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Dod
Dod's picture
Fist or palm? Pre-emptive strike

Assuming your chosen pre-emptive strike is to the chin or jaw,  I would be interested in people’s opinions on whether the fist or palm is better.  Or the pros and cons of each.

It seems clear that once a physical confrontation is inevitable the single most important physical action is the first attempted strike,  probably from the hand,  probably to the opponent’s head area,  and preferably a pre-emptive strike.   It makes sense that you would gain a huge advantage in landing the first solid “head” strike – and you may only get one chance.

It is also often stated that the we should very much limit the number of strikes we should contemplate and train for at the this stage (and in general) because to have a choice could cause hesitation and delay,  especially under the effects of adrenalin and fear.

I believe I am right in saying Geoff Thomson favours the fist and  W.E. Fairbairn favoured the palm,  as I believe Sensei Iain personally preferred in the Bunkai Jutsu book.

Jon Jepson
Jon Jepson's picture

Hi Dod .

For me its the palm every time . This is simply because , if your in a fight situation and your attacker is moving , its very hard to hit the jawline with the degree of acuracy you would need with a fist . And with a palm strike you can strike in relative saftey any area on the head .

In Britain it also looks better on cctv than a fist ! .

Hope this helps.

Regards.

Jon .

Dod
Dod's picture

Hi Jon,

I like the CCTV comment! 

Your comments about being easier to hit the target with the palm and less likely to damage your hand seem to be sound and others have often said the same,  on the other hand in karate we drill punches so much that it probably becomes more instinctive than palm.

Dod

Tau
Tau's picture

Is there actually a "need" to learn the fist (for striking, not grabs) at all?

Dod
Dod's picture

Tau,

Just to clarify, are you floating the idea that we don't need the fist for striking because open-hand striking is always preferred (or is your question whether we need to learn the fist for striking as it is natural and common?)

thanks

Dod

Wastelander
Wastelander's picture

I definitely prefer palm heel strikes to the face over punches, and I prefer punches to the body over palm heel strikes--it's all a matter of hard vs. soft. Just last week I had our youth students working JWT's haymaker defense pad drill, which utilizes a palm strike. That said, I also use a lot of forearm strikes, hammerfists and knife hands in my self defense drill because they do can do just as much damage, if not more, and they are even less likely to result in injury to yourself when striking someone with them.

nielmag
nielmag's picture

i believe peter consterdine on his powerstrike video likes to palm heel to face, then grabbing face with pinky and thumb, followed by a nasty double hip driven elbow.  Me personally, i really like that approach with palm heel (open hand) to the head, less chance of injury to tori, good chance of injury to uke smiley.  plus I love peter c's little tip of grabbing the face after the strike, uke's focus will be completely on his hand in the face, and wont even see follow up strike.  im guessing element of surprise by initial palm heel, then elbow can be devasting.  Even UFC champion George St Pierre got knocked down this weekend, and said "I didnt see it..." 

JWT
JWT's picture

Hi Dod

Personally I don't go for the jaw, but for the temple, although the target area will vary according to height differences.

I personally use the outer edge of the palm (behind the knuckles) rather than the palm heel with the back of the hand in line with the forearm.  Either going directly for the temple or aiming the fingers for the eyes and getting the temple as the person moves the head with the flinch.  If there's a big height difference I get students to go for the eyes and take the jawline on the flinch.  With that said, sometimes the situation means the other person has, for whatever reason, breached to a very close distance, and a forearm to the temple/ear/jaw or cupping slap behind the head is a better option.

I agree with Jon Jepson that the use of the open hand can look a lot better on cctv!  I also like the fact that it requires less conditioning and training to do effectively (guaranteed)  than a good punch and in my opinion carries a lower risk of injury to the hand and wrist.  Other potential advatages are the ease of launching from a fence and the ability to convert to grabbing or raking.

I think Tau's question is a good one.  I don't teach punching although I do teach hammerfists which I use on soft targets. My students, as a result, don't learn to make a fist for punching.

