Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Open hand vs. closed fist
#1
Video 
We had a similar discussion on this, dating back to 2006. I wanted to reintroduce the thread for additional/continued discussion since we've had new folks join since the older thread.

I'll toss my views out there for consideration to start the discussion. It all depends upon the target of the strike. For a soft body target, a fist can be used to great effect. Going further, using a one-knuckle punch can be extremely effective. On a hard body target, for example the head/face, from a SD perspective it is generally accepted that an open hand strike is the better choice.

  • Closed hand runs the risk of self injury i.e. boxers fracture. This will limit options concerning manual dexterity i.e. operating a cell phone to call for help, accessing and operating a firearm (both in firing, loading, reloading and clearing a malfunction), using a concealed or improvised weapon or something as 'simple' as using keys to lock a door or start a car. In short, it limits SD options depending upon the severity of the self injury.
  • An open wound i.e. cutting your knuckles on their teeth/bone structure now opens you up to blood borne pathogen. This is an extremely important consideration, and one that is often overlooked.
  • When properly used, an elbow strike is also more effective as it can generate more power. I include this under the open hand option as keeping the hand open whilst using an elbow strike increases it's power/speed/range of motion.


Couple of points to consider; First, professional boxers wear gloves (and hand wraps) to protect their hands. In sparring the opponent wears protective head gear. Even with this protection they still get injured in the ring. Professional boxers outside the ring have broken their hands in street brawls. Secondly, WWII combatives, possibly the most effective (and brutal) SD system around advocates the use of open hand strikes to the head/face i.e. the chin jab.

This doesn't mean that exceptions don't exist, but the general rule is for an open hand to the head/face, particularly when one is not wearing hand protection. As pointed out, elbow strikes are an exceptional tool and I'd personally rather use an elbow if applicable than a closed fist although I've used the edge-of-hand (knife hand) to great effect. The EOH to the brachial plexus (side of neck) can be an exceptional strike. I will also toss in the inside and outside forearm strike as I use an open hand whilst doing this strike as well (see Mu Shin Kata Movement #2).

Some videos to consider:









The incident that brought this subject back to mind was with my partner a couple of days ago. While I was busy elsewhere and unable to respond my Corporeal was attacked by a EDP (emotionally disturbed person). My partner responded to assist. Due to the level of aggression and the situation, my partner was permitted by policy to utilize closed hand strikes. Although authorized, it still wasn't the best option as he found out the hard way. Utilizing a closed hand strike, the punch slipped off the body and he ended up jamming it into a concrete wall. Since concrete walls don't have a lot of give he ended up hurting (and cutting) his hand. He went for Xrays but don't know the results yet. He is right handed and it was his right hand of course that he injured. Swelled up pretty good and he'll be lucky if he didn't break one of the meta-carpals. If he ends up in a soft cast that will mean light duty...which sucks.

Okay, floor open for discussion Smile
Two thousand years ago wise men sought Christ, wise men still do.

Techniques are situational, principles are universal.

Fast as the wind, quiet as the forest, aggressive as fire, and immovable as a mountain.

He who gets there first with the most...wins!

Minimal force may not be minimum force!

We don't rise to the occasion...we sink to the level of our training.


Reply
#2
As already indicated on the previous board, both are excellent tools! It depends on the situation. Open hands yield way to trapping, locking and can increase your power curve. The MA should know what they can handle and can't. Even though I agree with David on his points, I myself wouldn't negate a punch to the head. I use and teach both methods, another tool in your tool kit.
Reply
#3
My Kenpo instructor taught "Hard target, soft weapon, soft target, hard weapon"
Hard target, head and face would get perhaps palm heel strike, forearm strike, eye gouge where soft target (solar plexus, abdomen) would get a fist.
There are always exceptions
Reply
#4
That's a great rule as well! One thing depends on how conditioned the person is. I have a 51yr old student that has rocks for knuckles from years of work from his job. A little tap on the jaw from him can feel like walking into a brick wall. Truth is, you have to know who you are and what you are capable of and then be smart about it. Just because you can hit someone in the head with a closed fist doesn't mean you should.
Reply
#5
I'm with Harold. I like open hands to the hard skull of the head and fists to the body. Of course elbows are always a nasty and welcome tool.
Reply
#6
I love the simplicity of harold's "Hard target, soft weapon, soft target, hard weapon."  I've already quoted it at a recent demonstration where I was breaking blocks, which of course was done with an open palm strike rather than a closed fist.  

Breaking blocks is over-rated (except for confidence building and teaching people to commit).  "Block no hit back."  But it was a kids' camp and it grabs their attention.   Smile
Martial Arts done well leads to a more virtuous life because everyone is fighting something.

"If your eye is single, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is evil, even the light that is within you will be darkness.  If the light that is within you is darkness, how great is that darkness?"  (Jesus of Nazareth)
Reply
#7
(07-14-2015, 09:34 PM)Harold Wrote: My Kenpo instructor taught "Hard target, soft weapon, soft target, hard weapon"

+1 Smile
Two thousand years ago wise men sought Christ, wise men still do.

Techniques are situational, principles are universal.

Fast as the wind, quiet as the forest, aggressive as fire, and immovable as a mountain.

He who gets there first with the most...wins!

Minimal force may not be minimum force!

We don't rise to the occasion...we sink to the level of our training.


Reply
#8


Two thousand years ago wise men sought Christ, wise men still do.

Techniques are situational, principles are universal.

Fast as the wind, quiet as the forest, aggressive as fire, and immovable as a mountain.

He who gets there first with the most...wins!

Minimal force may not be minimum force!

We don't rise to the occasion...we sink to the level of our training.


Reply
#9
(07-15-2015, 03:40 AM)KemTaeDo Wrote: That's a great rule as well! One thing depends on how conditioned the person is. I have a 51yr old student that has rocks for knuckles from years of work from his job. A little tap on the jaw from him can feel like walking into a brick wall. Truth is, you have to know who you are and what you are capable of and then be smart about it. Just because you can hit someone in the head with a closed fist doesn't mean you should.

Seems to me that conditioning is indeed the key.  When I studied TKD in the mid-60s, we were taught to condition our knuckles, and did so.  We could strike hard objects with less worry.  Control and applying gi to the point of contact was also taught.  I don't think those things are taught much any more.
Reply
#10
Something that is often overlooked when instructors promote "hard to soft, and soft to hard"...adrenaline. While it's generally not difficult to open and close the hand to adapt to varying targets during competition or training, it's something that can be very difficult under the stress of a real assault. That being the case I prefer to condition students to keep their hands open. Here is a post that supports my thoughts on this-

http://personalsafetyunlimited.blogspot....us-on.html
"Personal safety is a way of life, not just a hobby!" ~Steve Zorn
Personal Safety Unlimited
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)