Anyone know why Karate tradtionally doesnt allow punches to the head?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by Rat, Jul 17, 2020.

  1. Rat

    Rat Master Black Belt

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    Honest question, i have been trying to think of a reason why they dont allow punches to the head tradtionally, but every reason i come up with is flawed, so if anyone knows a offical reason as to why please share. Or the closest thing to a offical reason as to why.

    Addendum: I know some have now incorporated punches to the head. I just mean why do the ones that dont, (ones i cited as tradtional/tradtionally) dont do it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
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  2. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    It does
     
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  3. wab25

    wab25 Black Belt

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    Traditional Karate does include punches to the head. They are all over in the kata.

    Some schools may be not allow punches to the head... but thats a school or organization thing.

    The place I train at, does not allow punches to the head during normal sparring. They add them back in when training for a Kumite contest. We do practice kata, self defense and drills with punches to the head. The reason they stopped using them for normal sparring was that in a few months we had people suffer a lost tooth, a few nasty black eyes and a broken cheek bone that required surgery to fix. The instructors figured that since most of us work day jobs, they wanted to take the facial injuries away from sparring. But, that is just our school... not karate itself.
     
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  4. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    its a false premise, traditional karate does, its modern incarnations of karate that tends not to,

    i suspect its for safety reasons
     
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  5. Rat

    Rat Master Black Belt

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    Kind of ambigious, i meant tradtionally in the realms of modern karate. (as most people do that) as opposed to pre modern. Its dipped then came back, but thats just me overlooking that you should denote the specfic instance.


    See thats one thing i was racking my head about, but they let you kick there, you can generally generate a lot of force with a kick. But its harder to pull off. So it seems 50/50 to me. Id argue you could do more or compartive damage to the head with a foot/shin, but then the dificulty may outweigh it.

    Did your school use gloves or not? Just curious for that one, or gum shields etc.
     
  6. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    i think you need to define your terms, you seem to have invented the concept of traditional modern karate, or perhaps modern traditional karate

    lets try again karate as originally practised had head punches, at some point over the last 100 years or so, some schools/ competitions have removed that

    im not aware that any that have removed head punches have retained head kicks, but it maybe so, in which case its difficult to see the logic, beyond it being considerable more difficult to kick someone in the head rather than punch them so it will happen less often and also would most likely contact the side of the head rather than the face
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
  7. Rat

    Rat Master Black Belt

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    I meant tradtional, FOR modern karate. I belive that was clear enough. Tradtions are tradtions, modern karate has them.


    That seems to be the norm, or at least for what i have seen, you can find plenty of videos of no head punches but kicks to them etc. I dont know what catergory they are in though.
     
  8. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    if some one has modernised karate then its no longer the traditional form of karate, is it ?

    the biggest problem with the term TMA, is very few arts are anywhere near the traditional version, they may be better, they may be worse but they are not traditional
     
  9. O'Malley

    O'Malley Blue Belt

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    Both traditional and modern karate allow punches to the head. It depends on the style. Kyokushin competitions prohibit them. Is it different in your own style?
     
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  10. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    All karate has punches to the head but some Karate competitions do not allow it. There’s a difference. Go look up karate combat a full contact karate organisation punches to the head are certainly allowed there.

    in my karate American Kenpo karate head punches are certainly allowed. Both competition and regular
     
  11. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    If you know how to punch effectively, you can pick any targets you like. Nothing is off limits.
     
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  12. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    It's morning here. This gave me a good chuckle over my espresso.

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  13. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Is kyokushin karate considered a sport art or a traditional art?
     
  14. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Punching to the head is a bad idea "on the streetz" because you'll surely break your hand, and hitting the pressure points is way more effective anyway. Only sport arts punch to the head, because they wear gloves.
     
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  15. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Purple Belt

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    Head punches not allowed? I'm going to get a little long in my post, as there is a lot involved in Rat's simple question. Since it seems obvious that not only were head punches taught in early TMA, so were eye gouges, hair pulls, throat strikes, etc., I will assume you are speaking of modern organized competition.