Hi Wastelander, terrible question... have I taught you? Or did you pick up the drill from youtube? cool

John Titchen

Wastelander
Wastelander's picture

If I were ever in your area I would definitely stop in to train with you if I got the chance, but I haven't had that chance--I do Subscribe to you on YouTube, though, and picked up the drill from there :). it reminded me of Pinan/Heian Yondan and seemed simple and effective, so I tried it out with a few training partners and then had the youth students try it out. I like it a lot, and it has led me to playing with application drills for Pinan Yondan, so I really appreciate you posting it!

Alain Tang Choon
Alain Tang Choon's picture

Actually I disagree with most on this and think that the fist should be used and for several reasons.

1 - Conditioning - While you are less likely to hurt your hand with a palm strike, this does not hold true for everyone, surely if teaching a person with little to know experience striking I would instruct them to use their palm but for a seasoned karateka there is no reason why you need resort to in my opinion a weaker tool for delivering damage. With years of striking ones knuckles become conditioned especially if youpurposefullycondition them as I and anyone who regularly hits a heavy bag/ makiwara and does knuckle push up has. Much like how a shin is conditioned through micro fractures making the bone denser and is generally agreed upon to be the best surface to hit with for power in a kick, knuckles can be treated in much the same way. 

2 - Accuracy - I only tentatively accept the idea that the palm is in all circumstance more accurate when hitting to the face, as to deliver power without injuring the fingers (I usually pull them back) you need to hit with the heel of the palm (otherwise is it pretty much a slap) which is not that much larger than the surface of the knuckles. 

3 - Injury - Or more specifically to deliver power without injury. Having injured my wrist several times (I seem prone to it and have only recently begun regularly strengthening the tendons) I find that if I do not hit properly with a closed fist that is may hurt my wrist however if I were to hit improperly with the heel of my palm (as with a bag swinging or a heading moving) the chance of hurting my wrist is almost certain, again though this may just be me. 

4 - Power - Which can you deliver more destructive force with? And which is more likely to cut the person if it connects? Surely a palm is effective but look at a competition like pancrase or kyokushin full contact sparring damage may be an issue but also the likely hood of cuts is far higher with a closer fist, which in a self defense situation can not only add physical damage but physiological damage and shock. Also the twisting motion of a punch delivers a dramatic increase to power in my opinion (though this can only be practiced on a body analogy target not a bag) 

Also on a side note, on power and injury I feel as though I can deliver significantly more force with a punch than a palm and even if I were to break a knuckle or even my hand, in a self defense situation I would gladly risk injury of my hand to delivery more power and possible save my life. After all what good is a perfectly good hand if the guy or guys are still standing and I am not. Furthermore in such a situation it is generally accepted you won’t really feel any sort of pain until well after due to adrenaline etc    

Reflex - as previously stated, you will default to what you train without thinking, and for me and most martial artist I imagine it would be a punch, why train something new for this particular situation if I already have trained my body for years to do something else in that situation? Also I feel more comfortable continuing from a punch into a combination (again that is just me based on how I have train, I just never did palm strike combinations)

Remember the number 1 rules I s there is no number 1 rule - Arnold Schwarzenegger I am not saying you should punch over palm strike, mind you I am saying that you CAN and it really depends on the person as everyone is different, there is no right and wrong. However for me at least I find, that if trained equally a punch will be more effective than a palm strike for the purpose of harming someone. * Sorry for my first post being such an essay I will try to keep it short in future 

Tau
Tau's picture

Dod wrote:
Tau,

Just to clarify, are you floating the idea that we don't need the fist for striking because open-hand striking is always preferred (or is your question whether we need to learn the fist for striking as it is natural and common?)

I'm asking if fists are necessary at all? Although another point on thread does answer that. Different targets are better hit by different tools. I don't like fist-to-face or fist-to-head because the skull is so dense. However, punches to the ribs work well and a 45 degree fist fits perfectly in the Xyphysternum. On the other hand, knifehands and ridgehands are the order of the day for neck strikes.

