I need a new fist

JowGaWolf

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
12,259
Reaction score
4,683
This is what I mean by Old Man Fist. Forgive the quality; I was eating dinner with the wife and reading MT on my tablet.

I won't presume to tell you how to punch; I know you have far more experience than I do. I mention for the sake of others who might read this that I tend to keep my hand semi-relaxed when punching, and to let the impact form the fist. I try to strike with the top two knuckles, wrist straight, fist angled ever so slightly downwards. I believe the fist JowGaWolf posted looks very much like the fist we use in Isshinryu.
I would be surprised if they aren't the same fist. Everything you have said about the fist that is used in Isshinryu applies to the way we make and use the fist in Jow Ga.
 

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
15,098
Reaction score
3,537
Location
Michigan
I would be surprised if they aren't the same fist. Everything you have said about the fist that is used in Isshinryu applies to the way we make and use the fist in Jow Ga.

It definitely seems that way to me.

I am not an expert at Isshinryu, nor am I an expert on the history of Isshinryu, but I understand that our founder, Shimabuku Tatsuo, started teaching the vertical fist to American students. He later was persuaded to change to the traditional 'twisting' punch seen in most other Okinawan styles, but later switched back to the vertical fist. He was convinced that it was a better way to strike with a fist. I would not want to argue with proponents of any other methods, but this is the way we do it today.

Many, however, understand that Isshinryu uses a vertical fist and assume we use it in a vertical orientation for all things; this is not quite right. We are taught to apply the fist where and in the manner that it fits best. So we may turn it at an angle one direction or another depending on the target we're striking. The thumb remains on top; the fist formation is the same.

The 'old man fist' I showed is NOT part of Isshinryu; let no one think that it is! This is a fist formation I have seen and tried myself; I find it effective. But it is not taught as part of Isshinryu. It's also how I do knuckle pushups, by the way!
 
OP
Gerry Seymour

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
28,533
Reaction score
9,496
Location
Hendersonville, NC
It definitely seems that way to me.

I am not an expert at Isshinryu, nor am I an expert on the history of Isshinryu, but I understand that our founder, Shimabuku Tatsuo, started teaching the vertical fist to American students. He later was persuaded to change to the traditional 'twisting' punch seen in most other Okinawan styles, but later switched back to the vertical fist. He was convinced that it was a better way to strike with a fist. I would not want to argue with proponents of any other methods, but this is the way we do it today.

Many, however, understand that Isshinryu uses a vertical fist and assume we use it in a vertical orientation for all things; this is not quite right. We are taught to apply the fist where and in the manner that it fits best. So we may turn it at an angle one direction or another depending on the target we're striking. The thumb remains on top; the fist formation is the same.

The 'old man fist' I showed is NOT part of Isshinryu; let no one think that it is! This is a fist formation I have seen and tried myself; I find it effective. But it is not taught as part of Isshinryu. It's also how I do knuckle pushups, by the way!
I've gone back and forth on vertical vs. twisting, myself. I eventually decided to go back to teaching the twisting punch early, as most students seem to develop better power early in their training that way. But I use several variations, and teach them as such after that basic first punch is working reasonably well.
 

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
15,098
Reaction score
3,537
Location
Michigan
I've gone back and forth on vertical vs. twisting, myself. I eventually decided to go back to teaching the twisting punch early, as most students seem to develop better power early in their training that way. But I use several variations, and teach them as such after that basic first punch is working reasonably well.

What I found when trying to work the twisting punch was that when the distance was judged correctly, the twisting punch was quite effective. However, if *I* failed to get the distance right and hit the target earlier or later than I intended, my first often was not rotated to the position I wanted it to be in and power was lost. That may be due to *me* and not the twisting punch. I also found, and again this may be on me, that the twisting punch seems to want to finish the twist so to speak at the target, rather than about three inches into the target. The vertical punch (for me) helps me to visualize striking through the surface when I strike.