    In the 1960's and 70's, where GLOVES AND HEADGEAR WERE NOT IN PLAY (even a shin or arm pad would bring humiliation to the wearer), not only were head shots definitely allowed, "kiss" CONTACT WAS ALLOWED for black and sometimes brown belts. "Kiss" being defined as contact not breaking any bones or teeth, cuts not requiring stitches, or causing the head to noticeably snap back. (These being the outside edge of the envelope. Depending on the judge, lesser offenses may have also resulted in a warning, penalty point, or disqualification.) Often green (intermediate) belts were also allowed to go for the head, but no kind of contact was the rule.

    So, there was RISK in sparring, a risk that had to be taken into account if you valued your good looks. This fact meant you could not just wade in attacking willy nilly. Timing, finesse and tactics were required to a higher degree than if contact head shots were not allowed. Pure aggressiveness and power were not enough. Plus, having an additional high target zone meant a more varied selection of techniques. Imagine all the fun if the baseball strike zone was expanded another foot higher.

    Now, how could kiss contact rules work without most competitors getting disqualified in their zeal to win? The answer - CONTROL - the ability to have full control of your technique so you could stop it exactly where you wanted. This was a skill inherent to karate practice in those and earlier decades. But in the mid 70's, this began to change in some tournaments.

    Joon Rhee (an early TKD pioneer and personality in the USA) introduced the use of plastic foam pads for the hands and feet (Mid 70's) much to the dismay of most early competitors. It actually caused more injuries, IMO. Two reasons for this. Physically, the pads added about 2 inches to the fist's reach. So, for those of us using control to stop our punch a half inch from the opponent's face, that extra one and a half inches got impacted into the opponent's face. Mentally, the pads gave a false sense of safety and some fighters felt that the concept of control was no longer applicable. People got sloppy.

    Perhaps many competitors no longer have the skills to be allowed to go for the head, much less being allowed "kiss" contact.

    With the spread of MA competition and various organizations putting on tournaments, it seems that there several sets of rules, nowadays. I understand grabs and sweeps (once a popular sparring tactic) are now prohibited by some organizations, as well as head shots. Liability issues and social norms may be the culprits. No doubt, if I were to compete today, I'd be disqualified every time (but it would sure be fun!)
     
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  16. Bruce7

    Bruce7 Black Belt

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    In a 1967 black belt magazine acticle I read Jack Hwang quit competing because he keep getting disqualified for hitting in the face too hard.
     
  17. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Purple Belt

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    If he got disqualified that often, he most likely well deserved getting tossed out, though I never heard of him. Maybe he was an East coast competitor in Aaron Bank's or Rob't Trias' territory. Joe Lewis also got tossed a few times. I have little respect for those who flagrantly injure others.

    P.S. I'm sure I had that 1967 issue, but I gave all my mags away a long long time ago. Too bad. Black Belt was a great magazine back then!
     
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  18. Bruce7

    Bruce7 Black Belt

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    There are pictures of Jack Hwang, Joe Lewis, and other standing around trophies at major tournment in the 60's
    Jack Hwang was the coach of the first American team to go to Korea in 1973.
     
  19. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Back then only the black belt level competition allowed face contact. Face contact was not allowed below the black belt level. Even the black belt face contact, if you draw blood, you will be disqualified. Sometime, you punch my face, I turn my head, bite on my lips, I can make you disqualified.

    Also hammer fist on top of the head won't give you any score. The MT roundhouse kick with shin bone won't give you any score either.
     
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  20. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Yep if you don’t like the rules then don’t compete simple as that. I mean I get once or twice getting caught up on instinct but still your a high level martial artist you should have the control not to do those things. I mean I did karate and kickboxing for years before I boxed competitively....I never threw any kicks in the ring even though in karate and kickboxing I was more of a kicker123
     
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