I forget where the question arose, but someone prominent in the field of self protection asked if you'd attempt to hammer a nail with a tool made of soft lumps held together by elastic bands, because that's what the fist is!

Mark B
Mark B's picture

Hi all,

I find debates like this quite interesting.

I would do this, or I would do that is something that is an easy to say in the comfort of a training session, or on a forum such as this.

My problem is this- I mainly practice open handed strikes for self protection, however on the numerous real physical conflicts I have experienced (all before I began training) I have only ever used a closed hand, and usually the right. My point then, until you have actually used a particular option in REAL combat how can you honestly say which is best for you. Some time ago on another thread I stated that striking pads is NOT the same as striking a person , neither are even the most realistic drills because you dont apply maximum impact with maximum vehemence, so to say unequivacally that I would do this, or that,  because that works best  is flawed until I can say both have been tested in full. I KNOW closed hand works, I prefer the idea of open hand for many of the reasons stated above, but at this moment in time the technique is untested. Yes, I can take the cover off a focus pad with a slap, but I've never done it for REAL.

I am well aware of the saying ''you get what you train for'', but consider a scenario of a cold, dark Monday night, rain pouring, does I would do this, or that, or use this technique hear and that technique there seem quite as easy, maybe some of you guys think it does and good look to you. I prefer a dose of realism and personal honesty myself.

As always, this is just my opinion, and is not meant to offend

All the best

Mark.

p.s I hope I never have to test my open hand techniques in a real situation, I'd call that a result.

Mark B
Mark B's picture

Hi all,

I find debates like this quite interesting.

I would do this, or I would do that is something that is an easy to say in the comfort of a training session, or on a forum such as this.

My problem is this- I mainly practice open handed strikes for self protection, however on the numerous real physical conflicts I have experienced (all before I began training) I have only ever used a closed hand, and usually the right. My point then, until you have actually used a particular option in REAL combat how can you honestly say which is best for you. Some time ago on another thread I stated that striking pads is NOT the same as striking a person , neither are even the most realistic drills because you dont apply maximum impact with maximum vehemence, so to say unequivacally that I would do this, or that,  because that works best  is flawed until I can say both have been tested in full. I KNOW closed hand works, I prefer the idea of open hand for many of the reasons stated above, but at this moment in time the technique is untested. Yes, I can take the cover off a focus pad with a slap, but I've never done it for REAL.

I am well aware of the saying ''you get what you train for'', but consider a scenario of a cold, dark Monday night, rain pouring, does I would do this, or that, or use this technique hear and that technique there seem quite as easy, maybe some of you guys think it does and good look to you. I prefer a dose of realism and personal honesty myself.

As always, this is just my opinion, and is not meant to offend

All the best

Mark.

p.s I hope I never have to test my open hand techniques in a real situation, I'd call that a result.

conan121
conan121's picture

My prefered prementive strike is a finger jab to the eyes....I have had to use it several times and it has worked everytime.

Dod
Dod's picture

Some great points to think about. 

I especially relate to Mark B's comment and it is really part of the reason I posed the question:  my head tells me that open hand is best but I have a feeling that in the stress of  the moment I would nevertheless revert to the fist as more of a known quantity. 

But I want to take this choice out of the equation especially for the first strike so that when suddenly confronted by a potential threat there is a clear course of action without needing to think eg. fence,  distraction,  bang.

Of course the answer may be to drill the open hand/palm heel more.

Dod

Tau
Tau's picture

I know that I would use the fist, because that's what I've trained for 22+ years and what I still mostly train with. That doesn't mean it's right. What about the student that's only been taught open hand as I propose may be appropriate?

Stevenson
Stevenson's picture

I thought Alain Tang Choons post was very good here.

I also agree that a palm heel as pre-emtive strike has a purpose beyond the actual confrontation in that on cctv or to witnesses it looks less aggresive and a case can be made that you are fending off. I was trying to push him away, your honour, I thought he was going to attack. My palm must have slipped and caught him on the chin.

