Empty Hand – Deadly FistStyles . Training notes
We make a fist from the moment we are born, clenching our fists against the unknown. Fully grown we are still prone to instinctively clench our fists in sudden stressful or fearful situations. But as we grow and mature many of us forget the proper way to make a fist. Without this knowledge we stand a better chance of hurting ourselves then those we would defend ourselves from.
The fist, or closed fist is the most well-known of the Martial Arts form. The karate chop may be more popular, but the fist is our main defensive weapon. Simply clenching your fingers into your palm does not necessarily make a correct fist. There are important facts to master before learning to use your fists properly.
The two pictures above demonstrate a correctly formed fist from the side and top. Notice the fingers are all curled in as tightly as possible, and the thumb is folded down over the second row of finger segments. The tighter the fist the more powerful it is and the less it will hurt the owner. If a fist is not tightly clenched then some of the striking force goes to compressing the fist. In a tightly formed fist very little of the striking force is lost to compression meaning most of the force is applied to the surface you are striking (like the face). This however is not true unless you are striking with the correct surface of the fist.
The striking surface is the one inch square beginning at the top of the index and middle finger knuckles, downward. The direction of the strike and the alignment of the supporting wrist are also incredibly important. In the following picture notice that the wrist is aligned with the two wrist bones (metacarpals) so that the any backwards force will distribute and dispress through them. The wrist-fist alignment must not allow for any torque of side force to be applied to the wrist bones, meaning the wrist need to be straight.
The truth of the above rules are simple principle to demonstrate with a heavy bag or willing padded opponent. 🙂
One more important option remains, to make a horizontal strike or a twisting strike. I horizontal strike means that the fist begins and ends in the same orientation (palm facing the floor, wall or ceiling without change). This is a straight punch from a ready position. With a twisting or screwed strike (classic karate strike) your fist begins palm up and ends palm down at the moment of impact. This unscrewing motion can create a vortex or twisting effect through the body structure and fluids thus resulting in a more penetrating strike. This of course is more difficult to perfect but once performed correctly the difference is immediately noticeable.
With a straight punch there is less room for error and therefore this is a safer punch for a beginner. However the torque punch or twisting strike can be significantly more powerful. With either type of strike though it is important to remember that your finger tightness, wrist position and orientation are critical to correctly using this defensive weapon. Incorrect positioning, orientation of the wrist or tightness of the fingers can result in broken bones for you not your opponent! When training practice slowly to perfect the form and technique then gradually increase the impact to a padded target to avoid injury. Of course please alos seek the instruction of a qualified instructor.
Train Hard, Train Often!
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