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Finlay's picture
exotic striking techniques

what are everyones thought on using different or specialised striking tools?

By this i mean, fingertip strikes, middle knuckle strikes, thumb strikes, and wrist strikes

These sometimes appear in the forms but some of them seem a little impractical, my own study of forms has lead me to believe that at least some of the time that the movement isn't a strike at all but has another application. however that still leaves some movements that are simply a fingertip thrust or strike with the middle knuckle.

are these reclics of a by gone age when people had enough time to practice with these striking tools?  through my study in China i have met a few teachers who speaicalise in these striking techniques but for the most part they are older and as well as conditioning exercises use breathing and visuaisation techniques. most people these days don;t have enough training time spare to devote to the 'fine' techniques as it is mainly (and quite rightly) taken up with practicing more common techniques, straight fist hammer fist and so on.

on the other hand they might have been recently added, as forms became more a display art, they pressure to only demostrate movements with sound combative principles behind them was severely lessened. this has given way to moves that are 'cool' both visualy and academically (through the supposed application) i heard one example of this from a friend of mine who had been studying in an army base. all the people there were from different backgrounds and styles so they were fairly friendly and open to anyone coming in who just wanted to train. one such fellow came along one night and joined in the class which consisted mainly of sparring. during the sparring every now and again he would dive forward and try to tap his opponent in ribs with his fingers. upon seeing this one of the senior guys took him to one side and asked him to explain this technique. The newcomer explained that at that point in a real fight he would acutally follow through and put his fingers through his opponents ribs. quiet bemused by this, the senior student lifted his arm and asked for the guy's best fingertip strike........... needless to say the ribs won.

i woul be very interested to hear others thoughts on this

Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

When I was about 16 asked about all the different variations and was told "We practise them all so eventually you can just lash out and it doesn't matter what position the hand's in".

Looking back I'd say that was utter bunkum.

I now stick to punches to 'soft' targets like the body and palms to 'hard' targets like the jawline.  It's not that I need the dexterity of a brain surgeon but I just don't see the point of risking hand fractures when a powerslap works just as well without the risk.


General rule:  Hard weapons to soft targets.  Soft weapons to hard targets.  Knees & elbows can go anywhere.  smiley

Gavin J Poffley
Gavin J Poffley's picture

I personally see some value in using the aforementioned tools to attack the eyes or throat but thats about it. Even then I would not use them with full body striking motions from punching range but more short ranged smashes or pokes when presented with awkward angles up close (clinching or grappling). Digging them into the jawline or other sensitive areas works ok.

Harry Mord
Harry Mord's picture

Finlay wrote:

The newcomer explained that at that point in a real fight he would acutally follow through and put his fingers through his opponents ribs.

I think he'd maybe been watching too many chop-socky movies. Bruce Lee used this "technique" to kill the bad guy at the end of "Fists of Fury" (aka "The Big Boss"),  cheeky

shoshinkanuk's picture

alot of the stranger hand positons are used for grappling range type situations for sure, also many of them work well from flinch responce.

They deliver the concept of Uchi IMO, as opposed to Tsuki and they have their place, speed over power and should be considered set ups rather than finishers - often they form part of the movement but not the whole where a reverse hand stroke often happens.

If you think of them as distractions, set ups, quick reactions their use becomes clearer IMO.