There is another consideration in favour of the punch which hasn't been mentioned: distance. I know it's not much but the fist is a good 2 to 2 1/2 inches longer than the palm heel. There is a danger that it might pull up short and be low on power on impact at certain ranges.

Kris WIlder in "The Way of Kata" talks about "contouring the body" - you hit soft to hard, and hard to soft. So if you are striking the chin, a palm heel would be best because it is a hard bony point on the head - likewise the skull. But if  the target was the neck or the side of the head, a fist might be best.

Peraonally, like others here, since I have trained in the correct alignment for the fist, and have struck fairly solid objects in training (tameshiwari, phonebooks etc), I feel confident that I could punch without doing too much damage and so it would be my strike of first chocie.

Tau
Tau's picture

In regards damage, if you impact with the index finger / middle finger metacarpals then the hand and forearm is fairly well aligned. Bear in mind that in self defence you're dealing with a moving target. If you impact with the ring finger / little finger metacarpals then a fracture is likely. This, ironically, is the Boxer's fracture. Called that because it's sustained by punching although a true boxer will probably never sustain one.

JWT
JWT's picture

Tau wrote:

In regards damage, if you impact with the index finger / middle finger metacarpals then the hand and forearm is fairly well aligned. Bear in mind that in self defence you're dealing with a moving target. If you impact with the ring finger / little finger metacarpals then a fracture is likely. This, ironically, is the Boxer's fracture. Called that because it's sustained by punching although a true boxer will probably never sustain one.

Hi Tau - Mike Tyson did.  If it can happen to a fighter of his calibre, it can happen to anyone. smiley

JWT
JWT's picture

Hi Alain.  Vive la difference!  

Alain Tang Choon wrote:
1 - Conditioning - While you are less likely to hurt your hand with a palm strike, this does not hold true for everyone, surely if teaching a person with little to know experience striking I would instruct them to use their palm but for a seasoned karateka there is no reason why you need resort to in my opinion a weaker tool for delivering damage. With years of striking ones knuckles become conditioned especially if youpurposefullycondition them as I and anyone who regularly hits a heavy bag/ makiwara and does knuckle push up has. Much like how a shin is conditioned through micro fractures making the bone denser and is generally agreed upon to be the best surface to hit with for power in a kick, knuckles can be treated in much the same way. 

I think this comes down in part to the difference between training someone to get good at karate and training them to get good at self protection.  When training someone to get good at Karate it doesn't matter that the journey is long - you have time to condition etc. In self protection you need to work on the basis that someone could get attacked tomorrow, so the way the training is prioritised is different. As a result I'm likely to build from instinctive reactions towards more skilled approaches rather than try and instill more skilled approaches from the start and ignore the positions they are likely to end up in.  That of course is a whole new topic and training pedagogy!

While conditioning can strengthen the wrist and knuckles (and I speak as a former straw, wood and rope 7 foot makiwara user ) there's no guarantee that this will stop you from breaking your hand or buckling your wrist in an alive movement situation.  As Tau pointed out - stuff happens with a moving targt, and if a boxer like Mike Tyson (admittedly with a different technique) can damage his hand - so can anyone.   If you've done makiwara conditioning - it is a strong argument for using the fist, though that in itself doesn't make it superior to the open hand.

Alain Tang Choon wrote:
2 - Accuracy - I only tentatively accept the idea that the palm is in all circumstance more accurate when hitting to the face, as to deliver power without injuring the fingers (I usually pull them back) you need to hit with the heel of the palm (otherwise is it pretty much a slap) which is not that much larger than the surface of the knuckles. 

I can't see accuracy as a distinguishing  figure between the two approaches.   I disagree with what you're saying about injuring the fingers.  I teach to strike with the fingers extended and to make contact with the upper inside of the palm behind the knuckles.  In the resulting strike the hand is aligned with the forearm, so no danger of a buckle (less compared to a fist as the hand is in extension rather than flex, a stronger hand position - if flex was stronger we'd all walk round with closed hands) and no compresion of the wrist as per the palm heel.  The disadvantage is that you make contact with edge surfaces - the side of the face, the top of the head, the temple etc - although these are all great contact points for rocking the head.  You can convey a great deal of power with this - but you can't do it against a bag or torso - the best training target is a human head or the edge of a thai pad.  I teach this to a few hundred beginners a year in seminars in addition to my regular students and finger injuries are exceptionally rare - generally limited to one full contact simulation training thumb sprain a year, and on analysis those sort of injuries tend to happen in the confusion of multiple attacker events.

