Keeping your hands up.

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Pedantix, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. Pedantix

    Pedantix Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Missoula, MT
    I have trained in martial arts for a couple of years now, and the place I train we do multiple martial arts including Bushidokan Karate, Judo, Jujitsu, Boxing/Kickboxing, and Ronin Goshin Jutsu (which is a street self defense and weapons disarming/tactics art). I hesitate to say that we do MMA because, although we incorporate what we learn from each art into the others, we train in each Separate art as opposed to one "mixed bag" art, which I feel has become synonymous with MMA (no offense if you train MMA, I'm just making a point to further expand upon my question).

    I really enjoy watching and learning from other arts as I feel that each has its own strengths and weaknesses and alot of them compliment each other nicely. I hold no art form above another or think that one is superior for any particular reason. That being said, I have a question.

    As we do incorporate what we learn from each art into the others and as we have an emphasis on kickboxing (at least for the sport side of our training), one thing that we are told on a very regular basis and that is pounded into our head over and over and over again is "Keep your hands up!". Protect your head at all times (I'm speaking mostly about sport training, but even in street self defense situations where we use mainly karate strikes, unless of course there is a weapon or something involved and you have to resort to other means, as street situations require an extreme level of adaptability). But for the most part we always keep our hands up. Now, we do katas and such and I understand that certain techniques have specific hand movements that accompany them, but when we are training on a bag or shadow boxing or sparring, its Always hands at temples if not being thrown, and directly back afterwards.

    So my question is, and of course I only know what I've seen and learned from observation so forgive my ignorance, how come when I watch alot of sparring videos or demos the hands seem to be more worried about the next strike then protection. Specifically I seem to see this alot in TKD. Now don't get me wrong, I really respect you TKD guys, you have some of the most amazing kicks I've seen (and felt, lol) and some of the best fighters I know train in that art, but it seems that the hand protecting the head is just not common place among the sport. Same with alot of karate matches I see (although I know that with karate they keep the stance at a position as to keep there head hopefully out of reach and there hand cocked and ready to deliver a strike, and maybe its the same with TKD and similar arts). I understand that these are primarily point fighting systems and so maybe the hands are felt more necessary for balance than protection, but when we train our kicks (which are mostly karate kicks), we are still told to always keep our hands up and to force ourselves to learn to keep our balance during our techniques while staying protected.

    It seems to me that when you throw kicks in the traditional manner during sparring or competition, you are leaving an opportunity for your opponent to step in and crown the kick and get a free head shot if you are not protected. We had a TKD guy from Texas come up and spar with us the other day and, although he had amazing kicks and literally kicked my butt (he was damn good), it seemed to me that if I could get around his kicks and get in close I would have an open target (that only happened about once the whole time because he was so quick, but had I been a better fighter or had better timing I think that could have left him fairly vulnerable).

    So I'm not trying to poke holes in anybodies system and I didn't mean to call out Karate and TKD specifically, those are just the sports I've seen the most of, but I would really like to know what you guys think about this. Is it just a balance thing, and do you think it really adds more power? And if so, does it add enough more power to the extent that it makes up for leaving an opening for your opponent? Thanks for your replies!!!
     
  2. Em MacIntosh

    Em MacIntosh 3rd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    Messages:
    917
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Lynn Valley, North Vancouver, BC, CA
    Most of my experience is with karate. We used to hold mugs of water and kick without spilling any. As we progressed we would kick harder and/or add more water. The idea is to teach muscular independence. That was the idea I trained with when keeping my hands up. This teaches the muscular memory not to rely on the hands for balance (as much).

    In kickboxing I see a lot of people counterbalancing their right roundhouse kick by dropping their right arm. We were taught that that's a bad habit...better to keep your hands up, use your torso's torque rather than compensate for it and just find the center of balance that caters to the action, then practice it until you get good at it.

    Alternatively, keeping your hands down can be an excellent lead and aids deception as long as you know what you're doing (and have very fast hands) but as soon as the tussle starts the hands come up.

