Spear Hand Strike Breaking

Kaden Eyre

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I am planning on performing a spear hand strike in my next board breaking competition. The last time I performed this break, my fingernails shattered, and I bled a whole lot lol. In this competition, taping the fingers is not an option, but I'm trying to figure out how to keep myself from injury. My hand and fingers are conditioned, but I can't think of a way to protect my nails. Does anyone have any ideas or things they have tried to prevent hurting your fingernails?

Thanks in advance :)
 

skribs

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I would reconsider it.

If you really want to do it, then clip your nails, and don't strike with your nails. Strike with the fingertips.
 

J. Pickard

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I used to do spear hand breaking because it looked impressive. What I would always try to do was bend in my middle finger so that my index, middle, and ring fingers were all in line so the impact was more spread out and hurt less. I haven't done it in about 13 years though since I have decided spear hands are much better to use against soft targets like the eyes and I also need my fingers to keep their dexterity . Maybe consider a different technique or do a LOT of finger tip training and prepare to loose some finger dexterity.
 

WaterGal

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I'm with Bill here. I've heard too many stories about people doing this break and breaking their fingers instead of the board.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I'm with this guy. Um....what?
I don't have any medical proof on this. But this is pretty much a common sense in MA training that to use your

- heel to hit on the hard ground can damage your brain.
- finger tips to strike on the hard surface can damage your eyes.

In the Zimen system, you "rest" your finger tips on a piece of metal board. IMO, that training is much safer.

In the following iron palm training clip, at 1.53 and 2.13 that you use your finger tips to strike on the bag is the one I don't recommend.

 

skribs

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I don't have any medical proof on this. But this is pretty much a common sense in MA training that to use your

- heel to hit on the hard ground can damage your brain.
- finger tips to strike on the hard surface can damage your eyes.
This is the first time I have heard either of these. I've also broken numerous boards with my heel, and never suffered any concussive effects. There's a big difference between slamming on the unyielding ground and breaking a board.

If there is some path the energy takes to go from your fingertips to your eyes, I'm sure that same path would exist for the knuckles in a punch, or from a palm or elbow strike.

I would definitely need to hear something, even something anecdotal, to connect a fingertip strike with eye damage. The only connection I've seen is if your fingertips strike someone in the eyes.
 

dvcochran

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I am planning on performing a spear hand strike in my next board breaking competition. The last time I performed this break, my fingernails shattered, and I bled a whole lot lol. In this competition, taping the fingers is not an option, but I'm trying to figure out how to keep myself from injury. My hand and fingers are conditioned, but I can't think of a way to protect my nails. Does anyone have any ideas or things they have tried to prevent hurting your fingernails?

Thanks in advance :)
I have done this break but it has been a while. If you are having this much trouble with it, I would advise more preparation, practice, and conditioning. It sounds like you may be hitting the board wrong, pulling your fingertip/nail across the board. Or just had long nails jamming into the break.
Preparation in having your nails trimmed short.
Conditioning in having your hands and fingers calloused.
Practice in hitting with the tip/inside part of the finger.
This is part of what makes the break difficult since you are essentially hitting the end of a bone. A bone which is not very big.
Bead bags and shot-put balls are good tools for conditioning.

All that said, I strongly encourage you to change breaks.
 
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JowGaWolf

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Dirty Dog

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I don't have any medical proof on this. But this is pretty much a common sense in MA training that to use your

- heel to hit on the hard ground can damage your brain.
- finger tips to strike on the hard surface can damage your eyes.
Um, no. If I hit you with my heel, it's going to hurt YOU, in the place I kicked. If it hurts me, I'm doing it wrong.
If I do a spear hand strike it's going to hurt YOU, in the place that I struck. If it hurts me, I'm doing it wrong.
In either case, I am including doing it without proper training and conditioning in the definition of "wrong".

Tp the OP... have you actually been trained to do a spear hand strike? If so, please describe how you were taught to perform this technique, and what conditioning routine do you follow?
 

skribs

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Um, no. If I hit you with my heel, it's going to hurt YOU, in the place I kicked. If it hurts me, I'm doing it wrong.
If I do a spear hand strike it's going to hurt YOU, in the place that I struck. If it hurts me, I'm doing it wrong.
In either case, I am including doing it without proper training and conditioning in the definition of "wrong".

