The knuckles etc


Master Black Belt
Dec 6, 2006
Reaction score
There was a recent query link, I think on the Boxing subsite, asking about which knuckles to focus striking with. Things are of course different between wearing boxing gloves, mma gloves or bare fisticuffs on the street - or bare fist in kyokoshin tournaments etc (where the head is generally off limits). The general consensus seemed to be utilisation of the 2 larger knuckles to avoid the risk of damage to one's own fist and for maximum impact on the opponent. I have been trained to make the strike point the larger two (or largest one) knuckle(s) also if fighting without gloves or in an SD situation.

When I spent a couple of years studying wing chun alongside karate a while back the focus, as most will know, is on striking with the lower 2 or 3 knuckles in a more upward blow. And of course, also in my karate training we do spend time on hand edge/knife hand strikes such as haito or shuto uchi, finger strikes etc. My question, or pondering is, aside from a finger rake/gouge to eyes in SD or a knife hand strike to the neck for a carotid/jugular blow or osophagus break, is there really any use in the smaller knuckle or finger tip strikes?

In full contact competition I have always used the larger knuckles and the times I have been in street fights (younger) and a couple of SD situations (what more maturity and less ego could still probably have avoided) I have never used the smaller knuckles or these finger soft tissue attacks. So what's the gig? Can anyone give some feedback with experience on their effectiveness or from years of training? Again, I'm not questioning the effectiveness of eye strikes, but on the ability of lower knuckle or finger/claw hand strikes to the body or harder regions of the anatomy. Yes, I agree from dojo training that these strikes can hurt like hell but do we really need them when if in a full on fight I can use a fist with the upper knuckles to most areas or a hand strike/blow to the neck or upwards into the nose (or eye attacks with fingers)??

And if so what is the wing chun slant? Okay, I only did it for 2 years but in comparing the impact of the standard punch to their lower knuckle one and the added safety for one's own fist in avoiding any broken knuckles I would have to go for the large knuckles all the way.

Has the lower knuckle punch and these palm and finger strikes become redundant because modern fighters and people in general are more muscular with stronger physiologies than in the past?? Not sure about that one.

And sure they may help or be effective but why use them and thus train in them if you have a stronger arsenal to draw on?

Any feedback out there??


Orange Belt
May 2, 2008
Reaction score
Guelph, Ontario
In the gojuryu dojo I attend they certainly teach the two knuckle usage for closed fist strikes but knife edge, hammer fist, single and triple finger strikes are also taught for specific areas. Some have speculated that those strikes were more for vulerable areas on armored opponents of the era, chinks in the armor and such. In free sparring you don't see them that often and having your fingers exposed like that is a good way to break them against an effective block. I'm no expert though.


White Belt
Aug 1, 2008
Reaction score
Brooklyn NY
If I may give my opinion on finger striking. One might us fingers in a street fight or self defense situation to maybe avoid breaking or bruising of his/her knuckles as well as to avoid scratching and tearing of the skin so he/she would not be easily recognized as the aggressor by the police afterwards. A quick strike to the throat with a strong nukite(spear hand strike) would definitely drop an attacker. Also, a strong chicken beak strike(fingertips all bunched together) to the face or temple would do damage as well. Or they could just be beneficial to lifting heavy items or objects too. :)

Latest Discussions