This post demonstrates how to execute the furi tsuki (振り突き), a circular or roundhouse punch commonly used by unskilled fighters in street fights. However, when a furi tsuki is executed properly, with the right timing and placement, it can still be a devastating technique.

What Is Furi Tsuki?

Furi (振り) means “swing”, “wave”, or “shake”. Tsuki (突き) means “thrust” or “punch”. In karate, ‘furi tsuki‘ is known as the “circular punch” or “roundhouse punch”.

Furi tsuki refers to a striking technique that comes from outside in and follows a circular trajectory to deliver a blow to the target, usually the head.

In karate, the furi tsuki is very similar to the mawashi tsuki technique. In fact, in some dojos, the term “furi tsuki” and “mawashi tsuki” are used interchangeably.

However, in some karate schools and dojos, these are considered two slightly different punches in that the circular trajectory of the furi tsuki is a lot wider than the mawashi tsuki. In addition, the furi tsuki has a longer reach than the mawashi tsuki while the mawashi tsuki doesn’t use a big motion and aim for targets closer to you.

Because the furi tsuki follows a circular trajectory in contrast to the linear path of a straight punch, it does take more time to reach its target, potentially leaving the attacker vulnerable to counter-strikes from the opponent.

However, this wider trajectory allows for the accumulation of momentum, and when executed with the full engagement of the body, including the core, legs, and the pulling force of the opposite arm, it can become an exceptionally powerful technique.

How to Perform the Furi Tsuki?

Here’s a general guide on how to execute the furi tsuki:

  1. Stance: Begin in a proper fighting stance. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart either in a natural stance or a ready fighting stance
  2. Guard Position: Initially, you can have one hand extending forward and the other hand in the chamber position to practice the basic form of the furi tsuki. Later on, position your hands in a guard stance, with one hand forward and the other close to your body at around chest level as you would in a free fighting match
  3. Rotation: The power behind furi tsuki comes from your body’s rotation. Pivot on the ball of your back foot as you turn your hips and shoulders to the side, away from your target
  4. Extension: As you rotate your hips and shoulders, fully extend your punching arm toward the target, with your fist following a circular path
  5. Contact: Strike your target with your first two knuckles, similar to the seiken tsuki, aiming for the side of your opponent’s head. Your arm should remain slightly bent upon contact to prevent hyperextension and injury. Concentrate all punching power in the striking fist at the moment of impact. At the completion of the technique, the palm should face the opponent
  6. Return to Guard: After a brief contraction of muscles at the moment of contact, quickly retract your arm to your guard position and remain relaxed. This is essential to protect yourself and prepare for further strikes or defensive movements.

Tips on Improving Furi Tsuki Technique

To improve your furi tsuki punch, you can follow these tips and practice them regularly:

  1. Proper Stance: Power comes from the ground up so it is essential to have a well-rooted stance and maintain continuous contact between your feet and the ground throughout the technique
  2. Relaxation: The power in your furi tsuki comes from the ground up to your leg, torso, arm and then the punching fist. Therefore, it is important to stay relaxed throughout (except for the moment of kime) to not obstruct the kinetic chain and facilitate an efficient transfer of power to the target
  3. Hip rotation: The rotation of your hips and shoulders is critical in the transfer of the power to the target. It may be beneficial to work on hip rotation independently and then add arm movement later on
  4. Chambering: Keep your punching arm close to your body, with your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle before extending. Ensure your fist is at chest level when chambered
  5. Speed and Timing: Work on your speed and timing to surprise your opponent and make your punches more effective. Practice with a partner or on a punching bag to develop your sense of timing
  6. Target: Practice targeting specific areas on your opponent, like the temple, jaw, or the side of the head. Using a training dummy can be helpful for this purpose
  7. Strength and Conditioning: Include strength and conditioning exercises in your training regimen to enhance your overall physical fitness, including muscle mass and strength. This will translate into a more powerful punch
  8. Sparring and Drills: Engage in controlled sparring sessions with a partner to practice the furi tsuki in a dynamic environment. Practice drills that specifically focus on the furi tsuki punch and its combinations (e.g. using kizami tsuki (jab) as a baiting technique and following up with furi tsuki or leading with kagi tsuki (short hook) and following up with furi tsuki)
  9. Filming Yourself: Record yourself performing the furi tsuki and review the footage. This can help you identify areas for improvement
  10. Visualization: When you can’t physically practice the furi tsuki, mentally rehearse the technique and visualize the perfect execution of the furi tsuki can improve your muscle memory and overall performance.

List Of Goju Ryu Techniques, Kata and Kumite Drills

A Complete List of Goju Ryu Stances

Best Fighting Stance: Going Beyond Physical Form

What Is Kime and How to Achieve It?

Why Is Kihon So Important in Karate?

What is the Purpose of Kata in Karate?

What Is the Purpose of “Chambering” in Karate?

Shotokan’s Complete System of Kumite Practice (Part 1)

Shotokan’s Complete System of Kumite Practice (Part 2)

Shotokan’s Complete System of Kumite Practice (Part 3)

San Dan Gi and How to Get the Most Out of These Drills

Furi tsuki

Furi tsuki

Mawashi tsuki

Fundamental Techniques (v. 1) : Higaonna, Morio