Ate (elbow strike), is a term used for any strike performed with the elbow. Though Ate is almost never practiced as a stand alone technique, many Genwakai kata use elbow strikes as part of the sequence and are acceptable for use in kumite. Preferred targets for Ate include the solar plexus, temple, mandible joint (just in front of the ear), neck and under the chin. The key to making Ate techniques devastating is to use the body in delivery of the technique. Stepping in and delivering an Ate is much more effective than a standing-still delivery. Standing-still, an Ate is a secondary technique used to set up an opponent for a final technique. Pictured below are the five most commonly used Ate in Genwakai; they may also be seen in Shiho Ate.

Mae Ate - Target is commonly solar plexus though it may be used to strike other areas such as the neck or chin easily.


Yoko Ate - Target is usually solar plexus, though one may also strike the chin, nose, or neck.


Mawashi Ate - Target is usually the mandible joint though it may be used to strike other areas such as the temple or neck.


Ushiro Ate - Target is limited to solar plexus.


Otoshi Ate - Target is commonly an opponent's head, neck, or back after you've doubled them over. It may also strike any part of an opponent's body which you have grabbed with the other hand.


Thought's on Teaching

  • First, learn/teach the technique static (in air). Next exchange Ate with a partner, starting lightly to get focus and progressing to forceful attacks with an armored partner. Mix up one step striking along with bag and focus pad training. More time should be spent sharpening static movements and perfecting technique as opposed to striking focus mitts and heavy bags.

Tips of Mudansha

Tips for Yudansha

  • Hissho No Kata has all of the Empi/Ate of Genwakai. What is worthy of note is some of the possible applications (bunkai) and other waza/techniques they are grouped with. Some Ate are obvious strikes, others possible blocks with the strike hitting/blocking an attacking limb, still more are grouped with a spin, shuto, mae geri, grab, sweep or dynamic movement. It has a wealth of discovery for the seeker of bunkai application with Ate waza and foot movement. Try running through the kata with a partner attacking/grabbing you with appropriate techniques. Mix it up and enjoy!