What Are Some Karate Moves For Beginners?

Looking for a new exciting way to keep fit. Or wanting to try something new. Karate is a fun, intense sport which many take part in to keep up their fitness levels or just to join a new community.

Starting as a white belt, students can progress all the way to black belt. As students progress they learn a multitude of skills outside of perfecting their Yoko Geri.

What Are Some Karate Moves For Beginners?

However, starting a new sport can be daunting. Learning a few basic moves in the comfort of your own home can give you the little confidence boost you need before getting into a Dojo.

But what moves do you need to know before you can start earning those belts? 

This guide includes four of the basic moves you can learn at home before entering a Dojo.

You can get to practicing the foundations before moving onto more intricate moves.  

Choku Zuki: The Straight Punch

Before moving onto the good stuff, we need to make sure we are getting the most basic of moves correct.

This includes something as simple as making a fist. Seems simple right? Well, if done incorrectly you risk breaking one of the 27 bones in your hand and a trip to the emergency room. 

To make a first the right way, ensure your thumb is folded down over the top of your index and middle fingers.

This protects your fingers when striking. Ensure all fingers are curled neatly so that the tips of your fingers rest on the palm of your hand. 

Good. Now that we’ve got that covered we can move onto the straight punch. Or, Choku Zuki. 

One of the most common martial arts maneuvers is the fundamental straight punch. It’s employed in a variety of martial arts styles.

However, because Karate is viewed as a very straight, almost choppy technique, it has a distinct place in it. The straight punch is a popular karate move that, when executed properly, can be extremely powerful.

Begin in a neutral stance and when your first is ready, strike out from a cocked position at your side with your palm facing up.

As you strike make sure to turn your palm down and ensure to never fully extend or lock your elbow. 

At the same moment as you step forward with your right leg, draw your left hand back to a ready position at your side.

When properly timed, this push-pull effect provides extra power to your punch.

Oi Zuki: The Front Lunch Punch 

With the seemingly innocent straight punch perfected, it’s time to move onto the Front Lunch Punch.

This move adds more momentum from your body to the punch. Following the same arm movements as the straight punch, never fully extending your elbow. 

The Front Lunch Punch requires a deeper stance. This gives the punch for force and gives you more of a rooted position to face a single opponent head-on. Defending from attackers behind you will be more difficult.

 Lunge forward to a deep zenkutsu dachi, or front step, instead of taking a casual step forward.

On the same side as the punching arm, add an extra push with the hip and pectoral muscles.

Mae Geri: The Front Kick 

Mae Geri: The Front Kick 

With the basic punching movements down, we can focus on kicks. Whilst impeccably more fun than punching, kicking can be more difficult as it requires far more balance and stability.

The Front Kick is the easiest kick to begin with. Requiring a deeper stance, you learn to define your stability and surprise your opponent with a quick front snap kick.

From your basic stance, draw your knee up so your thigh is parallel to the floor. From there stretch your foot out, keep your toes pulled back and strike with the ball of your foot. 

Pair that with an exciting Oi Zuki and you have a rather powerful combo. 

Yoko Geri: The Side Kick

The side kick is a fantastic offense and defensive combination. You align your entire body behind an extremely powerful attack.

There’s no way your opponent can get past your defense if it’s done correctly and at the right time.

Their only option is to dodge, which you shouldn’t give them enough time to do.

To begin performing the side kick, take a small quarter turn to the opposite side.

For example, when kicking with your left leg, turn to your right. Then begin lifting your leg as high as you can using the momentum to turn at the same time.

Make sure your toes on your balancing leg are facing behind you. Lean back and rotate to ensure your lower leg is close to parallel with the floor. 

You’re now fully charged and ready to unleash that leg on your opponent. Make sure you turn your ankle so that you’re striking with the outside of your foot.

In other words, the side of your foot on which your pinky is located. Upon collision, you can stand in victory! 


You now have the tools to begin learning Karate! With these four basic moves you can start building your foundation before even thinking about entering Dojo or enrolling in classes.

However, it is recommended that you consult a trained professional before attempting new moves and to consult your doctor before trying a new exercise regime. 

3 Key factors to remember when learning these impressive moves: 

  • When making a fist, the thumb rests over the fingers for protection. With the fingers curled inwards and the fingertips resting on your palm. 
  • Never fully extend your arm or lock your elbow when delivering a punch.. 
  • Ensure your toes are pulled back before striking with a kick. 

And there you have it! Follow those four moves to start your Karate journey. From a white belt to a black belt, these four moves are the foundations of the martial arts technique.

With a strong stance and an impeccable punch, you’ll be watching your opponents fall in no time. In a supervised Dojo of course.

Christopher Anderson
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