I need a new fist

Gerry Seymour

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I'm running into a problem in my own training, and hoping someone here has some suggestions. This only shows up working on the heavy bag with bare hands (my personal preference). I have some arthritis in the base of my left thumb (the knuckle where it meets the hand). Because of this, my left thumb doesn't fold in quite as far as the right. Until recently, this has been irrelevant. Lately, though, it seems to have reached a point where the thumb doesn't fold down far enough. When I hit a heavy bag (bare-handed) with even moderate force, I sometimes feel the bent point of the thumb making contact with the bag as the bag compresses around the fist. In and of itself, it's not a problem during training. The next day, however, the knuckle is very tender from the repeated pushing in.

So, I'm wondering if there's another way to make a fist that would be better suited to that arthritic knuckle. I make what I'd consider the most common fist - the thumb wraps around, folds across the first two fingers, like this:
upload_2017-6-21_12-30-15.jpeg


I've seen other fists; I think I remember someone in Ryukyu Kempo using one with the thumb compressed on top (on the side of the first finger). I'm wondering if any of them will alleviate the problem (knowing which one would let me look for someone to teach it to me), or if I just need to settle for open-hand strikes on that side.
 

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I'm running into a problem in my own training, and hoping someone here has some suggestions. This only shows up working on the heavy bag with bare hands (my personal preference). I have some arthritis in the base of my left thumb (the knuckle where it meets the hand). Because of this, my left thumb doesn't fold in quite as far as the right. Until recently, this has been irrelevant. Lately, though, it seems to have reached a point where the thumb doesn't fold down far enough. When I hit a heavy bag (bare-handed) with even moderate force, I sometimes feel the bent point of the thumb making contact with the bag as the bag compresses around the fist. In and of itself, it's not a problem during training. The next day, however, the knuckle is very tender from the repeated pushing in.

So, I'm wondering if there's another way to make a fist that would be better suited to that arthritic knuckle. I make what I'd consider the most common fist - the thumb wraps around, folds across the first two fingers, like this:
View attachment 20836

I've seen other fists; I think I remember someone in Ryukyu Kempo using one with the thumb compressed on top (on the side of the first finger). I'm wondering if any of them will alleviate the problem (knowing which one would let me look for someone to teach it to me), or if I just need to settle for open-hand strikes on that side.
gloves ?
 
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Gerry Seymour

Gerry Seymour

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Gloves change the interaction with the bag. I've been using them more because of that thumb, but the feedback is very different. If I don't find a way to use that fist bare-handed, gloves will be the only way I can hit the bag with my left fist. I'd live with that, but hoping there may be other alternatives.
 

jobo

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Gloves change the interaction with the bag. I've been using them more because of that thumb, but the feedback is very different. If I don't find a way to use that fist bare-handed, gloves will be the only way I can hit the bag with my left fist. I'd live with that, but hoping there may be other alternatives.
I dont make a fist like the picture, I fold my thumb on top of top finger, that's not developed, that just how I do it
 

Touch Of Death

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I'm running into a problem in my own training, and hoping someone here has some suggestions. This only shows up working on the heavy bag with bare hands (my personal preference). I have some arthritis in the base of my left thumb (the knuckle where it meets the hand). Because of this, my left thumb doesn't fold in quite as far as the right. Until recently, this has been irrelevant. Lately, though, it seems to have reached a point where the thumb doesn't fold down far enough. When I hit a heavy bag (bare-handed) with even moderate force, I sometimes feel the bent point of the thumb making contact with the bag as the bag compresses around the fist. In and of itself, it's not a problem during training. The next day, however, the knuckle is very tender from the repeated pushing in.

So, I'm wondering if there's another way to make a fist that would be better suited to that arthritic knuckle. I make what I'd consider the most common fist - the thumb wraps around, folds across the first two fingers, like this:
View attachment 20836

I've seen other fists; I think I remember someone in Ryukyu Kempo using one with the thumb compressed on top (on the side of the first finger). I'm wondering if any of them will alleviate the problem (knowing which one would let me look for someone to teach it to me), or if I just need to settle for open-hand strikes on that side.
Well, this will probably hurt more, but if you are a two lead knuckle hitter, you just constantly fold and unfold a fist, starting with the index finger, then the next, then the next. The thumb doesn't have to be involved but the final step is to close the thumb and, unwind. Try it. Do it all the time. You should loosen up.
 
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Gerry Seymour

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I dont make a fist like the picture, I fold my thumb on top of top finger, that's not developed, that just how I do it
I'm having trouble picturing that. Any chance you can find me a picture? And do you know of any styles that use that routinely?
 
