- 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, or an opponent moving slightly in the direction of your extending strike.
- Striking a body surface that will cause injury and/or pain
Otoko No Atemi Waza refers to the method by which a strike is delivered-not the gender of the individual delivering the strike. These are powerful and penetrating strikes that can be delivered by anyone.
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 Atemi||Uchi Atemi||Keri|
|Ken Tsuki||Shuto Uchi||Mae Geri|
|Tate Ken Tsuki||Tettsui Uchi||Yoko Geri|
|Kizami Tsuki||Shotei Uchi||Mawashi Geri|
|Ura Tsuki||Nihon Nukite Uchi||Kin Geri|
|Uraken Tsuki||Tiger Claw||Ushiro Geri|
|Gyaku Tsuki||Mae Empi Uchi||Mae Kekomi Geri|
|Hiraken Tsuki||Age Empi Uchi||Yoko Kekomi Geri|
|Sword Hand||Mawashi Empi Uchi||Ura Mawashi Geri|
|Web Hand||Ushiro Empi Uchi||Hiza Geri|
|U Hand||Washide Uchi||Mikazuki Geri|
|Yama Tsuki||Haito Uchi||Mae 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 criterion 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 on 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 is 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 you must ensure all of your joints are properly aligned and bent as 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 sprain.
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 aligned on the central plane to be considered Otoko No Atemi Waza.
The power of a strike can be amplified if you utilize Disproportionality. This is especially true of combination strikes involving both hands or both legs. If you return the first strike much faster than it was delivered and in such a manner that it initiates a rotation that aids the delivery of the second strike, then the impact of the second strike is likely to have increased power. You can get a sense of this by practicing Kizami Tsuki – Gyaku Tsuki such that the return of the first strike is the initiation of the second strike. Other striking combinations can be used similarly.
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.