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Chris R
Chris R's picture
Thoughts on Haito Uchi?


I was wondering if anyone on the forum has any thoughts to offer regarding the usefulness of this strike in a practical context? In my training so far I have not personally focussed much on this technique compared to other striking techniques, but I am now trying to look into it further as I try to progress in my training. I have not been able to find much information about using this strike for practical purposes, and I have not seen many people using this strike in general. I think that almost everyone who trains in Karate has probably done it before, but I don't think it becomes an important or "go-to" strike for many of these people at all. Do you use this technique regularly in your training, and if so, why?

There is also the palm-up version as seen in naihanchi, though I am more interested in the practicality of the above version. I have heard that this palm-up version can work well as a throat strike, and I can understand the reasoning behind this. But as a general strike, I personally think there are better options.

Here is a video of the standard haito uchi


I would be interested to hear anyone's thoughts on this



JD's picture

Hi Chris ,

I'm just enjoying a bit of dinner and thought I'd have a look on the forum to see what's new and come across your post, it's a quick response due to limited time (work). 

Kagawa Sensei demostrates the technique very well against his attacking opponent, however, the prearranged linear junzuki doesn't emulate the chaotic street fight. This technique in my opinion is better utilized when in close range, i.e clinching instead of from punching/kicking distance as shown in the vid.

The idea is that the haito can whip around an opponents guard or arms to target the rear base of either left or right of the skull, the target itself is a fantastic area to strike and can quite easily knock someone out with enough force, Itosu was well known for knocking out his opponents face down because he often hit this area,  it's evident when practicing the primary bunkai for the Pinan kata's.

Mike Tyson would often knock his opponents out with his close range hooks by accidently hitting the same target area with his forearm, pause some of his vids and you'll see. 

For me personally, I like to use this motion and technique but use my forearm to strike instead, Bas Rutten raves about this technique and how much power he can get from it... he calls it a ''forearm clothes line''. I've posted a vid below...

The other aspect to be aware of is it's injury risk, whilst the arms in full extension it's asking for shoulder and bicep strain. I know of 2 people that used this same motion with full power and fueled with aggression and 1 damaged his shoulder (never healed properly, 10yrs now) and the other detached his bicep, having to go through surgery to re-attach and plenty of physio after. So one to be careful with I guess.

Lastly... if you're able to strike your opponent with this technique using the hand with your arm at full extension, which is how the haito is commonly performed, you're at the correct distance to use much more effective and safer technique's such as a closed fist punch or palm. Why walk 20 miles when you have the keys to a car? 

So I feel it's use in a real street fight depends upon the person executing the strike, but I wouldn't hurry to use it when I have better tools to hand and probably not that great for self defence in the context shown in the Kagawa vid above.

Interesting post, not many people analyse this strike and so it'll be good to see what other's think on this technique.

All the best,


JD's picture

Bas Ruttens ''clothes line''

It it really shows the effectiveness of this strike. 

All the best,


PASmith's picture

I think the motion is great although as mentioned, I prefer landing with the forearm rather than the ridgehand itself.

I've seen it most utilised as a pre-emptive strike becasue it comes out of the periphery and so can come in less detected than a straight palm or punch.

Well explained by Lee Morrison in this vid at about 5:40 onwards. Got some fruity language.

Iain makes a lot of use of this sort of strike in a lot of his bunkai and once you start to examine kata this motion is fairly common.

Wastelander's picture

I use it a lot--it's VERY powerful, and works well to follow with a grab if need be, although if I hit someone with it and they aren't unconscious I have done something drastically wrong. In my view, it works best when you have control of one of the opponent's arms, as it ensures proper range and helps you line up your shot. We have a lot of techniques which use this, and actually Iain showed a technique on Waza Wednesday where he uses it in much the same way we tend to, although from a kata we don't practice. As has been mentioned, it's really better used as a forearm strike than a strike with the hand.

Marc's picture

PASmith wrote:
Well explained by Lee Morrison in this vid at about 5:40 onwards. Got some fruity language.

Excellent video. I'd say it explains the ridge hand technique perfectly as well as some similar techniques that build on the same principle.

I think one of the most important points is that you really should not hit the hard skull with your delecate hand bones, instead hit with the radius and keep your elbow bent enough so you don't risk hyperextending your own elbow. Also use your hip to accelerate.

Chris R
Chris R's picture

Thanks for the replies. I agree about using the forearm, that's how I think it is best to approach this strike as well. The responses so far have mentioned some uses/benefits that I had not considered before, and I will incorporate these into my training as I put more focus towards training in this strike.