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Gerry Seymour

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Well, this will probably hurt more, but if you are a two lead knuckle hitter, you just constantly fold and unfold a fist, starting with the index finger, then the next, then the next. The thumb doesn't have to be involved but the final step is to close the thumb and, unwind. Try it. Do it all the time. You should loosen up.
I'll give that a shot, but I have doubts, since it's a joint issue and not a tension issue. I'm going off what I discussed with my physical therapist when we were working on my arthritic toe, to try to free up that joint capsule. There was some loss of flexibility there, but the capsule was the larger issue. Maybe some exercise will gain me a few degrees of movement, though, which would probably solve the problem at hand.
 

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I've seen other fists; I think I remember someone in Ryukyu Kempo using one with the thumb compressed on top (on the side of the first finger). I'm wondering if any of them will alleviate the problem (knowing which one would let me look for someone to teach it to me), or if I just need to settle for open-hand strikes on that side.
Bill and I use the fist that you are describing here. l like this fist better than the common way of making a fist. In my opinion it creates a better fist to strike with. Give it a try
 
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Gerry Seymour

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Bill and I use the fist that you are describing here. l like this fist better than the common way of making a fist. In my opinion it creates a better fist to strike with. Give it a try
I need to find someone to get me started right on this. I have tried it out and it feels...loose. When I move the thumb to the top, the meaty base of the thumb moves away from the forefinger, leaving slack there. I feel the result in my middle knuckle when I punch.
 

Touch Of Death

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I'll give that a shot, but I have doubts, since it's a joint issue and not a tension issue. I'm going off what I discussed with my physical therapist when we were working on my arthritic toe, to try to free up that joint capsule. There was some loss of flexibility there, but the capsule was the larger issue. Maybe some exercise will gain me a few degrees of movement, though, which would probably solve the problem at hand.
Well, the idea of this exercise, is to take away the need to make a whole fist, and you can safely touch people in the face with those first two knuckle, with positive results, and you just live with that. You aren't getting any younger, and a modified weapon will have to do, but it is not the end of the world.
 
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Gerry Seymour

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Well, the idea of this exercise, is to take away the need to make a whole fist, and you can safely touch people in the face with those first two knuckle, with positive results, and you just live with that. You aren't getting any younger, and a modified weapon will have to do, but it is not the end of the world.
Hmm...then I'm not understanding the recommendation, TOD.
 

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I'm having trouble visualizing your problem. I was taught to make a fist as you showed, but with the first knuckle in a line vertically and horizontally with the radius. That should protect your thumb from being involved with the hit unless you have incredibly powerful punches or the bag is extremely soft. What am I missing.
 

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How about you place your hand on a hard surface. Like doing a knuckle push up and just see what feels comfortable to you.
Touch of death is correct. You really don't need the thumb for the punch. If this is your lead hand I would look into the wing chun front punch like bruce lee used to do. It's a vertical fist rather than horizontal.
 
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Gerry Seymour

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I'm saying who cares about the thumb? You don't need it.
I'm not sure how to get the thumb out of the way, other than to curl it up against the fingers. I'll have to play with it a bit when I get back to the bag tomorrow, but it looks like an un-collected thumb is still going to hit the bag at compression.
 

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I need to find someone to get me started right on this. I have tried it out and it feels...loose. When I move the thumb to the top, the meaty base of the thumb moves away from the forefinger, leaving slack there. I feel the result in my middle knuckle when I punch.
It may feel loose because you are used to having your thumb wrapped around your fingers. The mechanics for you making this fist may be a little off. When you make this kind of fist it will feel like your fingers are pressing inward against the middle finger, which keeps everything tight. This is how we teach beginners to make the fist. Ignore the single knuckle fist. You'll know when your fist is correct because the back of the hand will be nice and flat, you should see some good alignment of the bones in the hand. If the there is a curve in the back of the hand then you are probably curling in your pinky finger. Relax that finger until there is no curve in the back of the hand.
 

Touch Of Death

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I'm not sure how to get the thumb out of the way, other than to curl it up against the fingers. I'll have to play with it a bit when I get back to the bag tomorrow, but it looks like an un-collected thumb is still going to hit the bag at compression.
I am talking more about punching people; so, the bag is gonna be the bag, and get your thumb. but people, not so much.
 
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Gerry Seymour

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I'm having trouble visualizing your problem. I was taught to make a fist as you showed, but with the first knuckle in a line vertically and horizontally with the radius. That should protect your thumb from being involved with the hit unless you have incredibly powerful punches or the bag is extremely soft. What am I missing.
Straighten your thumb somewhat (mine doesn't bend reliably anymore), and you'll find it starts to protrude just past the surface of the fist. That tip of the thumb is what's transmitting impact into the arthritic knuckle.

Besides that, I do have super-human punches. I hit like a steam engine. No, really. It's like getting punched by the Hulk. That's my story and I'm sticking to it...until someone makes me prove it, then I'll have to come up with a new one.
 

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