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Permalost
7/01/2013 8:00pm,
http://image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/134581/134581,1271008849,1/stock-photo-self-defense-technique-woman-hit-a-karate-chop-to-the-neck-50737672.jpg
I had a random martial arts flashback from a few years ago, and it got me wondering.

A few years ago, a friend invited me for a sparring day at a TKD dojang. The closest art I've done is a semester of tang soo do. But I had some sanshou experience and therefore a chest protector so they figured I could jump right in. I remember it was short rounds, with sitting in a chair for rest between rounds. Different than anything I'd done. Anyway, one of the pieces of advice the teacher gave me was that in TKD sparring, one should keep their hands in fists, or with the fingers tight together in shuto, the way people do sign language for "karate". This protects the fingers in case they get hit on a kick or whatever, he said. Generally I wear boxing gloves to spar, but without them I keep the fingers loosely apart, slightly cupped, without extra tension pushing the fingers together. Is it really that important to keep good karate hands to protect the fingers? Does it actually protect the fingers from incidental impact more? I don't often spar hard enough without gloves to have a strong opinion either way.

This was hard to find a picture of, so there's a girl getting karate chopped.

Boydy83
7/01/2013 8:15pm,
Makes sense I guess considering that the fingers re-enforce against the other where if you had splayed fingers there's not much support to stop them breaking,

Having said that ive always "Played" with closed fists anyone trying to catch kicks with their hands is a moron in my books, and would love them to test their theory out on a Muay Thai Round kick.

My JKD instructor once told us about a time he saw a group sparring and a guy tried to parry a head kick, the guys fingers impacted on the shin bone and pushed backwards into their knuckles and up, apparently the sight was not very pretty

hungryjoe
7/01/2013 10:18pm,
Permalost,

You keep doing what you've done for so long.

That TKD instructor taught, sparred and played by the TKD rule set. You're an FMA guy. How are you gonna do what you do, quickly, if you're hands are in a fist or fingers stiff?

gregaquaman
7/01/2013 11:59pm,
Closed fist. Open them use the hand for whatever close them again.

More importantly you will tend to poke people in the eye less.

Permalost
7/02/2013 12:52am,
Makes sense I guess considering that the fingers re-enforce against the other where if you had splayed fingers there's not much support to stop them breaking,
But its not as if they're tree branches; they're hanging off of mobile appendages that will also move when struck, and shouldn't be pointed into oncoming attacks.


Having said that ive always "Played" with closed fists anyone trying to catch kicks with their hands is a moron in my books, and would love them to test their theory out on a Muay Thai Round kick.
For sanshou, we learned a series of blocks/covers against kicks, then the kick catches taught used the non-covering arm to scoop or wrap it while doing the same basic defense. Thus you wouldn't open yourself up as much as trying to catch it while evading alone, but it would also serve to avoid finger injury I guess.


My JKD instructor once told us about a time he saw a group sparring and a guy tried to parry a head kick, the guys fingers impacted on the shin bone and pushed backwards into their knuckles and up, apparently the sight was not very pretty
Ugh, sounds like parry's not the right word.

Boydy83
7/02/2013 12:57am,
Yeah meant to say block.. Muay thai have a few scoops too but kind of the same where you move away with it to absorb the impact and scoop using outside hand forearm first though to avoid the fingers.

BackFistMonkey
7/02/2013 6:16am,
Closed fist. Open them use the hand for whatever close them again.
I actually prefer a very loosely held fist. My fingers goes from an upside and exaggerated U shape to a fully closed and tight fist right before impact. I still feel like it is one of the things from my Kung Fu days that was useful.


More importantly you will tend to poke people in the eye less.
True, true. Not much of big deal with proper sparing gloves... though... with the dipped foam cheapies your advice may be a lot better than mine. But on the street it will just makes you that much more deadly!

Fuzzy
7/02/2013 7:17am,
I was always told to use tight-as-possible fists for "bareknucklee" type stuff.

My early forays into MMA-glove sparring were in Fanchento which was very throw-heavy so we tended to keep our hands open, however I watched my "coach" get his hand nicely smashed by a roundkick and since then I've gone back to 90% closed fist unless I'm actively looking for a grapple.

I do distinctly recall a lesson from the head of our org back when I did Goju Ryu where he strongly emphasised NOT spreading the fingers when doing the "grabbing block" (the wax on wax off one, the name escapes me right now) so as not to have your fingers broken.

Tangenitally, what are your thoughts about punching people in the inner thigh as a kick defense? It seems to work pretty well for me, particularly since I've started FMA, but I'm not sure if that's just because the guys I'm sparring are relatively inexperienced.

Permalost
7/02/2013 10:33am,
Tangenitally, what are your thoughts about punching people in the inner thigh as a kick defense? It seems to work pretty well for me, particularly since I've started FMA, but I'm not sure if that's just because the guys I'm sparring are relatively inexperienced.
Like I said above about the sanshou I did- I've been trained to cover against kicks while angling, and other stuff is added on from there. Punch to the thigh may be added in that but I've never done it. Another concern I have is someone kicking, or faking a kick, then stepping forward into a punch (since its something I do). Best to keep at least one hand up IMO. I feel that the better tool for intercepting a kick at the thigh would be a teep.

gregaquaman
7/02/2013 11:23pm,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcwLmUtav2s

Bare knuckle use a bit of closed fist and a bit of open hand but definatly controlled fingers.

Permalost
7/03/2013 12:03am,
I like a left fist and a right open hand ready to parry the jab.

Vieux Normand
7/03/2013 3:02pm,
Basically, all one need do is consider what fingers were evolved to do.

Dexterity for the making and manipulation of tools and weapons--some of them precision instruments--would, over millenia of evolution, have favoured grace over structural strength.

Open hands (but fingers together) for bars, locks, throws (and some open-handed strikes if you're into those)? Sure.

Otherwise, keep 'em tight.

But that's just me...

hungryjoe
7/03/2013 7:38pm,
I actually prefer a very loosely held fist. My fingers goes from an upside and exaggerated U shape to a fully closed and tight fist right before impact.

Same here. A not quite closed fist.

also

Thumbs exposed are an invitation to thumbs broken. Witnessed it a couple of times over the years.