7 Ways to Find Your “Tokui Waza”

Have you ever seen somebody execute a really superb technique, and wondered “How on earth does he/she do it?”

Is it some kind of magical, martial, power? Well, the answer is probably simpler than that: He/she might just have found their ‘tokui waza’, or special technique!

‘Tokui waza’ is a technique or skill that fits that special person like hand in the glove, and therefore is almost effortless for the person to do. You might even go “He/she makes it look so easy!” and well, that might be because it actually is easy. At least for that person.

For you however, it might be a pain in the butt.

We are all unique, so what fits one person doesn’t necessarily fit another. Different body types, mentalities and other qualities can play a bigger part than most people are aware of, when it comes to techniques.

So what everyone has to do is to take a moment and just think about what special technique he/she is good at… and then nurture that skill.

Find your “tokui waza”.

This of course applies not only to Karate (or Kobudo), but to life in general, as well.

For example, you could struggle for years at a job for which you were ill suited, and then find yourself in the perfect field, and make more progress in a couple of years than you had made in the 20 years preceding, at your old job!

“So how do find my special technique/talent?” you may ask.

I’ll tell you. There are seven steps, seven “ways”, for you to identify your special talent. You may even call them “rules”.

Let’s see:

1. You will always be the best and happiest at a technique that you love to do. If your sensei would allow it, you would do it every session, all the time. It brings out the very best in you and you get a tremendous amount of satisfaction and enjoyment when you are doing that particular technique.

2. You do it well. You seem to have a natural ability to perform the technique.

3. This technique has been responsible for most of your success and happiness in your training, competitions etc, up until now. Ever since you started, it is something that you have enjoyed to do and from which you got the greatest rewards and compliments from other people.

4. It is something that was easy for you to learn. In fact, it was so easy to learn that you actually forgot when and how you learned it. You just found yourself doing it easily and well one day.

5. It holds your attention to this day. It absorbs you and fascinates you. You like to think about it, read about it, talk about it and learn about it. It seems to attract you, like a bee to a flower.

6. When you do it, time stands still. You can often work in your area of special talent for long periods without eating or sleeping, hour after hour, because you get so involved in it.

7. You really admire and respect other people who are good at it. You want to be like them and be around them and emulate them in every way.

How did it go?

Did you get an answer?

If the above seven “rules” apply to anything that you are doing (or anything that you have done in the past) in your training, you should go for it! It doesn’t even have to be a special technique; it can be something more general like “high kicks”, “deep stances”, “kata” or “close quarter grappling”. Though I doubt that there exists a person who gets ”tremendous amounts of satisfaction” from doing deep stances…

Some people might think they have no speciality at all.

Well, then they have the opportunity to choose what they want.

Or just do it all!

But remember this: It is quite common that, if you are weak in a particular skill, you will avoid taking action in that skill. You will fall into the trap of “learned helplessness” which means you will say things like, “I’m not really very good in that area.” Or, “I don’t have any natural talent or ability in that skill.”, and then never practice it.

Just because you are great in one field doesn’t mean you can neglect the others.

Complementary skills must also be nurtured.

Let me wrap up with a quote (I really like quotes).

Michael Jordan, the basketball player, once said:

“Everybody has talent, but ability takes hard work.”

Words from a master.

So find that technique… and start working!


  • Nadirah
    hye jesse, cool post! i usually love to do knife hand blocks and yokogeri. i practiced those moves all the time cuz theyre just do nice! haha but yeah i never missed any other moves. :-D keep on posting jesse!
  • Thanks! Been kind of busy lately, but i'll keep posting! :)
  • Szilard
    Side kick would be good here, but I am getting worse at it as the ages go by. So when I was young maybe yoko geri was this for me. There is this technique where you get your opponent by the throat with the inside of your elbow and flip him over. Yeah, that works pretty well, if I can get close enough. When I was young I was all for long distance fighting, now I am for really short distance things. So maybe the Tokui Waza changes every few decade.
  • Allen
    For me it is elbow techniques. i love all things elbows and feel that the elbow is the most diverse tool in a martial artists arsenal yet the most under utilized.
  • Shorin
    For me my tokui is a simple oí tsuki , this technique always works for me. I have a very agresive combat style and when i launch an oí tsuki adversaries respect me.

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