Open Handed Techniques and Broken Fingers

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Em MacIntosh, May 22, 2007.

  1. Em MacIntosh

    Em MacIntosh 3rd Black Belt

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    Just wondering about people's views on this. In our karate class we do our knife-hand, palm-heel and ridge hand with our fingers outstretched. I keep my fingers out during class but prefer to keep the fingers half tucked during any breaking, sparring or other application. My concern is broken fingers. I've heard peolpe insist either way. Anybody?
     
  2. bushidomartialarts

    bushidomartialarts Senior Master

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    The slight curl vs. straight fingers isn't as important as keeping them all together. It's when you've got the one pinky or thumb sticking out all on its lonesome that you're going to break something.

    Also, never use a spear hand on an actual target.
     
  3. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Well they do work but you have to target soft target areas. (generally)
     
  4. Chizikunbo

    Chizikunbo Purple Belt

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    Agree 100%

    Why not? They work just fine when properly placed, for instrance the solar plexus...It makes no sense to train in somthing not usable. Also think of the real application. For instance the spear hand in Pinan Sandan (Pyong Ahn Samdan) its not what it looks like ;-)
    --josh
    --josh
     
  5. Em MacIntosh

    Em MacIntosh 3rd Black Belt

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    I should double my fingertip push-ups. Keeping them together helps for knife and ridge hand but they don't reinforce each other in a palm heel. It'd really hurt my feelings to catch a finger on a jacket or intercepting limb. Any particular reasons you guys can see for keeping them out rather than tucked?
     
  6. Em MacIntosh

    Em MacIntosh 3rd Black Belt

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    I'd never rule out a spear hand but I'd only consider it a close range trachea strike which I'd probably substitute a palm heel for (or fist for that matter).
     
  7. bushidomartialarts

    bushidomartialarts Senior Master

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    The trouble with spear hands is nobody trains for them properly anymore. We're not spending an hour a day sticking them into sand and gravel. Hand conditioning of the sort folk used to do would ruin our hands for typing, videogames, writing.

    Soft targets are better than hard targets, but you can get nearly the same effect with a sword hand or middle knuckle strike. Risk vs. reward, guys.
     
  8. Chizikunbo

    Chizikunbo Purple Belt

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    Palm strikes are called Pyung Sool in korean, and pyung sool are always done with the fingers spread apart. This is due to a concept called Sahl Li Ki which in a nutshell refers to the spreading of the fingers to bring Ki into the hands. It produces a different type of tension than is apparent in a fist.

    A particular karate master has said that fists are agressive, and hands are peaceful. Open hands are multi functional for grabbing, striking, parries etc. etc. Which is just a side note.
    hope this helps,
    --josh
     
  9. Em MacIntosh

    Em MacIntosh 3rd Black Belt

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    'preciate it.
     
  10. tellner

    tellner Senior Master

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    Real Iron Palm training should only be done under careful supervision by someone who has some serious experience and qualifications. You can **** yourself up big time and permanently by doing it wrong. Traumatic arthritis is no joke. Think about it. You're not the Emperor's Bodyguard who has nothing to live for but being a Living Weapon. You're a 21st century city-dweller who needs those hands for typing, playing the piano and tying your children's shoe laces.

    Anyway, concerning palm heel strikes, they have definite advantages. I'd much rather hit someone in the head with one of those than with my fist. You don't lose that much range, and if you're punching correctly there will be plenty of power. If you're arm-punching you need to go back to class and practice more :)

    Leaving the fingers apart is just asking to get one broken. I find I have much a much more relaxed strike with less antagonism between the muscles when the fingers are curled. If you look at the classics like Fairbairn and Applegate you'll see that they taught it pretty much that way. Their record in the real world speaks for itself.
     
  11. Em MacIntosh

    Em MacIntosh 3rd Black Belt

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    I haven't broke anything except my finger in junior high (and of course, my nose.) but maybe I should quit while I'm ahead. My studies will take me there (Iron Palm Training) eventualy. What I'm calling Iron palm training consisted of cinderblocks, a patio block, a canvas sack of small round stones with the top folded over twice and a bottle of dit da jow. I let my hand fall on it 5 times with the back of my hand, bottom then palm. I'm backing off the makiwara too (once or twice a week to scratch the knuckles a little I think is okay though). What I really need is a good canvas heavy bag. I can't put one up in my place though. I should just cave and buy a membership to a local gym.

    Thank you for your wisdom.
     
  12. Steel Tiger

    Steel Tiger Senior Master

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    I have to generally agree on all these points. Coming from bagua where the palm is the primary weapon (done with the fingers out straight always), I have noticed some useful things. The palm is very easy to use and can be used in different ways (there are eight different "palms" is bagua, for different purposes). It is a natural striking motion which can be a straight thrust, a push, a round slap, or even an uppercut motion. And there is less likelihood of an injury due to slightly incorrect technique.

    As to Iron Palm style training, I wouldn't get too carried away with it. The only person I have met who practiced dilligently had almost immobile hands and had lost much touch sensitivity.
     
  13. Em MacIntosh

    Em MacIntosh 3rd Black Belt

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    Thanks again.
     
  14. frank raud

    frank raud Master Black Belt

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    Fairbairn also insisted on a flagged thumb, as he believed the strikes would be faster without having a tensed hand and forearm.
     
  15. ChingChuan

    ChingChuan Blue Belt

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    My instructor always insists that we bend our fingers a little bit... I told him once that I'd practised open handed strikes (uh, how are they called? A strike with all your fingers outstretched) and then he explained to me how it's properly done you basically curl your thumb and then the fingers are automatically in the right position.
     
  16. Doc_Jude

    Doc_Jude 3rd Black Belt

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    That and it facilitates quick grapples and things like that. When I have an open hand and a spread thumb, I tighten the pinkie/ring/middle fingers upon impact.
     
  17. FieldDiscipline

    FieldDiscipline 2nd Black Belt

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    Couldnt have put it better myself.
     
  18. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    This is how I do it, too. But since some fellow posters whom I greatly respect offer different advice, I went back to a couple of sources on the old timers/experts using this tech. Applegate says: 'Note how the fingers are spread apart, giving the palm rigidity' (Kill or get killed, 22--with illustration), and Richard Dimitri in Loren Christiansen's Fighter's fact book 2, shows/explains several examples of 'The Shredder' with fingers/thumb spread (261ff).
     
  19. Steel Tiger

    Steel Tiger Senior Master

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    Interesting quote. The essential bagua palm has the fingers slightly spread in a relax manner. The quote actually reminded me of a fellow at the first school I went to. a big fellow, he was practicing a Tiger claw technique on some heavy focus mitts. Double strikes with the tips of of his fingers with a claw-shaped hand. It was genuinely frightening. I figure he could have taken skin off with one of those strikes.
     
  20. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    Good to know.
    This, as Doc Jude said also in passing, is the other part to open fingers: the follow up options, whether grabs, gouges, or rips like the big man you mention.

    I've also found that such a 'rip' even in *missing* the target, and, say, catching an arm, can turn the opponent so his back is now facing you. After that it's gravy. :)123
     

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