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Chatan1979's picture
Examining Nukite

Hi all, 

I threw this video together after I saw a forum post (not here) that was looking for uses for Nukite. A lot of people responded but there seemed to be several people who thought the technique was not useful unless you condition your fingers. I hope this video gives some ideas. Thanks for watching!



Les Bubka
Les Bubka's picture

Hi Sal, really good stuff. I use my hands at work too so I'm with you on fingers conditioning. I also did video about nukite

Kind regards


muratmat's picture

Another good application I really like to practice (not covered by the video), is to press (osae) one of attacker shoulder, while bumping (nukite) the other one, at the same time. The overall effect will turn the opponent, so it can be finished with a choke, for example.

Chatan1979's picture

Thanks for the kind words. Its such a versatile technique, indeed!

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Good videos and I think they make an important wider point.

I think it was Seneca who said that a common mistake of man is to assume something is impossible because they personally can’t do it. We see this in martial arts when a personal failing is projected on to a technique i.e. “I’m not at fault, the technique is”.

There is no doubting that certain methods that are proposed can have fundamental flaws and the above should not be used to prop up faulty methods i.e. “I’m telling you, stabbing someone with your fingers in their chest really works! If you can’t drop a determined attacker that way, you need to work on it more.” That’s obvious BS.

As an example of what I mean: I recall a fairly well-known martial artist telling me he did not teach lead hand hook because it “had no power”. That surprised me because it is a very hard-hitting technique … when done right. On observation, this gent had a very poor lead hand hook (all arm and no hip), so he fell into Seneca’s trap of assuming the fault lay with the method and not himself.

We see this all the time with kata i.e. “I can’t understand / apply this movement, so the movement is wrong / for movement training only / merely aesthetic”. In short, they are assuming they are right and the kata must be wrong. I find it much healthier to assume the kata is right and that the failing is mine.

If we assume the kata is wrong, then we are effectively saying we know more than the person who created it. With regards to nukite (spear hand), we are saying the past masters were idiots for believing it was a good idea to hit a person in the chest with the tips of the fingers … and although we assert we know more than these assumed “idiots”, we nevertheless find ourselves inadvertently asserting we practise a system created by these assumed idiots; which makes us none too bright ourselves.  This is damaging to karate.

As I say, it is far healthier to assume the failing is ours. That the past masters knew what they were doing, and if we fail to understand their work then we need to work harder and dig deeper. This way ensures optimum progress and reveals the depth of the art. It has been my long experience that the assumption that the kata is right and I need to work to understand it (as opposed to the kata is wrong and I’m fine knowing what I know) has proved to be true and releveled the depth and efficacy of karate.

There are essentially three ways to look at nukite:

1 – It is a straight finger strike to the chest and it works!

Argument: It does not work. A punch to the solar plexus will work much better and it does not demand we destroy our hands in order to deliver a less effective technique. The fact you think it does work, and the fact that kata has lots of “nukite” in them, leads us to the inescapable conclusion that neither you nor the past masters has any idea what works.

Conclusion: You are dragging the past master and the art itself down to your level.

2 – It is a straight finger strike to the chest and it does not work!

Argument: It’s true it does not work, but that motion is all over the place in kata so that invariably means kata were put together by people who did not know what worked.

Conclusion: You are throwing the past masters under the bus and damaging the reputation of karate based on your own failings and lack of understanding.  

3 – It’s not meant to be applied as a straight finger strike to the chest.

Argument: There is historical information that shows kata has been subject to misinterpretations. I accept that and work on the assumption that past master knew that they were doing. I will analyse the motion in order to better understand it and / or I will seek instruction from those who can show how the exact same motion can be applied in demonstrably effective ways.

Conclusion: Karate is an effective system and it is up to me to understand it as such, practise it as such, apply it as such, and teach it as such.

Anyone running with 1 or 2 are letting their personal arrogance and personal failings damage karate. Thankfully in choosing to pursue their own irrelevance they won’t be a problem for much longer. Those of us who run with option 3 are providing the alternative view and are growing in number and influence. We are the future of karate.

In a decade or two, the kind of karate we stand against will be no more. I’m 100% sure of that. Future generations will view karate as a highly effective and pragmatic system, that got “weird” and dogmatic for a few decades, before returning to what is was and continuing to evolve and improve.

All the best,


Chatan1979's picture

Well said, Iain! 

I've always enjoyed your thought process of " If  a movement in kata doesn't make sense, it isnt' the kata that is wrong."

Thanks for watching.


Marc's picture

Hi Sal,

great video with lots of useful applications for Nukite. Thanks for posting it.

All the best,


Cataphract's picture
Iain Abernethy wrote:
Future generations will view karate as a highly effective and pragmatic system, that got “weird” and dogmatic for a few decades [...]

Can you put that on a tshirt, please? I want to wear it the next time somebody explains manji uke to me.