Turton 7th Dan : Head Self-Defence Federation
Striking with the fist is always a dangerous action,
more so when hitting the hard bone of the skull/head,
with what are fairly delicate bones in the hand .. So
what to do about it.
we actually get on to hitting, a little understanding
about the hand is in order.
are really the only animal with the positioning of the
thumb the way it is in relation to the rest
of the hand and fingers. The position of the thumb is
for one thing only .. increased and superior gripping
abilities... This is the main reason in fact why Grappling
moves are much more natural than punching ones.
getting TOO deep into it here, we need no teaching how
to grab, pull, pinch, nip, yank hair, hold etc.. What
we DON'T do all that naturally is PUNCH.
we are Apes (in fact some are more apes than others!)..
very young children (toddlers) when they fight, look
very similar to young apes in the movements they perform.
The 'hitting' tends to be more with open slaps or 'hammer
fist' type strikes, rather than forward punching.
forward punch is a development of 'push'.. and isn't
that natural as such.
a look at the structure of the hand.. It is perfectly
designed for holding, but NOT that well designed for
you make a fist, there is a small but discernable 'gap'
in the finger/palm area. This is because nature intended
some object to be IN that gap. To hold a tight closed
fist requires a great degree of muscle contraction..
In fact the 'natural' position of the 'fist' as such,
is a relaxed 'ball' of the hand.. NOT a tight club.
the above is the KEY to development of properly 'formed'
punching weapons, as opposed to 'de-forming' the fist.
no mistake about it, deformation is easily achieved,
and almost impossible to undo..
the late Karate Master "Masutaru Oyama" The originator
of the "Kyukushinkai Karate" system. He was well
reknowned for the development of the 'Fist', and stories
abound of his ability to knock out 'Bulls' (he is even
credited with killing one), with one punch.
was big on knuckle and fist training.. In fact his two
large knuckles looked more like one single knuckle,
and in later life, he couldn't pick up small objects
with his fingers. He had lost a great deal of dexterity
in order to develop what was fundamentally a 'Club'
at the end of his wrist.
was acceptable in the days, centuries ago when a Warrior
was just that, and nothing else. There is little point
in spending all that time and pain in developing something
that .. a) you might never use, and, b) is detrimental
to normal daily use.
what's the answer.. Well the answer lies in the way
we train out fists at the moment of impact.
are 3 aspects to this .. The actual Impact training,
the use of 'rubs', and the understanding of correct
one at a time..
the 'Makiwari'.. This doesn't develop the FIST,
it strengthens the WRIST.. which although necessary.
(You don't want it to collapse at the moment of impact),
can de developed better in other ways. Forget also the
'Ball Bearings in a bag' stuff.. This hardens the OUTER
areas of the knuckles, at the expense INNER ones. You
get calloused knuckles, but NO improvement in any impact
ability. Also NO BOARD BREAKING.. How many boards will
you fight in your life ???
board breaking actually achieves on the positive front
is increased confidence in your strikes.
yourself this .. Who knocks out the most people in a
year as a group??
.. BOXERS, THAI BOXERS & KICK BOXERS.
many people are regularly knocking others out in competition..
Does Karate come even close? .. What about Wing Chun
? .. No.. The answer isn't with any mysterious ancient
posturing methods, of dipping your hands in hot sand..
You will get as much benefit from dipping your hands
in bloody cold custard. All hot sand etc will do is
produce a mild 'burn' which of course causes hard skin
to develop to cover the burn.. just like a callus.
at the end of the day, who wants a hand that can 'Kill
a Rhino with a single mystical strike', but can't pick
up a knife and fork??
here's what to do ..
Forget Karate style punches.. These were designed to
be forward for one reason only.. to penetrate the wooden
armour of the Bushi (Only the Samurai 'officers' could
afford metal armour)
wooden slats attached to cloth were all the footsloggers
could afford.. So if they punched single/double knuckled-style
at the wood, it broke, the broken ends would penetrate
the cloth and stab the soldier .. Hence the reason for
wood breaking in Okinawan Karate.(that's not all, but
enough at this moment in time)
make a fist ..go on.. look at it..Turn the 'palm' side
of the fist to face you,..The 'little finger side of
the forearm, is almost a straight line from elbow to
little finger Yes?
THUMB side of the fist 'sticks' out.. In fact the thumb
side of the forearm is in line with the gap between
first and second fingers .. Yes again??
the phalanges & metacarpals, are in fact now in
a perfect line with the two forearm bones.. the Radius
& Ulna.. Lesson mumber one.. THIS is nature's most
perfect fist formation.. Make it yours
make a fist with each hand and stick them out in front
of you, at about your chin level. WITH THE THUMBS TOUCHING
JUST WHERE THE KNUCKLES STICK OUT OK? ... Have the backs
of the hands facing exactly upwards, thumbs and little
fingers on a parallel line.. .. NOW the IMPORTANT BIT
turn the fists, so that the thumbs stay touching, but
the little finger sides start to lower, until each fist
is about 45 degrees, and the two fists make roughly
a 90 degree
Right, now take your left hand away, and look at the
right fist.. It should be 45 degrees, in line with the
chin, and centre of your body.. This is the perfect
punching position for maximum power output.. It's similar
to a Right Cross.. The BOTTOM THREE KNUCKLES are the
striking points.. NOT the top two.
