I cannot speak for every spear hand or finger jab in every unarmed system known to man, but only those in the Korean-derived Okinawan-based systems I've studied.
1) Spear hands are not first strike techniques. You don't just stand there and throw a spear hand at someone's chest. (I wouldn't recommend using it on someone's chest anyway.)
2) Spear hands are only used once you have control of your opponent to set up the strike, and can guarantee an unobstructed shot to a soft target.
3) I have never attempted to use a spear hand in any sparring or str33t encounter I have been in. This is for a fewreasons: A) It's in the realm of fish-hooking and eye gouging as far as sparring is concerned. B) I've never really looked for an opportunity. C) Punching or slapping seems a lot more practical to me. D) Given the reasons for it's application, I wouldn't want to risk it.
To better explain it's usage (or lack thereof), I'll try to provide an illustration (Note to self: get a a video camera and start YouTubing shite).
The following abridged situation is taken from the Pyungan hyung (Pinan kata).
In a given situation, after getting an underhook on my opponent's right arm with my left and control of his neck, I step back and pivot to force him over. Assuming I have control of my opponent (this may not be the case, meaning the following is null and void), he is now bent over with the right side of his neck exposed. At this point, a spear hand strike would be used to attack the side of his neck (carotid, etc). As White Shark indicated, Iron Hand training would definitely increase the amount of penetrative damage done to your opponent's vitals.
As you can see, it is not a very practical first choice technique, and is limited in use by circumstance (both the likelihood of the opportunity occuring, and your willingness/ability to use it). From a similar control position, I would more likely start throwing knees into my opponent's face.
What is worth noting is that learning this technique in the Pyungan hyung is prelude to learning a standing Guillotine from the same position.
Negative. Well, I mean only as far as any submission is a pain compliance technique. Then again, Der's got a point too. Since they can very well be used to strike places, as long as you find an appropriate target that won't **** your fingers up.
Originally Posted by El Macho
This is the fundamental problem/advantage with forms. You can make anything you want out of them. Seriously. They're just movements. If you can make them do something you need them to do, then they are that.
I tend to throw some unorthodox strikes ... but striking with the fingertips seems a little silly . Even to a controlled/restrained victim . If I need to hurt him more and I have him under some sort of control I am going to either get him to "come along" or fall back to a high percentage strike , hold , or submission to completion .
Does that make sense to anyone else ?
Originally Posted by ghost55
“I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.”
I've had to learn to do spearhands (back before we stopped doing straight, traditional TSD) and my one thought on them is... they weren't worth the time it took to learn them and condition my hands. My time would have been MUCH better spent working on more "basic" techniques, refining timing, improving accuracy etc.
When examining the use of spear hand techniques in your forms/kata/hyung/whatnot, take a look at what happens before and after the spear hand...
Often, the spear is a way to illustrate a grab (that's why the hand is open, not closed) where a punch could be (just close the fist), but the grab fits just as well.
In response to DerAuslander108:
If you have someone in that position and want to strike the neck, although you could use the spearhand, you can also use a closed fist. A closed fist to the neck/throat will hurt and dosen't require conditioning. I'd say either punch or hammerfist at that position and forget the other strikes.
As far as a pre-emptive strike to the front of the throat spear seems good because it allows a little more reach, as long as it is followed by some punches I suppose.
Lastly some people said it might be used on the eyes but they don't reccommend it. Striking with the fingertips to the eyes seem better if they are held loose and separated a little bit, that way if you miss the fingers can absorb the impact o the skull (still hurts but just not as much).
I wouldn't even spear someone's neck. Only the throat,which is extremely soft. There are other hand forms for hitting the neck that are safer than a spear hand, even to the soft tissue of the throat(which may be raw on some people)
I still say hammer or fist. That way if you miss the intended target you still do damage to the attacker. Example, a spear hand to the troat. Say the guy tucks his chin or dodges a little and it lands on a close target, the chin or anywhere on the face for that matter. A spearhand landing like this would mess up your hand, it has to land on its target or else you only hurt yourself. A fist on the other hand can miss its intended target and still cause damage to the attacker.
So to me it seems a fist is always a better weapon as it is not discriminatory in its targets and can be trained in sparring.
Every weapon has its use. Just because the conditioning for a given body weapon is no longer common doesn't rule out it's utility and effectiveness. Few people anymore have the patience for the conditioning and development for general martial arts training, preferring instead the "quick fix" (as evidenced by the popularity of RBSD systems, as well as other indicators).
That having been said, remember that every weapon, every tool, has its own job. I've heard it said before "soft weapons for hard surfaces, hard weapons for soft surfaces," and though that's not doctrine within our school, it sure makes sense - open palm for skull, fist for body.
Anyway, our curriculum notes that spear hands are used for: throat, side of neck, armpits, solar plexus/abdomen (sides more than front, but front too), inquinal crease. Much beyond that and you're venturing into territory more suited for other weapons.
I've seen my teacher spear hand through a red fireplace brick. I know it can be done, with the right training. I, however, haven't put myself through that training, so I can't do it personally, but I've seen others do it, so I know it's possible.
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