Fist Position - JDKC

crazydiamond

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As a new student to JKD Concepts I understand the different methods Jun Fan, Kali/Silat, even Muay Thai moves are all up for instruction.

So my question is about fist position, is vertical fist the goal in all punches (hook, cross, upper cut, etc)? Is it most important in the Jun Fan straight lead only. Or does it matter much and its more important to focus on the body mechanics of the punch in the beginning.

Sample video on this topic.

JKD Vertical Punch Vs Horizontal Punch - YouTube
 

K-man

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Not from a JKD background but just an observation. In this video he wasn't saying one is right and the other is wrong but the answer really is it depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you are striking with the bottom three knuckles as in WC or JKD you can really only do that effectively with a vertical fist. If you are striking with the top two knuckles as in karate then you can use either a vertical fist or a turned fist. I don't teach horizontal fist because as he says in the video, it causes the elbow to raise and that leads to all sorts of problems as he points out. I teach a 'natural' fist position that varies according to the target and especially the hight of the target.
:asian:
 

Transk53

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As a new student to JKD Concepts I understand the different methods Jun Fan, Kali/Silat, even Muay Thai moves are all up for instruction.

So my question is about fist position, is vertical fist the goal in all punches (hook, cross, upper cut, etc)? Is it most important in the Jun Fan straight lead only. Or does it matter much and its more important to focus on the body mechanics of the punch in the beginning.

Sample video on this topic.

JKD Vertical Punch Vs Horizontal Punch - YouTube

Personally I think it will come down to what you yourself feel comfortable with executing. Whether that is what feels natural or easily trained. People have differing skill sets and even if you train the same, things will still have subtle edge. Everybody should have a signature strike or punch, so I would concentrate on what is already there and nail it. whether that be a jab, hook or cross.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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is vertical fist the goal in all punches (hook, cross, upper cut, etc)?

The

- vertical fist can be a non-committed punch.
- horizontal punch is always a committed punch.

If your opponent is good on "elbow joint cracking", your vertical punch will be safer than your horizontal punch.
 

EddieCyrax

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Not from a JKD background but just an observation. In this video he wasn't saying one is right and the other is wrong but the answer really is it depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you are striking with the bottom three knuckles as in WC or JKD you can really only do that effectively with a vertical fist. If you are striking with the top two knuckles as in karate then you can use either a vertical fist or a turned fist. I don't teach horizontal fist because as he says in the video, it causes the elbow to raise and that leads to all sorts of problems as he points out. I teach a 'natural' fist position that varies according to the target and especially the hight of the target.
:asian:

Question...

On a vertical punch, what part of the hand are you striking with? Is it the bottom 3 knuckles? What structural support is their for the metacarpals if this is the case?

I obviously train Kempo and have been taught to strike with the top two knuckles as this provides structural support from the wrist/tibia/fibula protecting the hand from a (boxer's metacarpal break).

I have seen the vertical punch and am sure their are other body mechanics at play...
 

K-man

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Question...

On a vertical punch, what part of the hand are you striking with? Is it the bottom 3 knuckles? What structural support is their for the metacarpals if this is the case?

I obviously train Kempo and have been taught to strike with the top two knuckles as this provides structural support from the wrist/tibia/fibula protecting the hand from a (boxer's metacarpal break).

I have seen the vertical punch and am sure their are other body mechanics at play...
Likewise I was taught to use the top two knuckles with the thumb to support them. The first time I saw the vertical fist was in a George Dillman video from the early 90's so it has been around in Kempo for some time. You can strike straight with a small downward movement of the wrist or you can strike from below with a slight inflection to bring the bottom three into play. In the former it is a strike that can pass over your opponent's guard especially where you are punching with the front hand without pulling back to strike, same principle as the one inch punch and often ippon ken. I saw the same technique taught in Goju at the Jundokan.

Using the bottom three knuckles is really interesting as in theory it should be weak. Certainly I would not be striking a hard target that way although if the strike was using the entire platform there may well be enough structural strength. Risk is the target moves and you just connect with the lower knuckle. I did that many years back and broke the bone. But against a soft target using the lower platform works really well. I actually picked up an interesting variation of the technique from WC called 'cotton fist', that I now teach. The fist is not clenched but loosely closed. It is as if you were holding a handful of cotton wool. You can punch with full force very quickly because there is no tension in your arm. It is most important to keep the alignment of wrist and forearm to stop the wrist collapsing.
:asian:
 

Thunder Foot

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Whichever you choose, I think the most important thing is the conditioning of the striking surface. Because without it, the hand will certainly fracture on a hard surface or worse. :)
 

geezer

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In WC the basic straight punch is of course vertical with contact spread across the "bottom-fist" or lower three knuckles. And contrary to what many think, this is a very strong and natural alignment. Using a relaxed fist feather than a tight fist actually helps when hitting harder targets. The effect is like striking with a soft leather sack full of heavy ball-bearings (the knuckles).

We also use a hooking punch with a horizontal fist, and a "lifting punch" somewhat like an uppercut, that naturally uses a horizontal fist with the thumb-side up. Finally in response to EddieCyrax's comment, about using the top two knuckles: with a WC straight punch that can be counter productive with higher level shots. Typically with a straight-punch the "top-fist" aligns better with lower level shots to targets like the lower abdomen, or bladder. In that situation, the top knuckles or even the "phoenix eye fist" is brought into play

Now I'm not a JKD practitioner, but I'm pretty sure that these are all tools that would be in a Jun-Fan/JKD toolbox. Or maybe not?
 

Thunder Foot

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If we take a look at Bruce Lee's fighting method books as well l as his Commentaries on the Martial Way, we can see that the vertical fist is his preferred punching method. This is analogous to the horizontal hook position as well. Bruce obtained these methods from his Wing Chun training.

The horizontal fist stems from Inosanto's training with Muay Thai, Savate, among other things outside of what Bruce was doing.
 

Transk53

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Thunder Foot said:
The horizontal fist stems from Inosanto's training with Muay Thai, Savate, among other things outside of what Bruce was doing.

Looking for to my classes again as my instructor is at the Academy now.
 

Thunder Foot

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Transk, for further info on the vertical punch and it's effectiveness, I'd like to refer you to this thread HERE. It has a link to a book by Welsh boxer Jim Driscoll, whom Bruce studied to help refine his straight punches.
Some really good info there, give it a read.
 

Transk53

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Transk, for further info on the vertical punch and it's effectiveness, I'd like to refer you to this thread HERE. It has a link to a book by Welsh boxer Jim Driscoll, whom Bruce studied to help refine his straight punches.
Some really good info there, give it a read.

Thank you. I will when I get home tonight.
 

Gung Fu Man

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I believe that the vertical fist structure is much stronger than the horizontal. If you hold your fist in the horizontal position, you will notice that the shoulder opens up and your arm is sort of "hanging out there ". With the vertical position the shoulder joint is closed which puts the arm closer to the body. Punch a heavy bag with both and youwill notice the difference. Bruce Lee combined this strong structure (from Wing Chun) with the body mechanics of boxing, along with the footwork of fencing to create a unique punching method. The JKD lead punch (which Lee refered to as the backbone of all punching in JKD ) puts the strong side forward which is the total opposite of boxing, but can be a devastating punch, as it combines the speed of the jab with power of the cross. It's a shame that more JKD teachers don't teach this punch. To me I don't see how they can call it JKD if they don't teach it, but that's another story.

Of course ,the horizontal fist works. It's used in boxing matches every week all over the world. However, if you are not wearing gloves, as in a self defense situation, I think the vertical fist is a stronger structure. Try it, you'll like it.
 

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