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Oi Zuki and the work of the spine


We saw in a previous article the punch in pursuit: Oi Zuki. To go further in the study of this technique of Karate, we will study in this article the behavior of the back and especially the spine during Oi Zuki.

The 3 Different uses of the spine in Oi Zuki:

Oi Zuki and the work of the spine1 - The trunk:

This is actually the description that we have already learned in the previous article:

Oi Zuki: The power of 2 legs in the arm.

Indeed, as a rule, when we do Oi Zuki, the spine behaves like a trunk. That is to say that all movements of the hip reverberate as is to the shoulders because we keep a very strong back, which creates a union between the pelvis and the shoulders.

This procedure is the most common because it helps protect your back. That's how you have to learn Oi Zuki. Indeed, large forces are transmitted from the pelvis to the shoulders and the back must be able to transmit without hurting themselves. By strongly contracting the back from the beginning, it is protected from any parasitic movement and the energy of the Hara (belly) is transmitted directly to the arm without the back adding power. The belly energy will "bounce" on the back to go forward.

By joining the branches (the scapular girdle) with the roots (the pelvic girdle):

The back behaves like a very strong tree trunk

But once you master well Oi Zuki (and not before !!!), Why not free the spine of this tension and also use the power of the muscles of the trunk (abdominals, back ...) dynamically, not static, to add to our technique?

We will therefore study below two other ways to use the spine in Oizuki.

Important warning: I want to clarify that the work, described in 2 and 3, is not recommended for beginners. Indeed, it requires a relaxation of the spine but must remain relative. You must maintain a control of the amplitude and not leave your spine completely free because the forces generated by your displacement would cause movements beyond the normal amplitude of the spine that can lead to serious injuries. If you start and you still want to approach this part, especially go there gently because you could hurt your vertebrae if your movements are not well controlled and synchronized.

These movements are also discouraged for growing children who may develop scoliosis.

2 - The whip:

Our spine is maintained by many muscles that allow it more or less to bend in all directions (I summarize voluntarily ;-)).

So we will use the power and the flexibility of our spine to energize even more our technique Oi Zuki.

Imagine our back no longer like a trunk or a board that transmits exactly every movement from the hips to the shoulders, but like a spring blade.

Imagine now that we do Oi Zuki but holding the top of the spring by the middle and releasing it at the last moment. You see what I mean? The spring blade will have a whipped movement that we will use.

So you do Oi Zuki but with the trunk much more relaxed. At the time of displacement, during the first push in the ground, the lower body will have a slight time ahead on the top. Be careful, do not let the upper body back! The upper body is also driven forward in the movement but as the trunk (Abdos, back ...) is relaxed, it takes a slight delay (Caution, do not arch, it's very light!)

During the Tsuki itself, the explosive energy of the Hara will spread in the spine from the bottom up with a ripple as if one wanted to whip with the upper body. We finish at the Kime by a contraction at the level of the spine and abdominals (grand rights). The back becomes monolithic again.

At the push of the 2 legs and the rotation of the pelvis, we have just added, to our Oi Zuki, the whip motion of the spine.

3 - The twist:

Imagine now that we do Oi Zuki but by holding the spring at the shoulder that strikes and the same, we let go at the last moment. This time the spring blade will have a twisting motion that we will also use.

So you make Oi Zuki always with the trunk relatively relaxed. This time during the movement, the upper body does not fall behind the lower body, however as the rear hip passes (pivot), shoulder rotation takes a slight delay. Be careful, do not let the shoulders turn upside down. They rotate well in the same direction as the hips but with a slight delay resulting in a slight twist in the vertebrae dorsales (Attention, do not force on this twist by pulling the shoulder backwards, it is very light! !)

In the same way as for the whipped movement, during the final phase the energy of the Hara will spread from bottom to top with a spiral ripple which will gradually realign the shoulders on the hips. This "catching up" of the shoulders on the pelvis will make it possible to add the power of rotation of the trunk (Use of obliques) to our Oi Zuki.

It is also necessary to synchronize the kime with the realignment of the shoulders on the hips so that the strength of this spiral rotation adds to the thrust of the legs and the rotation of the pelvis.

That's it, we have finished our study on the work of the spine in Oi Zuki. For you to understand a little better, I had fun doing a video shirtless and I made freeze frames. We can still see the difference between the shoulders and hips when the front foot touches the ground. I resumed 2 images afterwards. There in the 3 cases, the shoulders have caught up to the hips infusing the fists with a speed more and more great. Here is the photo montage:

Using the Spine in Oi Zuki with benchmarks

I go on in detail and visually the description in the video belowit will be more talk;).

Training in video:

Now that we have seen the 3 ways to use the spine in Oi Zukiwe are going to practice the actual training of these three different uses.

I have prepared you a video to train you, so the time to put your kimon, I find you on the video.

(Do not forget to warm up before, thanks to the advice I give you in the ABCs of warming up , my book to download for free ;-))

I still remember that these exercises are not recommended for children and are not recommended for beginners. If you do not master Oi Zuki, just work with your back as a trunk, so you protect your spine.

>>> Download the video

Erratum : In the video, when I show you the whipped motion, I'm talking about backward delay on the front, I mean from the top down. In my mind, I imagined my back to my belly and that's why I'm talking about back and forth, but we must understand the bottom and the top .

Here, I hope you enjoy this study and you will see Oi Zuki differently now.

Leave me a comment below, thank you!