Alain Tang Choon wrote:
3 - Injury - Or more specifically to deliver power without injury. Having injured my wrist several times (I seem prone to it and have only recently begun regularly strengthening the tendons) I find that if I do not hit properly with a closed fist that is may hurt my wrist however if I were to hit improperly with the heel of my palm (as with a bag swinging or a heading moving) the chance of hurting my wrist is almost certain, again though this may just be me. 

Hitting with the palm heel can compress the wrist and cause injury when hitting a solid bulky target such as a torso or bag.  In the same way that a wrist buckling on a body or bag can hurt when hitting with the fist.  Personally I'd suggest that for such targets the forearms, elbows, knees, shins, feet and hammer fists are safer approaches.  They don't present buckling or compression opportunities.

Alain Tang Choon wrote:
4 - Power - Which can you deliver more destructive force with? And which is more likely to cut the person if it connects? Surely a palm is effective but look at a competition like pancrase or kyokushin full contact sparring damage may be an issue but also the likely hood of cuts is far higher with a closer fist, which in a self defense situation can not only add physical damage but physiological damage and shock. Also the twisting motion of a punch delivers a dramatic increase to power in my opinion (though this can only be practiced on a body analogy target not a bag) 

When fighting someone without gloves, the option that is least likely to cut is my preferred option.  A cut might stop a ring fight, it is less likely to stop a real fight unless it temporarily blinds the other person and allows you to land a better hit.  By contrast a cut could work against you in a post fight legal defence compared to a bruise, and a cut (and blood in general) cam open up the remote possibility of another box of nasties with regard to infection.

With regard to power, I can't see that a punch to the head is any more powerful than a palm to the head, and both can twist.  With regard to body shots again I can't see a punch being any more powerful than the less risky forearm.  

Alain Tang Choon wrote:
Also on a side note, on power and injury I feel as though I can deliver significantly more force with a punch than a palm and even if I were to break a knuckle or even my hand, in a self defense situation I would gladly risk injury of my hand to delivery more power and possible save my life. After all what good is a perfectly good hand if the guy or guys are still standing and I am not. Furthermore in such a situation it is generally accepted you won’t really feel any sort of pain until well after due to adrenaline etc    

The asumption that under adrenaline you won't feel things is a false one.  The body is an odd thing.  The ability to feel things will depend upon the amount of adrenaline, the nature of the injury, and the person's pain tolerance.  The hand is a very sensitive part of the human body, even with conditioning.  You might find yourself able to continue punching, but then again you might find yourself unable to use your hand.

Alain Tang Choon wrote:
Reflex - as previously stated, you will default to what you train without thinking, and for me and most martial artist I imagine it would be a punch, why train something new for this particular situation if I already have trained my body for years to do something else in that situation? Also I feel more comfortable continuing from a punch into a combination (again that is just me based on how I have train, I just never did palm strike combinations)

To be pedantic - that's not a reflex, that's a learned behaviour.  That said, I think you are right - you'll do what you train.  If you continuously train punches, you'll punch, and if you continuously train the open hand you'll use that.  It does not make sense to train one but intend to use the other for certain situations.

Alain Tang Choon wrote:
Remember the number 1 rules I s there is no number 1 rule - Arnold Schwarzenegger

I am not saying you should punch over palm strike, mind you I am saying that you CAN and it really depends on the person as everyone is different, there is no right and wrong. However for me at least I find, that if trained equally a punch will be more effective than a palm strike for the purpose of harming someone.

