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Topic: "Hitting Correctly"
Question: During practice I noticed that when I am hitting a heavy bag,
if I punch at my head level and keep my wrist straight (with a twist
punch) the middle finger joints of my fist hit first. How can I solve
this problem so that I can hit with the first and index finger knuckles
that are usually used for striking?
This is a common problem with the twist punch if aiming at targets
above the waist and particularly the head. In Japanese karate and in
many other Chinese, Korean and oriental martial arts, there are a number
of effective alternative ways to strike upper targets to avoid this problem.
Here are some suggestions for alternative punches:
Instead of a fist try hitting with an open hand palm heel strike
or shuto (little finger side of the hand near the wrist). Often this
is a good alternative strike to the head since many practitioners
injure their hands striking this target.
Use a straight vertical punch, one where
the wrist is not twisted but is instead held so that the first and
second knuckles are on top.
A slight bend of the wrist can also be used to accentuate the first
two knuckles. Another alternative to be used with this fist position
extend the second knuckle to hit specific targets such as the throat,
the hollow in the check, the side of the nose, under the nose, or
the eye socket.
Use a modified punch where the forearm is held vertically
to start and then the elbow is rotated upward before the punch
begins. From this
position the punching angle is horizontal or slightly downward
(Seikan Ago-Zuki in Japanese) and toward the center. This type of
also useful in getting over the opponent’s guard. Since the
punch is angled downward the first two knuckles should strike first.
punching shoulder upward and bring your punching arm up, around
and downward in a circular punch that hits from over the top with
your first two knuckles facing downward (top of the hand facing
own head). Here contact is often made with just the first knuckle.
This punch is particularly effective as part of a combination where
execute (with your shoulder lowered) a low rising (uppercut) punch
into an opponent’s ribs (using your legs to add power) on one
side and then follow with this circular over the top punch from the
hands held in front in a guard position, execute a short upward reverse
punch (knuckles and top of the hand faced down). Since
your hand and forearm are rotated 180 degrees from the normal rotated
fist position, your two knuckles now facing downward will strike
first (often called Shita-Zuki, or short punch, in Japanese karate).
punch (as in # 5) is brought from a lower position it is an upper
cut, or rising punch (Age-Zuki in Japanese karate).
- With your hands in the
same position of in # 5 you can also do a back knuckle strike to
nose, eyebrow or temple (Uraken Shomen-Uchi in Japanese karate).
I hope this helps.