Thank you and see you soon

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  1. Thank you, this is the double ripple dear to Hiro Motchizuki (Yosékan Budo) but your explanation is much clearer and especially not to do misery on the back!
    Renaud (Aikijujitsuka)

  2. I enjoyed this course on oi tsuki with twist and spiral; it is very subtle and indeed it is not within the reach of a beginner, it must be at least CN!
    But, these principles of fluidity are the basis of tai ji quan style CHEN, and I am happy that karate, to a certain level uses it! Congratulations, AMI PROF
    On the other hand, I pretend that, in this case, we learn directly to the beginners the spiral, and very slowly, but with efficiency afterwards, we learn to use it, without going through this rigid side of the trunk, which only surpasses itself for real senior bitten; bad habits, mark our body!
    Martial greetings from an old shotokai karatee (HARADA) "ALBY crocodyl"

  3. Lmpin jean lucien at

    I do not take care of that, the suppleness of the belly, the moment of pushing and the kimme of dan tien takes care of the vibratory forces of the column .. To have the strong idea of ​​crossing the target ..

  4. your tsuki is very good except that your oi tsuki arm is slightly late and that you could win if the punch arrived at the same time as the support of the front foot
    3eme dan Shotokan

  5. fezeu ngompe bruno at

    hello aton omonime, i apologize for this long silence jais este perso
    nally interpellate by this teaching oizuki .tusait sometimes
    Some people perform this function knowing the importance
    of this form.This has 1big secret k you revlle to all ts fane. but also observed k oizuki allows to work the speed ds bras.enfet you do 1sacré boulo.jais understood by there k you do a lot of research, and you even has 1createur.
    education and practice
    I love you a lot. Then god bless you and have a very long life.
    mont reive knows k 1jr i be fisically near get ls
    chris's message thank you very much for everything

  6. good day bruno thank you dabour for the video you awakened me. is an excuse for months if I do not answer your questions. Because I did not study French well. My name you know it but for my city Ouarzazate Morocco.

  7. Hi Bruno,

    In the article "oi zuki and the work of the spine" is mentioned this in the section "Twisting" This time when moving, the upper body does not fall further behind the lower body, however As the back hip passes (pivot), shoulder rotation takes a slight delay.

    Nothing prevents to combine the two: the whip + the torsion to amplify the energy to the impact: translation in whip added to the rotation in torsion = increased power!

    The addition of these two forces are also found in many techniques (ex yoko geri), to speak of geri precisely we do not talk enough about the role of the "bust that hits", it's a shame because it changes the energetic aspect, often we talk about the grip on the ground, yes of course, but in what way really and precisely? several criteria intervene in particular the bust (as said above); the hara (obviously, and still how to put it in pressure); the sacrum (especially avoid the phenomenon of retroversion which bouzille the kidneys in the long run); the opening of the hips ...

    Here is very briefly a thought

    Hat for your work Bruno

    • Hello Christian,

      Yes of course you're right, we can add the two forces, but on condition of good control because the risk of injury and increased as well.

      For the use of the body in Yoko Geri, I invite you to read my article and watch the video:
      Yoko Geri, kick aside

      I would be interested if you tell me what you think and if my analysis seems to you in adequacy with the bottom of your thought.


  8. Bjr Bruno! Very interesting subject that you are addressing Sir, the OI-ZUKI as a basic technique of karate has several forms of execution depending on the style practiced. The essential is to find this striking efficiency taking into account the biomechanical criteria who enters into the realization of the technique (the attitude of the vertibral column which must be very straight, the hips and the lembaire and their contribution of strength to the movement without forgetting the released shoulders and their fortifying role of the striking.)

  9. I would like to point out to you, without a hint, that Maitre Hiroo Mochizuki and all the Yoseikan Budo teachers on the planet, of which I am a member, have been teaching this teaching for almost 40 years. We use, explain, and detail and apply in all directions, this tremendous power of the human body. As much for the fists, the feet, the projections, the keys, and for all the uses of the weapons, (katana, tonfa, bo, jo saîs ect)


    M Sainvet

    • Hello Mr. Sainvet,
      Yes you are absolutely right, in Yoseikan budo, the work of the spine is at the center of learning.
      But in Shotokan, we tend to work much too hard, that's why this work is very interesting for us.
      But long live Yoseikan anyway (frimor goes!) :-))

  10. Hello Bruno,
    here (again!) an exercise and very interesting explanations! You summarize well by saying that you need a good synchronization. It is true that Oi-zuki, one of the bases in karate, must be executed with relaxation and trigger the contraction only on impact. It is much more effective and can be seen well by the work with the bag. But the effect of the whip is not easy to control, I must say. It's barely noticeable. It is the small + that increases the power of the punch. In all modesty, I emphasize that the impulse given by the hips is the one that contributes (for the beginner I am) to the effectiveness of the shot. thank you Bruno for your videos, only martial happiness!

  11. hanumanmusashi at

    Hello bruno,

    I had the opportunity to read the big controversy that raised this video (on kwoon); I find your approach excellent in the sense that the personal work is a key to succeed in progress (but I think we should not force anyone!). the theme discussed here is close in the principle of who is made in yoseikan. Here is the basis of the wave work of the school:
    oi zuki is not practiced in the yyo shotokan way, but it is a good way to learn how to sway the shockwave.

    This is the first step. what you watch is a vibratory work (see k tokitsu or kase me and obviously Hiroo mochizuki because it is the one that shows it the best!). It requires a form of body capable of developing and especially withstand strikes of great intensity but with very little movement. There's an idea and I hope you'll come to build this body shape.

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