Different parts of the hand or arm perform these strikes and they can be quite diverse. This is considered to be karateka’s most versatile weapon as this aim at a target from many directions and angles. Strikes require excellent accuracy as they are the most useful against smaller and more specific targets. It is very important that one has a better understanding of human anatomy as only then one find truly effective uses with them. A good control is inevitable when it comes to these strikes as they are extremely dangerous. These can be effective as blocks as well.
Uchi have been categorized as follows:
All the ciricular attacks are included in roundhouse strikes or mawashi-uchi. It is an arc that these strikes travel towards their target. The strike is called tate (vertical) if the arc travels downwards toward the floor as in kentsui-tate-mawashi-uchi. The strike is called yoko as uraken-yoko-mawashi-uchi if the arc moves in a sideways or horizontal motion. Certain techniques like teisho as inteisho-zuki can also be used in a linear manner. Mawashi-uchi are used for circumventing an opponent’s guard because of their circular nature.
Animal strikes are often neglected. These stem from the influence of kung-fu as they are the remnants of the animal forms during the early years of karate’s development. These take place exclusively in a very high-level kata. In Shotokan kata, kumade and kakuto which are the two strikes do not appear anywhere at all. These attacks are used in striking an opponent’s kyusho points or vital areas.
Smashing techniques are referred to as ate or “smashing” techniques. Ate-waza are known to be powerful attacks and they are usually rendered with elbow or knee. The main aim of these is to shatter their intended target, rather than pinpointing on small targets. The elbow strikes come with a multitude of angles and directions though knee strikes come in a limited variety. Knees and elbows have gained much popularity in street self-defense and are good tools for close range combat.