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nielmag's picture
Generating Power in Shuto Uke


I tend to think of shuto uke as a strike rather than a block (saw it on Iaian's Heian Bunkai Jutsu).  I always practice punches and kicks on my bag, then hought it would be a revolutionary idea to practice it on the bag (bright idea, eh?)  however, while I was doing this, i was trying to figure out how to generate power.  In the style i practice, we do a big chamber, bringing the striking hand to the opposite ear, and strike.  Unlike a reverse punch, hook punch, etc, he hip movement is moving away from the strike, with the off hand in hikite.  Is the power supposed to be in the the chamber and hikite and , as well as striking a soft area, like the throat or is there another way?  Just wanted to hear different perspectives

Leigh Simms
Leigh Simms's picture


I don't see Shuto as a great technique to use against a bag because it involves the use of the pulling hand to bring the attackers head into my attacking hand. 

I throw my back hip forward as my hands chamber, then whip it back as I strike out shuto. For me the power comes from the collision of me pulling the attacker into me as I throw my hand out to collide into his head.

For practising the technique against impact I use the focus pads. I pull my training partners arm towards me, at the same time he brings forward the other hand with the pad on, which I strike with Shuto.

I dont often practise Shuto on the bag, but when I do I am fully aware that the power generated will not feel the same, as I am unable to pull anything towards me. 

Also whilst Shuto may be a fight stopper if done with enough power, I tend to see it an entrance technique. It helps me remove the attackers hands from near his head and locates the head so I can follow on through with my finishing blows.

Andrew Carr-Locke
Andrew Carr-Locke's picture

How do you get power in Gedan-Barai?

shoshinkanuk's picture

Im not so sure power is really the prime requirement of something like Shuto Uke, of course it's an element.

By that what im saying is that speed (or more accuratly acceleration), coupled with structure in the hand and indeed body tends to generate whats needed, when the movement is used for Atemi (Hitting) I consider it an Uchi (Strike) as opposed to Tsuki (Thrust), 

However saying that to improve it's effectivness i have found the Makiawara, and small (heavy) bag really good. I tend to use the muscle on the pinky side of the hand for impact, but of course the single bone on the forearm is good, deendant on range and target.

One of the uses of the movement that is more 'power' focused is when it is used to clear entry, or push someone off you but again I find this has more to do with connectivity rather than hitting hard,s ay by double hip or similair.

Th0mas's picture

In these types of conversations on a forum I find it quite difficult to visualise what each participant is describing, I supppose a video may be a better medium in these circumstances, but as i don't have one to hand... smiley

I believe Shuto uke is a styalised techique that covers a myriad of different applications (grab, forearm smash, part of a take down, block,  etc and any combination of these) and in fact is just a metaphore for how to gain a bit of control in the expected mad-scuffle that is a real fight (trapping, catching, blocking, striking,holding etc) . Essentially it is all about crossing your arms.

....And there are a raft of other techniques that look different in kata or Kihon but in fact have the same concept at their root. (Age uke etc...)

Back to the point...

If I am aiming to strike the jaw,  it tends not to be a "flick" (with that wrist twisting thing done at the end of the techique) but more of a forearm smash with my body weight driving the whole arm down into the target. Power is generated by the speed but also by the shift of body weight through the target area. 

anyway that was my tupenth worth..


Tom Runge

keithbaileymbe's picture

When executing Shuto Uke, I think that you have to remember the balance betwen executing the Block/Strike and the fact that you will in Back Stance (In the majority of instances) this derives a different power source and delivery from ones hips.

I remember that the arm/hand is the implement and thus reminds us that the power is initaitated as a thought initially and then converted and delivered to the arm/hand in conjunction the hips. I agree that it is preferable to take hold of the opponent with the support/guiding arm which ensures the power is executed from the hips with pretty much devasting affects.

This is not possible to reproduce on a bag. It also becomes frustrating trying to build power on an unforgiving  bag. Remember though that if the strike/block is not as effective as you wish it to be you have the back up of being in back stance and thus enables the effective use of the front leg. When you consdier that over 70% is on your back leg the opponent will receive the message either way.

I like to use the Shuto Uke in conjunction with the leg as I consider that the power from the legs is clearly greater than from the arm/hand. If you are able to strike the carotid artery on the neck you have indeed done well.

Never underestimate the guiding hand to grab and, the availability of that wonderful free and available front leg.

I value practice as this is always key with a willing opponent and, of course most techniques are more effective if the technique is delivered in a relaxed manner with excellent use of the hips. Practice makes perfect, we are never perfect so we keep practising.

All the best . Regards

Keith G Bailey MBE.

shoshinkanuk's picture

Just as a note in our Shorin Ryu we do not use Shuto Uke in backstance, but in front stance. Also our Hikite hand is in front of the solar plexes towards the elbow of the Shuto Hand - ie both shoulders engaged forward with a sharp Juji (Cross) to drive the movement. Next to no hip, hips remain square.

Then enter the variations...........................it is indeed a multi applicabile technique.