pull this fist slowly back until it rests almost at
the side of YOUR chin.. Extend it slowly back out to
where it was, and you will see that the extension cause
the three bottom knuckles to impact in line with your
centre, but on the SIDE of your opponent's chin..because
it has travelled slightly inwards, as opposed to straight
out as in Karate... Result ideal K.O. positioning.
moves are in fact circular pulls .. Even, believe it
or not something like a Bench Press.. This movement
is caused by a superb mechanical linkage of TWO pulls
producing what appears to be a push.. We can't actually
push .. it's an illusion.. The forearm circles OUTWARDS
at the same time as the UPPER arm circles INWARDS, the
result is extension of the hand away from the body..
But it's caused by pulling.
same with punching.. As all bones move in ARCS, and
arcs are a part of a circle, then CIRCULAR movements
are best... Hooks and Crosses are FAR superior to Jabs
your hand at the side of your leg, let it hang NATURALLY..
Now put the OTHER hand in the position I asked earlier..
out in front of your chin.. remember? (you DID try this
now bring the hanging arm up making a fist as it rises,
until it touches the outstretched
in exactly the same way as before.. This movement you
have just made is the most natural punch you will EVER
you want to see perfectly natural punching novement,
as a very young child 4 or 5 or so, to throw a small
stone.. Watch what he or she does.. Picks up the
stone, DRAWS it back, steps forward on the NON throwing
leg side, (ie left leg for right hand throw).. Extends
body mechanics in the following order..LEGS, HIPS, SHOULDERS
THEN ARM. And away the stone goes..Now who taught
them this ?? NO ONE.. it's genetically inbuilt.. Nature
has the answers.
when you practise punching, think on about the above..
that's the way to achieve the best impact..
NEXT.. the external aids..
old bare knuckle boxers used SHEEP PISS & ALUM CRYSTALS,
( and NO I haven't got clue how or who collected the
bloody sheep piss!!)
was rubbed into the hands, knuckles etc AFTER punching
practise NOT before.
this stuff isn't quite as easy to come by, but talking
to the old former British Middleweight
"Jock McAvoy" The Rochdale Thunderbolt! (quite
a few years ago now).. He said that the best substitute
for this concoxion is Methylated Spirits.. (the 'bluer'
in colour the better).. Now although I haven't used
the Original mixture.. 'Meths' worked very well.. How
good in comparison I don't know. but it did (does) the
trick is to do some punching practise against a fairly
rough surface. (some of the modern punch bags are very
smooth), until the knuckles are a tiny bit 'red' (not
raw and hanging with bits of bloody flesh from them),
then rub in the meths quite hard, and leave it to dry..
It takes about a month of three or four times a week,
and your hands get quite tough.
the pain gets too much .. you can always drink the meths!!)..
will take care of the actual surfaces of the hands..Next
the inner knuckles and bones..
by folding two handkerchiefs into a 'roll', just the
right size to hold in the closed fist, with little protuding...
This now gives internal 'support' to the closed fist,
and actually makes the punching position a great deal
stronger. Begin by lightly striking a heavy bag from
about 12-15 inches away. Do this for about 100 times
each hand. Then take the hankies out, and start again
quite lightly punching the heavy bag.. BUT start with
the hands wide open, and about 2 inches from contact
suddenly SQUEEZE the fist closed. The act of closing
at the moment of contact actually strengthens both the
phalanges and inner hand bones. If you start with the
fists already closed, then extension of the arm produces
relaxation of the fist on contact.. This is how you
hurt them....Remember, Boxers hit with wraps and gloves,
and are in no need of any extra protection. The wraps
provide BOTH the 'hankie' effect in the palm and a support
on the wrist/hand.. The gloves then provide the cushioning..
You will be street punching with neither.
strengthen the wrist.. Press ups on open hands on the
finger-tips.. You don't need anything else, this spreads
the tendons of the wrist and aids in supporting your
.. Practise 90% of your punches from a NON posed position..
That is, walk past a partner holding Mitts, suddenly
turn and strike.. Stand in front of a heavy bag with
your hands held anywhere other than in a 'boxing' posture..
At the sides, in your pockets, scratching your arse
if you want.. then on an external signal (shout from
a partner) .. throw your punches from WHERE EVER your
hands happen to be at the time.. Keep them relaxed until
a couple of inches away from the impact point. then
make a conscious effort to almost 'jump' them closed.
legs, hips, shoulders and arms provide the power.. the
fists only deliver it.
me know how you go on with this.. 3 months should see
a massive increase in punching power... And ask away
if you need to know more !
TURTON 7TH DAN : HEAD OF THE SELF-DEFENCE FEDERATION
text is exclusive property of Dave Turton, and unless
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