Hammerfist vs. Backfist?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Telfer, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. Telfer

    Telfer Green Belt

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    Are there any good reasons to prefer a hammerfist to a good old backfist.

    I've read that contrary to popular belief its easier to injure your hand with a hammerfist.

    That doesnt seem to make sense...considering its a softer striking surface???
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  2. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Like the old saying goes....environment and target availability dictate what we do. IMO, the hammerfist is going to be the stronger of the two. The targets that you have with the hammerfist and greater than the backfist. For example....I personally wouldn't use a backfist a backfist to strike a hard target. Now, someone could counter and say that the backfist is thrown to the head, a hard target, during sparring. And while this is true, the people throwing them are usually wearing hand protection.

    I like them both and each IMO has their own purpose.
     
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  3. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    I prefer a hammerfist almost always, and I find it very hard to believe that its easier to break your hand with a hammerfist over a backfist, any references for that?

    Also the hammerfist translates better to weapon use like yawara sticks, so if you are interested in a common platform that is my preference.
     
  4. Telfer

    Telfer Green Belt

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    Thanks for mentioning the word yawara. Never heard of it, so I did some reading on the subject...interesting.

    Reminds me of my foot massage roller!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    Yawara, palm stick, kubaton, fistload, dulo-dulo, whatever you want to call it, there are lots of variations.
     
  6. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Purple Belt

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    Great point. And I'll have to remember that term for describing the FMA priority of translating between weapons with minimal change to technique. Common platform. Good stuff.
     
  7. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Basically, it comes down to the fact that the two different strikes are for two completely different set of circumstances. If you are in a position where a hammer fist is usable, a back fist probably won't be, and vice versa.

    Oh, and being easier to break your hand with a hammer than a back? Um, no, not sure what you're getting at there at all.
     
  8. Gordon Nore

    Gordon Nore Senior Master

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    One of things I worked on when learning to disarm someone with a knife was, essentially, a hammer-fist strike with the hand I was holding the knife in, striking my opponent with the butt end of the tanto.
     
  9. SahBumNimRush

    SahBumNimRush Master of Arts

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    In my martial art we use alot of knife hands, which is merely a variation of the hammerfist (essentially a closed knife hand). IMHO, the hammerfist and its variants are capable of much greater power, simply due to the mechanics of the techniques utilized in the execution of them. The backfist, is a quick and great strike, which can generate alot of power as well. So it just depends on the circumstance you would use them. I rarely use the backfist, but often use the knife hand. Although I admit if we allowed backfists in our sparring, I would use them more often. I do use them quite frequently when I open spar or cross-train with other martial artists.
     
  10. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    Butt end or pointy end (in reverse grip) its all the same motion, just that the pointy end is messier.

    To be fair, backfists (or back-knuckle) also have their translations to weapon work, but it isn't as apparent as the hammerfist and less common. But when it comes to the gross motor skills that bad situations tend to bring out, hammerfist wins hands down, particularly if you are training people for relatively short periods of time and want to instill some useable skills.
     
  11. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    If I had to generalize the two strikes, I think of hammerfists as just that, a great way to deliver blunt trauma. Even if your a little off, you are still going to be doing some damage. Backfists are more a precision weapon with specific targets to create the damage.

    Both have their time and place and have different supporting strategies to use them.

    I have seen some people use their backfist in the same way that a boxer uses his jab. A quick distraction and/or setup technique. In fact, if you look at some jab variations they look VERY much like a jab but are slightly varied to be legal in boxing. I think it is called a swing jab.

    Any rate, backfists have alot of usages and methods as well when mastered.
     
  12. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    Considering that each requires a different method of execution based on position I can't see where a preference would make any difference on which one you chose to use.
    Sean
     
  13. IcemanSK

    IcemanSK El Conquistador nim!

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    I was going to say that a hammerfist would be more difficult to use because there is less surface area with which to make contact: therefore more of a precision weapon. But you are right, since there is more control with a backfist, it is more precise.
     
  14. Gordon Nore

    Gordon Nore Senior Master

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    Agreed. It's not an either-or choice. As someone said above, it will depend on the target and angle of attack. If I'm facing someone, I don't picture myself hammerfisting his nose. Conversely, if my attacker were down, with me just above, I don't see the back-fist coming into play.

    The thread got me to thinking about my black belt test, and I recall that towards the end, when I was about ready to cough up a lung, I had several people coming at me, and I was throwing hammerfists at them. I had a height advantage over most, my natural speed was gone, but I could grab and hit -- easier and faster to grab and hammer, then do other strikes perhaps.

    Mind you, my hammerfists were pretty much crap too.
     
  15. seasoned

    seasoned MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Both very fine weapons. Back fist is for soft sufaces and the hammer fist is for hard sufaces. Both can be used 360 degrees around our body.
     
  16. Aiki Lee

    Aiki Lee Master of Arts

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    I agree with pretty much everything that has been said here. Comparing a hammer fist with a back fist is like comparing a wrench and a hammer. They are different tools for different situations.
     
  17. Telfer

    Telfer Green Belt

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    Well the two most popular views are...

    1. That backfists are for soft targets and hammerfists are for hard targets...and I agree, as long as you can pick and choose. Against a competent boxer just landing any punch is difficult, never mind accuracy.

    You never see people breaking bricks with backfists.

    2. That the two strikes are completely different in terms of their angle of attack, and therefore there is no sense in comparing them...this vs. that.

    And there I dont agree because its the same arm motion for both.
    The only difference being a 90 degree twist of the wrist.

    When the Japan Karate Association's chief instructor Nakayama wrote his classic back in the 1960s he talked about both as if they are almost identical in the same paragraph.

    http://i50.tinypic.com/fcmyk5.jpg
     
  18. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    2) Depending on how the hammerfist is thrown. If I'm hitting down on the face/nose, then no, it will not be the same arm motion. If I'm throwing it outward towards the face, then yes, its just a matter of the wrist.

    As far as which is better...well, for me, I'd rather get the most bang for the buck. Choosing between both of those stirkes, I'll pick the hammerfist every time.
     
  19. xfighter88

    xfighter88 Blue Belt

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    Roll of Quarters
     
  20. Em MacIntosh

    Em MacIntosh 3rd Black Belt

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    With an unconditioned hand there's a psychological bonus to using the hammerfist over the backfist. There will be far less reluctance for beginners to hit much harder with it. The same is true but larger for those experienced. My backfist is much faster because of the way my body's usually aligned when I strike. When I strike really hard with my hammerfist it often becomes a forearm strike.123
     

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