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Kihon is the basic techniques, or fundamentals, of karate. It includes all the kicks and strikes of karate but not in any particular sequence. Thus, kihon is every technique from a lunge punch to a back thrust kick practiced repeatedly for mastery of that technique.

Kempo has a backbone of five arm strikes and five kicks. These ten techniques are outlined below and on the right side bar two are videos showing kata-like sequences that may be practiced to refined your ten basic techniques.



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1. Basic Punching
2. Front Stance

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Kihon Video

All Five Hand Strikes
All Five Foot Strikes


Five Basic Strikes

In Kempo, all strikes are performed with a two-way action. That is, when one arm strikes forward, the other draws back. All five strikes listed below use the same drawing arm action and it is just as important as the strike itself. That is because the arm drawing back is a strike, too! And, since it is the same for each of the five strikes below, a description of how to performance it is given once and then reference later when describing each of the five strikes.

The Drawing arm When an arm is in the draw back position, it is at your side just above the hip bone and just below your ribs. When in this position, the elbow should be pulled straight back. It should not be allowed to stray akimbo even the slightest bit. Likewise, it is very important to keep the elbow and the forearm against the side of the body while performing the drawing back action.


Punching
Punching

Start with one arm in the draw back position. Put your other fist straight out in front of you as if you just threw a punch. Now, punch with the drawn arm while the forward arm performs the draw back. Be sure to keep your arms close to your side. Both your forward forearm and your rear forearm should slide against your torso as they are lunched forward and pulled back.


Inside Strike
Inside Strike

Start with one hand up near your ear as if holding a telephone upside down. Put your other hand in front of you with the fist just past the center of your body. The forward elbow should be a fist away from your ribs and bent at a right angle. To strike, drop the upper arm down so that your fist crosses just past your body's center line. Your elbow will be a fist from your ribs and bent at a right angle. When striking with one hand, draw back with the other. Now, bring your drawn arm up near your ear in the upside down telephone position. Continue by repeating this process with the other arm.


Outside Strike
Outside Strike

Start with one arm in front of you with the elbow a fist from your ribs and bent at a right angle. Put your other arm in the draw back position. Perform the outside strike by first punching almost straight down and to the side of your groin with your drawn arm. Then, sweep that arm upward with a circular motion stopping with the elbow a fist from your ribs and bent at a right angle. Be sure that your forearm sweeps past your groin and that your elbow stays in about the same place. While sweeping one arm upward, draw the other arm back. Continue by repeating the same actions only with the other arm.


Rising Strike
Rising Strike

Start with one fist slightly higher than your head with the wrist a fist distance from the forehead. Your other arm will be in the draw back position. Perform this strike by simultaneously alternating the positions of the arms. When performed in this manner, the arms will make an 'X' in front of half way through the strike.


Downward Strike
Downward Strike

Start with one arm straight down and in front of the body. The elbow will be a fist from the ribs. Put the other arm in draw back position. Move the drawing arm across the body so that the fist is just above the opposite shoulder. Do this deliberately because this 'get ready' action is also a strike. With the arm 'ready' drop it downward across the body and draw your other arm back. Stop your striking arm in the same position that your drawing arm previously was but on the other side of the body. Continue by repeating this process on the other side of the body.


Front Snap Kick
Front Snap Kick

Bring your kicking foot up to the knee (Bring it up until your heal touches your buttocks, if possible) Now, whip your kicking foot forward by thrusting your hip forward. Lead with the ball of the big toe. Just before your foot reaches maximum extension, pull the foot back by pulling your hips back to a normal standing position. Try to retract your foot faster than you extended it. This will cause your foot to whip forward as if you were snapping a towel. End by placing your foot back where it started from.


Side Snap Kick
Side Snap Kick

This is a side kick. So, begin by turning your hands and head to face the side your kicking. Perform the kick by lifting your kicking foot to your opposite knee. From this position, lift your knee a little higher and allow your foot to swing forward to kick. Pull the foot back quickly to the knee as if snapping a towel. Finish by setting your kicking foot back beside your standing foot.


Side Trust Kick
Side Thrust Kick

This is a side kick. So, begin by turning your hands and head to face the side your kicking. Perform the kick by lifting your kicking foot to your opposite knee. With one powerful motion, force your kick to the side by rolling the hip forward and turning on the standing foot. Retract the kicking foot back to the standing knee and finish by setting your kicking foot back beside your standing foot.


Round Kick
Round Kick

Bring your kicking foot to your buttocks and pull your kicking knee up towards your elbow. Swing your hips forward while pivoting on your standing foot. Allow your kicking foot to extend out into a kick. Then pull it back quickly as if snapping a towel. Return your foot/leg along the same path until your are back to your starting position.


Back Trust Kick
Back Thrust Kick

This is a back kick. So, begin by turning your hands and head to face backwards toward your kicking side. Lift the kicking foot to the standing knee. Thrust the hips back and allow the kicking foot to thrust back with it. Pull the kicking foot back to the standing knee. Then, set the kicking foot down next to the standing knee.

Copyright © 2005, Robert Walsh, All Rights reserved.