Punching Techniques - Should You Keep Your Fist Open Or Close?
Punching is the most common form of strike in Karate. Even in a street altercation, the same technique is used either in defense or offensive attacks. In a real street fight
, the main striking target is the head of the opponent.
The skull is made of strong bones to protect the sensitive part of your brain. Hence by punching on the head of another person, the hand bones of the striker are susceptible to injuries. This situation evokes some interesting questions like the need for punching at the face or even on the propriety of continuing with such training in fist strikes that teaches to target the head with punches.
Striking Bones Against Bones
In Karate, a person is trained a lot on punching. For this obvious reason, such a person may use the same method to defend an attack even in the street fight that becomes his repulse developed from the training. Hence a person would not react in a different way, when confronted with a situation of physical attack.
During threat situations, acting on the dictates of the conscience never occurs. The body reacts immediately with punches on the aggressor, which may sometimes result in breaking the hand bones of the striker. In competition fighting event, punches are defended either by blocking a large portion of the face with boxing gloves or by padding the punches down.
However, this is never possible in the streets because you don’t wear boxing or Mixed Martial Art (MMA) gloves all the time. Unlike covering your face with gloves in a Karate competition, you will be driven to a state of using your bare hands to defend yourself during a street fight, thus exposing them them injuries.
Similarly if you punch your adversary on the head with unprotected fists, there are chances of getting them injured which would disable you to use them for various defending or attacking purposes.
Of course, you may not be able to realize such implications at the nick of the moment when the enthusiasm overtakes your thinking and you are least conscious of the consequences. When you are fueled with adrenaline, you do not feel any pain.
You have to be mindful of your hands when striking sometime hard such as a person’s skull. You may be able to throw a powerful punch, however, the tiny delicate bones and tendons on your hand may not be able to take it.
Therefore the training of punching in martial art such as Karate may need a reexamination. Instead of the practical methodologies that we now use in the streets, some superior training methods need to be adopted.
There may be a counter point that the injuries to the hands are no serious matter in an encounter, if you can survive by saving yourself. These are also valid points to be considered. When your hands are used for defensive purposes, why not use a harder part of your limb such as your elbow to block? All you have to do is raise your elbow high enough to cover your face thus preventing any punches striking your head.
Now, should you use a closed or opened fist during a street fight? My suggestion is, use a closed fist to punch your opponent’s body and use your opened palm to slap your opponents on the cheek or ear. A hard slap on the side of the head may not knock him out, but it will disorient your opponent. Furthermore, a slap will not damage your hand.
However there are no set answers for this and every person has to adapt a method that he feels apt to a situation. The fear of injuries should not withdraw you from defending strikes on the streets. Karate is a martial art that enables people to apply instant techniques to defend an opponent in the combat, so use if to your own advantage.
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