Tp the OP... have you actually been trained to do a spear hand strike? If so, please describe how you were taught to perform this technique, and what conditioning routine do you follow?
I'm also guessing you're far, far more likely to hurt your fingers by doing a Spearhand wrong than to hurt your eyes.
 

Dirty Dog

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I'm also guessing you're far, far more likely to hurt your fingers by doing a Spearhand wrong than to hurt your eyes.
Good guess. In my experience, very few people really train and condition for spear hand attacks. And I think that's probably a good thing, in general. I don't think it's ever likely to be used most self defense situation. It's certainly not likely to be used in sparring. And the chances for self-harm doing breaks are pretty high. I've done the training and I've done the breaks. I do not condition for spearhands any more, and although I will teach the proper technique, I stress how much conditioning is needed before it can be done safely, and I actively discourage students from bothering.
 

Gwai Lo Dan

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. I do not condition for spearhands any more, and although I will teach the proper technique, I stress how much conditioning is needed before it can be done safely, and I actively discourage students from bothering.

That's one of my pet peeves about TKD testing: being told 1 week ahead of time that you will be breaking boards with technique x with no conditioning or even practice on a heavy bag.

Then when the student hurts their foot/toes/hand/fingers during the test, they are told to try again. It's nuts IMO.
 

Dirty Dog

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That's one of my pet peeves about TKD testing: being told 1 week ahead of time that you will be breaking boards with technique x with no conditioning or even practice on a heavy bag.

Then when the student hurts their foot/toes/hand/fingers during the test, they are told to try again. It's nuts IMO.
That does seem a bad practice. In our case, students break at every test, and they know what each of the required breaks is from day one. We do a lot of bag/pad work, and will occasionally spend a class doing breaks.
 

isshinryuronin

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The karate guys of old were able to break boards with their finger tips without breaking their nails. How? They did not have nails, having lost them after years of conditioning. This is a commitment I've never considered making.

The bigger question, IMO, is why break boards at all with the fingertips? The nukite (Jap.) strike was designed to penetrate into soft targets such as the throat, eyes, liver and armpit - not to smash bones. We have other body parts better suited to accomplish that.

I personally see no real practical use for breaking using any part of the body. It's primary purpose seems to be for demonstration (for spectators or testing, showing one's power and confidence.) There are a number of other ways to show this. I can judge just by watching how a technique is executed whether or not it has real destructive force.

Human ribs and most skull bones are not that hard to break with knuckles or elbows. A moderate hit to the carotid artery is sufficient to disrupt blood flow and cause dizziness or unconsciousness. Breaking several boards or a brick is significantly more power than required to do these things. IMO, there are better ways to spend one's MA time.

However, breaking seems to be an integral part of some styles' or schools' method of training. All well and good for them. It's just not for me. I suppose it can teach how to strike with proper form - bad hand form in breaking will hurt and injure you. But the same goes for practicing on an unbreakable makiwara, and, I'd save money on board and brick purchases, or put them to use to build a patio.
 

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The karate guys of old were able to break boards with their finger tips without breaking their nails. How? They did not have nails, having lost them after years of conditioning. This is a commitment I've never considered making.

The bigger question, IMO, is why break boards at all with the fingertips? The nukite (Jap.) strike was designed to penetrate into soft targets such as the throat, eyes, liver and armpit - not to smash bones. We have other body parts better suited to accomplish that.
How about because sometimes you miss and end up hitting the hard bits?
I personally see no real practical use for breaking using any part of the body. It's primary purpose seems to be for demonstration (for spectators or testing, showing one's power and confidence.) There are a number of other ways to show this. I can judge just by watching how a technique is executed whether or not it has real destructive force.
Sure. You're a trained and experienced martial artist. That makes it sort of different.
Breaking shows, amoung other things, that the student is able to generate and deliver power in a safe manner.
It's also fun.
However, breaking seems to be an integral part of some styles' or schools' method of training. All well and good for them. It's just not for me. I suppose it can teach how to strike with proper form - bad hand form in breaking will hurt and injure you. But the same goes for practicing on an unbreakable makiwara, and, I'd save money on board and brick purchases, or put them to use to build a patio.
Rebreakable boards...
 

dvcochran

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That's one of my pet peeves about TKD testing: being told 1 week ahead of time that you will be breaking boards with technique x with no conditioning or even practice on a heavy bag.

Then when the student hurts their foot/toes/hand/fingers during the test, they are told to try again. It's nuts IMO.
That is a very bad teaching environment. Honestly, I would have to balk on trying a break I have not been able to practice.
 
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