular type of strike.

Each of the above strikes is not necessarily Otoko No Atemi by itself. Otoko No Atemi Waza involves not only the strike but the method or intention by which the strike is delivered. These types of strikes employ all of the criteria listed earlier. If one criteria is omitted then the strike would not likely be considered to be an Otoko No Atemi. As a result these strikes are considered to be extremely powerful and destructive techniques. They are used only when you fully intend to inflict substantial damage to an opponent.

Some people make the mistake of thinking that an Otoko No Atemi is a “finishing strike” intended to put an end to the conflict or to render your opponent unable to continue. You should never consider any strike to be a “finishing strike”. This places you at a severe mental disadvantage since you subconsciously believe the conflict will be over following the strike. Your opponent may not have the same opinion, especially if they have absorbed, blocked, deflected, or simply avoided your strike.

Otoko No Atemi are delivered when the opportunity to strike hard presents itself, but these strikes can come at the start, in the middle, or at the end of a conflict. They are simply tools that you can use when you feel the circumstances support and warrant their use.

When delivering strikes in this way it is critical that you ensure all of your joints are properly aligned and bent where necessary to prevent injury to yourself. Do not over-extend your strikes such that you incur joint hyper-extension. Also do not allow joint misalignment that can lead to injuries such as a wrist strain.

These strikes will have the most impact if they are delivered within your center triangle. Striking power diminishes quickly once a strike moves outside this triangle. The one exception is kicks, which often have increased power beyond your center triangle. But kicks should still be focused along the central plane in order to be considered Otoko No Atemi Waza.

Practice these strikes on a bag or some other largely immovable object until you can strike repeatedly in a very hard and powerful manner with proper form. Practice them slowly with training partners so you can both offer feedback to one another about structure, form, and angular deliveries as a method of improving your skills.

From this point forward you will be expected to demonstrate Otoko No Atemi Waza in all of your belt tests. When you are doing strikes in the air you should ensure that at least 50% of them are delivered with Otoko No Atemi Waza intent.

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