fingers together for sparring
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.