    I've personally found no benefit to the chambered punch despite it being the main staple of my primary style. I prefer the sweet science.
    IMO, good TKD teaches you to keep your hands up, even if you never throw a punch.
     
  3. Pedantix

    Pedantix Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Missoula, MT
    Thanks for the response. The kicking with a cup of water is a really interesting idea, something I may take up practicing when I'm doing my kicks outside the gym.

    As far as the keeping the hands down as deception, the TKD guy I mentioned in my post did that alot and really threw me off (like I said he kicked my butt) so I guess I can't knock it, although I prefer to keep my hands up and moving, which is maybe not As deceptive, but you never know when someones gunna sneak in a strike. Better safe than sorry (or knocked out), I figure.

    You said "good TKD teaches you to keep your hands up" (i don't know how to do the quote thing in a post, ;p), is that a matter of different styles of TKD? or is it just more of a teaching preference?
    Thanks again!
     
  4. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    3,827
    Likes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Australia
    *nods
     
  5. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

    Top Poster Of Month

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Messages:
    26,873
    Likes Received:
    4,387
    Trophy Points:
    308
    Location:
    England
    Make it beer and you really will try hard!

    In karate I was always taught to keep my hands up, it was almost a mantra..hands up, hands up!
     
  6. jedtx88

    jedtx88 Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2011
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    I've been kicking with a cup of coffee for five minutes now. My TKD instructor encourages you to keep you hand up at all times when fighting, often with a good jab. I have noticed that in the Texas AOK tournaments alot of people fight with their hands down over their junk so as not to take a groin shot when kicking. Perhaps they should just kick faster.
     
  7. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Messages:
    30,187
    Likes Received:
    426
    Trophy Points:
    208
    Location:
    Cromwell,CT
    I think alot of it comes down to the rule set. IMO though, I like to follow the mantra of "You fight like you train" so, if you're using bad habits in training, chances are you'll fall back on those same bad habits when its the wrong time. OTOH, no matter how you hold your hands, you're not going to be 100% covered 100% of the time, but IMO, you'd stand a better chance of blocking something, as well as counter striking, if your hands are up, rather than down.
     
  8. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    1,912
    Likes Received:
    440
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Germany
    Hi Pedantix

    It's driven by the rules of the game. Olympic Sport Taekwondo is a game, and the rules of the game drive the behaviour in the ring, for better or worse. The rules dictate that punches to the face are not allowed, only kicks.

    The most common scoring technique in the game is a bichagi (midsection roundhouse), strings of which can be thrown at a speed of around 3-4 per second. Therefore, hands down for blocking and force redirection purposes, with the focus on evasion before blocking; to the point where even an effective blocker gets scored against because blocking just not used that often. Kicks taken against the blocking arms still make a good noise, and are often still scored when electronic scoring equipment is not used, as the judges can't always see what the foot contacts with.

    Kicks to the face are allowed, but most players don't guard the face by default because experience of playing the game allows a good player to get their hands into the high section before the opponents kick gets there. The bread and butter techniques are low, so the bread and butter blocking is also low. Those who do block high potentially get scored against at a rate of 3-4 roundhouses per second. Game over pretty fast, seen it happen to some first timers.

    The Olympic sport is however a small facet of the martial art Taekwondo, used to sharpen timing, kicking agility and so on. In any situation other than this game, hands are well and truly up and busy. Taekwondo consists of more hand techniques than it does kicks. I do agree that you'll do what you train, but there's more to TKD training than just this game. A well rounded school also focuses on Hosinsul (direct progressive self defence, incorporating whatever means necessary e.g. Sweeps, Throws, Vital Point targeting), Poomsae (Patterns and their applications), Step sparring (as a formal mode of developing SD techniques), Kyokpa (destruction for power development), and Specialisms (e.g. Knife / Groundwork / Pressure Points / First Aid / Weapons / Flexibility)

    Further discussion welcome :)

    Gnarlie
     
  9. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Gander
    "Hands up" is secondary to "Don't get hit". Hands being diligently by your chin will not stop you getting hit.
     
