This post shows you how to perform awase tsuki (合わせ突き), a u-shaped double punch, and a few valuable tips to train and improve your awase tsuki.

Table of Contents

What Is Awase Tsuki?

Awase (合わせ) means “join together”, “connect”, “blend”, or “unite”. Tsuki (突き) means “thrust” or “punch.”

In the context of martial arts, the term “awase tsuki” refers to a punching technique that requires the coordination of two fists or arms.

In some karate schools, “awase tsuki” specifically refers to a double hand punch with one hand executing the seiken tsuki and another hand executing the ura tsuki. These two punches form a u-shape structure at completion as can be seen in the image below.

Awase tsuki - u-shape punch front view and side view

Awase tsuki is different from morote tsuki which is a punching technique that also use both arms but the arms are parallel to each other.

Awase tsuki appears in several kata including Gekisai Dai Ichi, Sanseru, Suparinpei, Bassai Dai and Nijushiho.

Awase Tsuki‘s Application

The awase tsuki can be directed towards an opponent’s front, side, or back, depending on your position relative to the opponent.

Awase tsuki can be used as two simultaneous strikes to counter-attack after blocking an opponent’s attack. This is one of the applications of the Gekisai Dai Ichi kata (see the demonstration below).

    Awase tsuki can also be used as both block and counter-attack at the same time with the ura tsuki blocking the attack and the seiken tsuki being the counter-attack (see demonstration below).

    Awase tsuki is not commonly seen in sports kumite but does appear in MMA matches.

    There are some discussions about the awase tsuki‘s origins in ninjutsu, suggesting it was designed for handling multiple opponents simultaneously. However, I have yet to observe any practical demonstrations of its effectiveness in such scenarios.

    How to Perform the Awase Tsuki?

    Here’s how to perform the awase tsuki:

    1. Stance: Begin in either a natural stance or a zenkutsu dachi stance
    2. Guard Position: For training purposes, you can choose to position both fists on one side or have one by each side in the chamber position (see images below). However, once you’ve nailed the basic form of this technique, you can keep your hands up in a natural fighting position
    3. Execution: Thrust both fists forward in a straight line. The upper hand executes the straight punch, seiken tsuki and the lower hand executes the ura tsuki. The palm of the upper hand should face down and the palm of the lower hand should face up
    4. Targets: The typical targets for this technique are generally located in the torso area. For instance, the upper hand can target the ganka point (located just below the nipple), while the lower hand’s target can be positioned slightly above the hip bone. The goal is for both fists to strike the targets simultaneously
    5. Body Movement: Unlike single tsuki techniques such as seiken tsuki, gyaku tsuki or kagi tsuki, where power is generated through hip rotation, the power behind the awase tsuki derives from the forward, wave-like momentum of your hips.
    Awase tsuki performed with both hands starting from one side
    Awase tsuki performed with hands starting from two sides

    Tips on Improving Awase Tsuki Technique

    Here are some tips to help you improve your awase tsuki technique:

    1. Proper Stance: Begin in a stable and well-grounded stance, such as zenkutsu dachi (front stance) or shizentai dachi (natural ready stance)
    2. Alignment and Targeting: Focus on the alignment of your fists toward the intended target to avoid injury. In the case of awase tsuki, the target area is typically the chudan level. Work on your precision and accuracy in hitting these targets
    3. Body Movement: Understand that the power for awase tsuki comes from the forward momentum of your body. Unlike some other techniques that rely on hip and shoulder movement, this technique emphasizes the body’s forward motion. Practice moving forward smoothly and efficiently while delivering the punches
    4. Practice Slowly: Start by practicing the technique slowly and with control. Focus on perfecting the form and alignment before increasing your speed and power. This ensures that you maintain proper technique and control throughout
    5. Relaxation: When you are relaxed, you can engage and contract your muscles more efficiently. Tense muscles can slow down your movements, decrease your overall power and drain your energy. By staying relaxed, you can tap into your full range of motion and utilize your muscles effectively, leading to greater speed and power. The only time you should tense up is at the moment of contact
    6. Visualization: Imagine yourself executing the awase tsuki technique on an invisible opponent during your practice. This mental exercise strengthens the neural pathways connected to these movements, integrating them into your automatic responses.

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    Valuable Karate Lessons from Yoshimi Inoue (Part 2)


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    Fundamental Techniques (v. 1) : Higaonna, Morio