This post shows you how to perform the age tsuki (上げ突き), a close combat technique that can be exceptionally powerful if executed properly and with sufficient power.

What Is Age Tsuki?

Age (上げ) means raise or elevate. Tsuki (突き) means to thrust or punch. Therefore, age tsuki is frequently interpreted as “rising punch”.

In karate context, age tsuki refers to a karate technique that involves delivering a punch upward in a rising motion which is similar to the traditional uppercut (also called undercut) in boxing.

Age tsuki is used in close combat situations and is often used to target an opponent’s solar plexus or chin.

Age tsuki appears in kata such as Seyiunchin and Kururunfa.

How to Perform the Age Tsuki?

When you first learn the age tsuki technique, it is usually done from a natural stance following the steps below:

  1. Begin in a natural stance
  2. Extend the left hand forward and keep the right hand in a chamber position with the palm facing upward
  3. Use your hip to “launch” the right hand forward and upward to strike the target. Simultaneously, pull the left hand back to the chamber position with the palm facing upward
  4. The contact point is your first two knuckles and, at the completion of the technique, the palm of the attacking hand should be facing you
  5. Repeat this exercise with the other hand.

You may also want to exaggerate the movement by dipping the punching shoulder slightly before executing the upward strike. This can increase the momentum and engage more of your body mass in the technique.

Age-tsuki rising punch

Age tsuki can be delivered to the chudan level, targeting the solar plexus, liver, or floating ribs. Age tsuki can also aim at the jodan level, targeting the chin, the nose, or the eyes (by grabbing and pulling down the opponent’s head).

In the above instances, age tsuki is very similar to the popular uppercut used in boxing. However, sometimes, the term age tsuki is also used to refer to a rising back-fist strike as shown in the video below.

Tips on Improving Your Age Tsuki

To improve your age tsuki technique, you can follow these tips:

  1. Proper Stance: Ensure that your stance is stable and balanced. In karate, a strong and balanced stance is essential for generating power and control in your techniques. Practice your age tsuki from different stances such as a high natural fighting stance, a low zenkutsu dachi or while bouncing lightly on the spot
  2. Keep Your Elbows Close: Start with your fist near your hip or waist and keep your elbow close to your body to hide your intention and make the punch less telegraphic
  3. Hip Rotation: Engage your hips in the motion. As you punch upward, rotate your hip forward, transferring power from your lower body to your punch. This hip rotation will add substantial force to your age tsuki
  4. Stay Relaxed: Your body and your attacking arm should be mostly relaxed except for the moment of impact when your muscles briefly tense
  5. Focus on Breath: Proper breathing is vital in karate. You can either exhale as you deliver the punch or breathe naturally throughout the technique but don’t hold your breath
  6. Speed and Timing: Work on speed and timing. The age tsuki is often used to catch an opponent off guard, so practice the punch with quick, explosive speed. Timing is crucial, as you want to strike when your opponent is vulnerable
  7. Practice Aiming for Specific Targets. In karate, the jinchu point (between the nose and upper lip) is a common target for age tsuki. However, you can also practice aiming for other areas like the solar plexus or chin
  8. Repetition and Drills: Practice age tsuki repeatedly. Incorporate it into your regular training routines and drills. Repetition helps build muscle memory and improve technique. Partner drills that involve padwork can be particularly effective in improving your age tsuki
  9. Sparring Practice: Apply age tsuki in sparring sessions. Realistic application in controlled sparring environments will help you develop the ability to use the technique effectively under pressure
  10. Conditioning: Build strength and conditioning to enhance the power in your punches. Exercises like weight training, plyometrics, and core workouts can be beneficial in improving your muscle mass and strength. In addition, makiwara training can help condition your fists as well as develop body mechanics and improve your kime.

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Age jodan tsuki

Practical Kata Bunkai: Age-Zuki / Rising Strike

Fundamental Techniques (v. 1) : Higaonna, Morio