Tsuki (Punches)
       The actual translation of the word tsuki is "thrust." Technically, any thrusting technique can be labelled as tsuki. In karate, tsuki is the term used for punches. These attacks are traditionally delivered with the front two knuckles of the fist, called seiken (fore-fist). In this section, tsuki will also refer to spear-hand attacks and techniques performed with the fore-knuckles of the fist. Punching techniques (using the seiken) are the most popular attack form in karate. Punching techniques are often used because they are quick, powerful, and versatile. More importantly, punches keep the hands in a very solid and stable position that is capable of withstanding impact. Theoretically, many other attacks can be more effective than punching, yet some of these other attacks (especially spear-hand techniques) can result in damage to your own hand. Tsuki can be divided into 5 categories:

Basic Punches
       All basic punches are linear, requiring full extension of the arm. These punches have the longest range and tend to be the most powerful. Basic punches are easy to learn and simple to use. They are the most often used attack form in karate. In dojo practice, if a punch is to be used, 99% of the time it will be a basic one. Other punching techniques are most often found in kata.
Advanced Punches
       Advanced punches are usually, but not always, non-linear.  Many of these punches have the elbow bent at various angles. Although generally not as strong as basic punches, they are more suitable for close range combat. Advanced punches can also be very useful in working around an opponent's guard. As their label implies, advanced punches are much harder to learn and many students find it difficult to harness power with them.
inverted punch
rising punch
hook punch
roundhouse punch
vertical punch
blocking punch
Double-Hand Punches
       Double-hand punches are performed with both hands at the same time. Contrary to what one might think, double-hand punches are not as strong as single-hand punches. It is more difficult to coordinate power in both hands at the same time. These movements also have a much smaller hip rotation. Their obvious benefit is that two targets can be hit at the same time, although double-hand punches are almost never used as an offensive attack. More often, they are used in response to an attack, usually with one of the punches acting in a defensive manner. Double-hand punches are frequently used to achieve sen no sen.
double-hand punch
mountain punch
bow punch
combined punch (U-punch)
parallel punch        
scissors punch

Fore-knuckle Punches
       Fore-knuckle punches are performed with the middle knuckles of the fingers. These techniques are "sharper," having a much smaller contact point. Since the point of contact is smaller, these techniques can achieve greater penetration of force (the same amount of force is used on a smaller surface area, creating greater pound-force per square-inch {psi}). The danger in using these attacks occurs in the joints of the fingers. If the joints are not strong enough to absorb the impact with the target, they will break. For this reason, these techniques are most effective against small targets or soft vital areas, reducing the risk of injury to the hand. The fingers and knuckles should be properly conditioned before ever considering using them on solid targets.


one-knuckle fist
middle finger one-knuckle fist
flat fist

age-zuki (tsukiage)
straight punch
lunge punch
reverse punch
jab punch
       Spear-hand techniques involve a thrusting motion with the tips of the fingers. Since the fingertips are very small or "sharp," spear-hand techniques offer the greatest potential for penetration of force (psi). When delivered by a person with trained and conditioned hands, spear-hands can be quite deadly. Again, although the force behind these techniques can be quite devastating, the risk of breaking the hand is also high. Without proper hand training, it would be ridiculous to attempt a spear-hand in a real situation, even on soft targets. If you want to use these techniques in a real situation, you must train for it. Otherwise, leave it in kata.
tate-nukite (shihon-nukite)
hira-nukite (shihon-nukite)
one-finger spear-hand
two finger spear-hand
vertical spear-hand (four finger spear-hand)
flat spear-hand (four finger spear-hand)

*Please note that in a compound word, where tsuki does not come first, its pronunciation and writing change slightly,
  becoming zuki.