Not unlike most of today’s confused, and dysfunctional American bred women… and men, Karate-ka tend to obfuscate oi-tsuki and kizami-tsuki. Today we’ll give clear guidance to explain what characteristics separate the two, and the borders where each technique should reside. Just a quick note for those argumentative, cackling hens… we are talking fundamental rules here. I know there are exceptions to the rules…that’s why they call them “exceptions”, so please don’t bring up the exception.
A traditional oi-tsuki is defined as a stepping technique whereby the straight punch is delivered on the same side as the stepping foot AND the hips remain in shomen when delivering the technique. A step, silly as it might sound, is defined as one foot being behind another, and subsequent to the step, end ups in front of the foot it was trailing. The power of the oi-tsuki is derived from the forward momentum generated by the step. A kizami-tsuki, on the other hand (or foot…bad dad joke alert), refers to a jabbing technique where a full step is not taken, but the front foot can slide forward to deliver a jabbing punch while the hips are in hanmi position. A slide, silly enough, is defined as one foot being in front of the other and sliding slightly more forward subsequent to the slide. The power of the kizami-tsuki is generated by the rotation of hips since not enough forward momentum is generated by the silde. There’s much more invovled in generating power in the two respective techniques, but for our discussion here, this basic framework will suffice. The former technique is considered as a thrusting technique, while the latter is a snapping one.
So where is the dividing line…the border where the borderline personality of both techniques meld together? It is in shizen-tai. From this natural stance where the feet are parallel, one can deliver a technique in front stance that is either shomen (oi-tsuki), or hanmi (kizami-tsuki). If one foot is even one inch behind, or forward, it must become oi-tsuki with all the characteric personality of an oi-tsuki, or…kizami-tsuki with all the characteristic personality traits of kizami-tsuki.
I hope I, as your karate-do therapist, have given you the tools to show you the right steps, so you too can tread with clarity, as you march forward in life with single minded focus.