I do have an example of a twisting punch used in Isshinryu, but not in the manner most twisting punches are used; when we deliver the so-called 'uppercut' our vertical fist turns as it rises to end up palm upwards at the target. This is a natural counter to a straight (tsuki) punch as well, as it 'rudders' the incoming punch and actually helps to lead the incoming upppercut right into the opponent's face. A great example of a punch being used to deflect (block) another punch, I love to use it.
 

JowGaWolf

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
12,259
Reaction score
4,683
Ah, now I see, you are sticking your thumb out. Don't do that. Oh, that is what you are complaining about.

I guess it depends on how far your thumb sticks out. And I don't have a photo of what I am talking about. But when I do what I mentioned to you, the thumb is protected no only by the part of the fingers closest to the knuckle, but the knuckles themselves. The knuckles are protected by the straight line back to the wrist, and up the radius. Is it possible your thumb isn't so much hitting the bag as the sudden stop is jarring the joint and causing the pain?

As to JowGaWolf's video, I would be worried that it would not protect the thumb, especially one that is already incapable of full movement and then might be required to compress more. Even the pointing of the index finger seems more dangerous to me that the way I was taught to use what we called the Dragon's Head Punch. We used the middle finger which didn't so much involve the thumb as it was curled under in a different way.

But JowGaWolf, I realize that often it has more to do with how one learns to make something work than endless bickering on a forum about what is best. If a technique works for the one using it, that is all that is necessary.
It protects the thumb. Some of the punches we do would break the thumb if a common fist was made. We strike with all sides of the fist so the thumb has be in a safe position. It's possible to strike with the thumb when it's in that position, but I wouldn't recommend it unless the proper hand and joint conditioning. I've done it once as a result of my fist not turning over fast enough, my thumb survived.

So we may turn it at an angle one direction or another depending on the target we're striking. The thumb remains on top; the fist formation is the same.
This is how I understand the fist as well. It turns the hand into a mace where all sides can be used for striking.

when we deliver the so-called 'uppercut' our vertical fist turns as it rises to end up palm upwards at the target. This is a natural counter to a straight (tsuki) punch as well, as it 'rudders' the incoming punch and actually helps to lead the incoming upppercut right into the opponent's face. A great example of a punch being used to deflect (block) another punch, I love to use it.
Do you hang outside of my school in the bushes lol. I think I know the technique that you are talking about. If it is then you are right, its a really nice punch. I definitely wouldn't want to get hit with it since it is literally "trading punches" with the exception that one punch interferes with the other punch and as a result creates an "unfair trade" lol.
 
OP
Gerry Seymour

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
28,533
Reaction score
9,496
Location
Hendersonville, NC
What I found when trying to work the twisting punch was that when the distance was judged correctly, the twisting punch was quite effective. However, if *I* failed to get the distance right and hit the target earlier or later than I intended, my first often was not rotated to the position I wanted it to be in and power was lost. That may be due to *me* and not the twisting punch. I also found, and again this may be on me, that the twisting punch seems to want to finish the twist so to speak at the target, rather than about three inches into the target. The vertical punch (for me) helps me to visualize striking through the surface when I strike.

I do have an example of a twisting punch used in Isshinryu, but not in the manner most twisting punches are used; when we deliver the so-called 'uppercut' our vertical fist turns as it rises to end up palm upwards at the target. This is a natural counter to a straight (tsuki) punch as well, as it 'rudders' the incoming punch and actually helps to lead the incoming upppercut right into the opponent's face. A great example of a punch being used to deflect (block) another punch, I love to use it.
Interesting. I'll have to take a "feel" at this when I'm at the heavy bag tonight. I suspect I have the same reaction (vis-a-vis timing and power) with the twisting punch, because I tend not to use it (instinctively) most of the time when sparring. If I have someone held for a moment while I fire a strike, though, I tend to use the twisting punch. Perhaps I've just instinctively come to the same conclusion you have.
 

