Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

January 25th, 2015

From Kyoshi Sal Scaglione, Shichi-Dan
Denshi Shihan, Ueshiro Northern Virginia Shorin-Ryu Karate

Onegai-shimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, Shihan, Sensei, and Deshi—

Hiji-ate (Elbow smash or strike)

The elbow strike is a very effective technique that has devastating capabilities in self-defense, especially for close-in situations. Various forms of the elbow strike are found in our basic Special Exercise Oyo-Tan-Ren and in our highest Kata, Kusanku. The sheer strength of this technique is also firmly demonstrated in Yakusoku San. With that broad range, the elbow strike is employed by all Deshi from white belt to black belt.

Master Nagamine describes the technique in the Ate waza or smashing technique section of “The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do.” Master Nagamine states, “This is employed to deliver a powerful blow to the chest, ribs, and chin or jaw when one is too closely approached or suddenly hugged by an opponent.” He further describes the 4 types of the Hiji-ate, Tate (upward) from F-2 & Gojushijo; Yoko (forward) from P-4, P-5, all Naihanchi, Passai, and Kusanku; Ushiro (backward) from P-3; and Sasae (supported) from N-2.

Remember that the feet should be firmly planted when delivering this crushing blow, whether in jigotai-dachi, naihanchi-dachi, zenkutsu-dachi, or nekoashi-daschi. Keep the hand close to the body, as much of the power in this strike will be lost if the hand strays from the body. Also utilize the hips to bring the power from your core together with the upper body to ensure maximum power is distributed to the target. Much like a block, this technique may be the only one you’ll need in a close-in self-defense situation.

A great way to practice the elbow strike is on a heavy bag. Remember to establish a firm foundation and use the hips to bend the bag in half. Research this technique well; for additional information, see the TOTW from 3/5/07 by Barnes Sensei.

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu,
Kyoshi Sal Scaglione, Shichi-Dan
Denshi Shihan, Ueshiro Northern Virginia Shorin-Ryu Karate

"Winners are simply willing to do what loser won't"