* Sorry for my first post being such an essay I will try to keep it short in future 

There's nothing wrong with long posts - particularly when you've ordered them into points! It's always good to get an alternative viewpoint, and if punching works better for you then I think you should punch. cool
JWT
JWT's picture

Stevenson wrote:
There is another consideration in favour of the punch which hasn't been mentioned: distance. I know it's not much but the fist is a good 2 to 2 1/2 inches longer than the palm heel. There is a danger that it might pull up short and be low on power on impact at certain ranges.

That kind of distancing is very unlikely to be a worry.  When you have to preempt somebody, asuming they are not already beginning their attack, they will already be well within your hitting range and generally in range to hit through you.  For a large number of people, once the verbal abuse and encoachment starts, the difficulty is preempting them before they are close enough to put their entire forearm through your head space.  

Although I preempt (at longest range) with the inside of my open hand (not palm heel) I generally hit 1 .5 hand's length through the target with my first strike and 1 hand plus half a forearm through the target on the follow through, even taking into account that I don't fully extend my preempt (to allow range for my second more powerful strike) and the target is knocked back on impact.

Stevenson
Stevenson's picture

Quote:
JWT: That kind of distancing is very unlikely to be a worry.

Well I am not convinced of this - not unconvinced either though, I hasten to add. Range is a relative thing. Someone much larger and taller with greater reach may be in a threatening position and still out of range of a pre-emptive strike from you. Secondly your positioning may be a factor - if your first strike is likely to be with a lead hand and as much distance is going to need to be closed as possible to make contact with any force, you may indeed want to have as much extensions as you can possibly get including the extra 2 inches from a fist as opposed to a palm heel. Yep - you could risk breaking a finger if you didn't choose a decent target point but your situation probably isn't at a point where that is likely to be a big consideration either. You just need that punch to give you a chance to escape, or stun for a follow-up.

Context, context, context, as someone once said. In general, I am inclined to agree that the palm heel is preferable - particularly as a first pre-emptive strike and I agree if you were training someone purely for self-defense without looking at on-going martial arts training then the benefits outweigh any disadvantages. Personally, the hammer fist to the side of the head if you are in range, or shute uke to the neck or the jaw line are what I encourage my students, who are mostly either young or female, to think about. I also discuss nukite to the throat or eyes as well as the palm heel strike. One issue I have with palm heel strike is that its force is likely to go along the centre line (most likely the chin or nose) and the neck is quite strong supporting the head that way, whereas to the side it's a bit weaker. You can arguably get a stronger blow from a hammer fist as well, and it can be not as easy to read and block coming from the side, and of course very little likelyhood of damaging your hand.

Personally, and depending what the target that was available, I would have no problem reaching for a punch, as I am pretty confident that my power punch delivered from a fence is fairly strong, and probably stronger than my palm heel. But the students I teach tend to be on the small side and I think their priorities are a bit different to mine so I take that into account when training them for self-defense.

JWT
JWT's picture

Hi Stevenson.  Context, context, context is a good maxim in any situation!  A bit like my corny teaching joke to students  that to get good at Karate you have to follow the three Rs - repetition, repetition, repetition! cool

Stevenson wrote:

Quote:
JWT: That kind of distancing is very unlikely to be a worry.

Well I am not convinced of this - not unconvinced either though, I hasten to add. Range is a relative thing. Someone much larger and taller with greater reach may be in a threatening position and still out of range of a pre-emptive strike from you. Secondly your positioning may be a factor - if your first strike is likely to be with a lead hand and as much distance is going to need to be closed as possible to make contact with any force, you may indeed want to have as much extensions as you can possibly get including the extra 2 inches from a fist as opposed to a palm heel. Yep - you could risk breaking a finger if you didn't choose a decent target point but your situation probably isn't at a point where that is likely to be a big consideration either. You just need that punch to give you a chance to escape, or stun for a follow-up.

If the person is significantly taller, regrettably logic dictates that to inflict a good preempt you need to go for another target.  I had a very short young lady train with me a few years ago and we adapted drills specifically for her because of her different reach.  She ended up going for the groin a great deal.  Other short people may prefer thrusting directly up under the chin with the palm heel (this wasn't an option for her a lot of the time).

