Left-handed fighters pose unique challenges for right-handed fighters in karate. Left-handed fighters prefer different stances, approach at different angles and are better positioned to attack your weak side. However, if you understand how left-handed fighters attack, you will know how to handle them in karate.
Observe how the left-handed fighter stands and moves. If the fighter is standing with his right foot forward, he will favor his left hand and left foot when striking. Left-handed fighters prefer to move to their right to protect their weak side. If your opponent exhibits this behavior, then you can use these tendencies against him.
Circle to the right to mimic the left-handed fighter’s behavior. This will protect your weak side and prevent the left-handed fighter from gaining an advantageous position on you. Every time you see him move to his right, do the same.
Attack with a straight right hand. One of the weaknesses of a left-handed fighter stance in karate is that it is more difficult to block a right -handed power punch. However, it is more difficult to jab with the left because his right hand is closer to your left. Instead of setting up a right-handed punch with left jabs, just surprise him with a strong right hand.
Move under his blocks. When the left-handed fighter attempts to cover his upper body in response to your straight right hand, attack his body. You can do this with a right front kick, right roundhouse kick or straight right knee. His body will be open to your attack, because your stance is opposite the way the left-handed fighter is standing.
Switch stances. If the left-handed fighter figures out what you are doing, you will need to outsmart him in other ways. Switch your feet to mimic his left-handed stance. When he adjusts to your motions, switch back, then immediately attack with the straight right punch and underneath kick.
Change directions. Another way to trick a left-handed fighter into exposing himself to your attacks is to abruptly circle to your left when he stops moving. This will put you on his weak side, where you can attack his back. In karate, this is usually only possible if you surprise your opponent or he is too tired to respond.
About this Author
Kent Ninomiya has 22 years’ experience as a TV news anchor, reporter, managing editor and writer. He has traveled to more than 100 countries on all seven continents, including Antarctica. Ninomiya has a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences from the University of California at Berkeley.