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
15,098
Reaction score
3,537
Location
Michigan
It protects the thumb. Some of the punches we do would break the thumb if a common fist was made. We strike with all sides of the fist so the thumb has be in a safe position. It's possible to strike with the thumb when it's in that position, but I wouldn't recommend it unless the proper hand and joint conditioning. I've done it once as a result of my fist not turning over fast enough, my thumb survived.

I agree! If I may add, sometimes I intentionally extend the tip of the thumb, when I intent to use it for striking. I just lay it flat on top of the fist, tilt the fist a bit, and ram the thumb in; particularly for inside work on the ribs or to the side of the neck/head, etc. Short jabbing motions at close range, the tip of the thumb makes a very nice point of impact.

This is how I understand the fist as well. It turns the hand into a mace where all sides can be used for striking.

Indeed! I love the natural hook created by the base of the thumb when the fist is configured like this. A very nice surface for a traditional 'haito' strike, or if one wishes and the opportunity exists, as a curving attack to the back of the opponent's neck, using the 'hook' to bump the neck from behind. A dangerous technique when applied to the base of the skull, one must be cautious.

Do you hang outside of my school in the bushes lol. I think I know the technique that you are talking about. If it is then you are right, its a really nice punch. I definitely wouldn't want to get hit with it since it is literally "trading punches" with the exception that one punch interferes with the other punch and as a result creates an "unfair trade" lol.

I have always enjoyed exploring the bunkai of our kata and kihon. I'm far from a master, but I try to absorb what I can and learn to apply it effectively. So much of striking is also a sweep/deflection/block and vice-versa. It's all in there. One could explore for an entire lifetime and not get it all.
 

JP3

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2015
Messages
1,388
Reaction score
699
Location
Houston
I meant to say Bill Mattocks, for some reason the edit button won't work for me.
Supporting Member or not... the Edit button doesn't work for me, either. So, everyone's stuck with my typos when I get on a roll.

Apologies, all.
 

JP3

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2015
Messages
1,388
Reaction score
699
Location
Houston
I've been working more with open-hand strikes. I just can't find one I like nearly as well as a good set of knuckles for taking a shot at ribs when they are available, or for a liver punch, or a kidney punch. Up around the head, I'm pretty happy with open hands, but I get all "fisty" (well, that sounds dirty) when striking below the chest.
The work-around I came up with, which seems to work just fine (except that it is quite difficult to re-create a hooking action with a palm, ... but the ridge-hand (thumb-side) of the hand is perfect for it) is to simply "turn" my hand, as if it were on a clock face.

If you imagine the clock face, typically set up with 12 Noon upright, 6:00 at the bottom, for instance I'd rotate my right hand to around 3:00 to use the palmar surface against the opponents left side ribs... I've done it with my fingers down at 6:00 before on a descending strike to the lower ribs, hip check gut blaster, etc. Use the lef hand, turn fingers to 9:00 and you've got the liver blow. It works.
 

Balrog

Master of Arts
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
1,722
Reaction score
411
Location
Houston, TX
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
My only objection to that method is that it does expose the thumb. If you are working in close, there is a risk that the thumb can get caught in the other guy's clothing and when that happens.....oh, man, that hurts.
 

Brian King

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
MT Mentor
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Messages
1,612
Reaction score
487
Location
Bellevue, Washington USA
Sometimes, the fist 'feeling' looser unstable isn't necessarily the fist itself but more a function and feeling from the connective tissues between the elbow and wrist. It could be something as simple as whether you 'curl' from the little finger toward the thumb or from the index finger towards the little finger or from the middle finger outward. An experiment you might want to try gpseymour. Find a 'pull up' bar. Get a step if the bar is too tall so that you can reach it standing on your tip toes. Reach up with a single hand and grip the bar forming the grip on purpose and with the thought of exploration. Then slowly stretch your body and hang. Feel which muscle lines fire and twitch. Step down and then do it again after a moment with a grip that only changes from how you form it. Once you find the your lines you can explore how to strengthen and free them.
Regards
Brian King
 
Top