  10. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    3,827
    Likes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Australia
    In fact, I find it to be a great way of increasing the distance between Your Hands, and the Leg of some guy who doesnt like Your Legs.
    Additionally, being pushed by Your Guard isnt exactly uncommon, let alone the Takedowns possible if You adopt a Helmet Guard or something.
     
  11. Indie12

    Indie12 Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I've been involved with Olympic Style and Combat Tae Kwon Do for several years. Let me add this:

    1. Keeping the hands up during olympic style sparring, actually enables more speed in the kicks. It's almost as though you increase velocity and speed by not having your hands up. Although, it does vary by Tae Kwon Do kwan and system.

    2. Keeping your hands up, I've found is a personal or systematic preference. For example, in boxing your hands are always up to guard, counter, and protect your midsection/face.

    @ Gnarlie, which form of Tae Kwon Do are you referencing too when you say "tae kwon do uses more hand techniques, then kicks?" "Kukkiwon" or WTF Tae Kwon Do uses more kicks then hand strikes, while ITF Tae Kwon Do uses more hand strikes, then kicks (generally).
     
  12. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Gander
    Exactly, you get what I'm saying.

    I only preach "hands up" to students new to full contact. I'm very concerned with the idea of developing a "fight IQ" and IMO mantras like "hands up" only hinder that. My students have very different fighting stances as well, people question it but it works excellently.
     
  13. Indie12

    Indie12 Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I've also found that usually it's personal preference!
     
  14. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    1,912
    Likes Received:
    440
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Germany
    I'm referencing KKW TKD. The amount of focus on WTF style sport sparring varies from school to school, but certainly in KKW TKD there are more hand strikes than kicks, especially in schools where the emphasis is on SD and the martial aspect rather than sport.
     
  15. chinto

    chinto Senior Master

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2007
    Messages:
    2,026
    Likes Received:
    35
    Trophy Points:
    108
    hands up near the chin is actually at least for one hand. reflex to get the elbow down to protect your lower ribs is very very fast... but i do not always fallow that rule. experiance will teach you when to do things
     
  16. Black Belt Jedi

    Black Belt Jedi Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Toronto, Ont. Canada
    I've been taught over and over again to keep my hands up when throwing kicks in Karate. If you drop one hand that means you are wide open to get punched in the face. It is very important to have that body memory in sparring no matter what Martial Art discipline you are doing.
     
  17. Pedantix

    Pedantix Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Missoula, MT
    Thank you for all your responses thus far. It's nice to have found a place where people can discuss the Martial Arts in a civilized manner without every single post turning into an argument or a "my style is better than yours" rant (as seems to be the case on some other forums I tried out recently before finding this place).

    It seems to be the general consensus that keeping the hands up is more of a preference, which I agree with, as no one style or form works for everybody and in my opinion MA is about being adaptable and comfortable in yourself and in your movements. I do though, at least from a kickboxing standpoint, think it is easier to get arms down to protect your mid section than up to protect your chin. And I would rather take a strong shot to the ribs than the jaw any day. But I also understand (more so now with your guys' help) that in some competitions its just not that necessary. Also in street app, who knows what will happen, so you can never bank on one thing or another.

    Anyway, I didn't really add anything useful with this post, :p, but wanted to say thanks for all the feedback!
     
  18. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    3,827
    Likes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Australia
    Yeah, the only stuff We argue about is much more offhand :)

    The only area where I perhaps think its good to Train Hands Down, is since in most Fights, You dont have a chance to raise them.
     
  19. Pedantix

    Pedantix Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Missoula, MT
    this is true. and when we train street self defense and survival tactics, its much more about situational response. but in a sport setting, where both you and your opponent are going into it aware of the situation and rules, you have that chance to protect yourself. might as well make good use of it. (of course from the preceding responses it sounds even in sport it is situational)
     
  20. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2011
    Messages:
    9,873
    Likes Received:
    6,360
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Maui
    Once the fight has started, the hands go up and stay up. If they don't, neither do you.123
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

keep hands up in tkd

,

keeping hands up