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Focus on Elbows

I have written about Keeping Your Elbows Close to your body. This is very true in Karate as well as bojutsu.

When blocking or striking, you might try to put your focus on your elbows, rather than you hands. The feeling is like blocking or striking with your elbows. It is also important to keep your hands competely relaxed until the moment of contact. Any premature tension will slow down your movement considerably.

Take the first movement of Fukyugata Ichi. Some students put the focus on their hands -- as if striking down with a hammer. Because they are thinking about their hands, they tend to clench their fists tightly (and usually raise their shoulders). But if the focus is on the elbow, then the movement can swing naturally -- swing, not hit like a hammer.

The actual striking point of the arm varies, but is usually the edge (sort of) of the radius or the ulna. These points are not in the hand -- they are above it. These points follow after the elbow (swing behind it). Thus, if the elbow is set correctly, the blocking points will naturally follow.

In almost all cases, movements will improve if the focus is placed on the elbow.


Charles C. Goodin