With regard to the distancing i mentioned above - in the circumstances I teach, even at the longest range the person is only a half step from bumping chest with you.  That may seem odd and uncomfortably close to a lot of people, but once you start role playing and adding fake arguments, other people, etc into situations, plus look at how close people normally do stand when they get upset and how quickly they cover that distance if they were farther away, this is a very natural distance.  When I hit 1.5 hands length through the target, I'm keeping that hitting arm bent so I don't hit through the target so much that it is out of range of my second strike, even with movement forward.  I actually restrict the power and penetration of my first strike.  However, I teach an unusual fence and use the back hand to control and limit encroachment, not the front hand.  My back hand extends beyond my front hand.  If PASmith is reading this he might comment as he tried this at a charity seminar in September in an encroachment drill. At 4.14 onwards you can see one of my instructors doing this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7zfu-EdPzc

For the video I'm standing slightlu further away, but generally the 'long' preempt range that I tend to work with is when the person is almost touching the finger tips of the rear hand.  Once that hand is touched or slapped the lead hand always hits. 

Stevenson wrote:
Context, context, context, as someone once said. In general, I am inclined to agree that the palm heel is preferable - particularly as a first pre-emptive strike and I agree if you were training someone purely for self-defense without looking at on-going martial arts training then the benefits outweigh any disadvantages. Personally, the hammer fist to the side of the head if you are in range, or shute uke to the neck or the jaw line are what I encourage my students, who are mostly either young or female, to think about. I also discuss nukite to the throat or eyes as well as the palm heel strike. One issue I have with palm heel strike is that its force is likely to go along the centre line (most likely the chin or nose) and the neck is quite strong supporting the head that way, whereas to the side it's a bit weaker. You can arguably get a stronger blow from a hammer fist as well, and it can be not as easy to read and block coming from the side, and of course very little likelyhood of damaging your hand.

While as you say you can absord centre line forcepretty well, I've found the brain doesn't take kindly to hard palm heels going directly upwards under the chin.  The problem there is that you can't practice them full pelt on a person - so you have to do slow work through a partner, then fast power work under something heavy like a thai pad.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Stevenson
Stevenson's picture

Quote:
She ended up going for the groin a great deal.

Did she follow up? One point I have encountered (by a female self defense MA) is that men tend instinctively protect their groins pretty well, and actually it might have been you who mentioned that the groin can not always be as effective a target as might be supposed since the pain can be delayed. I have heard this before from others, but one thing for sure is that an attack to the groin will at least illicit a response, so I warn students of this, and try to get them to respond with a follow-up immediately. In particular it can bring the head into range for short people.

As an alternative, foot stamps are pretty effective, or so the evidence suggests. Certainly they hurt like blazes when even kids do it to me, but again I insist on training a follow up before fleeing.

I thought your video was excellent, but personally I would have suggested not allowing anyone within that range before a pre-emptive strike became an option on the grounds that there is no need enter personal space unless someone was threatening to do actual harm. Thinking about it though perhaps one would be inhibited sufficiently to start a fight so that the closer range would be allowed, and also I can see you are thinking about non-trained students with your approach.

Intersting - and thanks for your thoughts as well. I am due to give a talk about self-defense and awareness next week, so it's topical.

JWT
JWT's picture

Hi Stevenson

Yes! smiley  While I believe in developing power so that you can knock a person down if need be, I also recognise that 'stuff happens' and that often the first hit is little more than a tap due to the other stress factors.  It is very important to sustain pressure on the other person in order to create the opportnity to escape (or hit a better target, or gain a control).

Reference distance - I'd love to engage at longer range, but achieving longer ranges outside sparring can be very difficult!  I think it is always better, particularly if teaching a 'one off' self protection course, to work from the less ideal circumstances a student might find themselves in and build outwards.  In the video Chris actually stands slightly squarer than I do, so my distancing in the same position is even shorter! And that's my long range! smiley

John Titchen