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Author Topic: Punching  (Read 18948 times)

smsybert

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Punching
« on: April 02, 2006, 09:20:36 PM »

I have heard disturbing rumors/opinions that punching is "becoming a lost art in this country".  Have any of you heard of this? What are the elements of a knockout punch? What can men and women do to increase punching power? Thanks, in advance, for your help.

SMSYBERT
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TAC

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Re: Punching
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2006, 12:43:18 PM »

The whole concept of hands being broken from punching has probably lead to a decrease in punches being used for SD.
A contributing factor is that today's RBSD favours palm strikes over straight punching and slapping palms over hooks (as used in the old WW2 hand-to-hand combat manuals)
So ultimately punches are left only to traditional martial arts like karate, TKD and kung fu, and also to sports like boxing and MMA.

Personally, I can't get rid of punching. I understand the risks of breaking/damaging my hand but from years of TMA and boxing i've developed some good punching skills. Also, the bones in my knuckels have calcified to the extent where i can hit solid objects (harder than bone) at high speeds without breaking my knuckles. So... besides using my palms a lot I PUNCH PUNCH PUNCH. Simply because it'll save my ass.

But... I wouldn't recoment using closed fists to people new to martial arts /  self defence. I do it coz I can, but that's all.

If YOU want to develop punching power I could give a huge explanation here on how to use your bodyweight and momentum to give good follow-thru power but that would take too long and would be hard to understand. So here's the simple answer - take up boxing.

Peace

Sharif

ps - Elements of knockout punch? Aim for the jaw.
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smsybert

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Re: Punching
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2006, 02:25:12 PM »

Thanks, Sharif, for your advice. I, too, have seen punching discouraged in some SD circles. Maybe the fist is not the best weapon on the human body but it's the most convenient. I figure, might as well learn to use it effectively. And, if you bruise your knuckles, you won't feel anything until later,lol. :D Thanks again.

SMSYBERT
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Professor

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Re: Punching
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2006, 07:29:40 PM »

Thanks, Sharif, for your advice. I, too, have seen punching discouraged in some SD circles. Maybe the fist is not the best weapon on the human body but it's the most convenient. I figure, might as well learn to use it effectively. And, if you bruise your knuckles, you won't feel anything until later,lol. :D Thanks again.

SMSYBERT

Elbows.   

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  'Advanced' is being able to do the basics, despite what else is happening. 

Our Country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't be any AMERICA because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!"  --- Chesty Puller, USMC

TAC

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Re: Punching
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2006, 02:19:03 AM »


Quote

Elbows.   


Quote

Yep. Love those too.
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raswic

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Re: Punching
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2006, 02:09:10 PM »

I have noticed this also. As I teach old school BKB, i am only saddened by this. The bare knuckle punch is, IMHO, misunderstood. One thing is conditioning. Sharif is right that after training, the knuckles toughen and calcify. The old timers would actually soak their hands in brine to toughen the skin. Not saying we all should do that, but when working on the heavybag, take the gloves off. This will aid in conditioning. But more importantly, learn how to throw a punch. I feel that the modern sport of boxing has done more to ruin true punching, then almost anything. Because of the gloves that protect your hands, you don't worry so much about fist/wrist positioning. Study any of the old texts and it is the first thing taught. The vertical fist for straight punches (both lead and rear) is used because it promotes proper wrist allignment. I always recomend Championship Boxing by Jack Dempsey. It is the most detailed description of how-to throw a punch. He started off as a BKB in hobo fights, and he carried that over into the ring. But fist allignment and proper mechanics are the "secret" to a KO. That and target. 
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smsybert

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Re: Punching
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2006, 09:54:10 PM »

Thanks for the input, raswic. Now,if I can find ol' Jack's book........

SMSYBERT
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mleone

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Re: Punching
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2006, 07:26:45 AM »

Too many people have gotten boxers fractures look at Mike Tyson a once seasoned boxer.
Broke his hand in a street fight.

That does not mean we should discard it. I still use it. The opportunity presents I take it.
But your first strike doesnt have to be a punch.
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raswic

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Re: Punching
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2006, 08:18:52 PM »

Mario's right. I use that Tyson story all the time. In BKB there were two punches that were used quite frequently that today are almost never mentioned. The Backfist and Chopper. These two punches were what the BKBoxers used to save their hands from damage. Also there are more then a few accounts of open hand strikes. Learn both and used them accordingly. Hell, Bas Rutten shattered a guys cheek with an open hand strike. But he still uses punches.
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Nick Hughes

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Re: Punching
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2006, 11:02:18 PM »

Let's not forget that Tyson never trained to punch bare knuckles.  No boxer does.  They wrap their hands when they train, they use bag mitts, and they wear gloves and taping when they fight in the ring.

I trained from day one to punch bare knuckles, used a makiwara and push ups on my two large knuckles to condition them to deal with the bare knuckle punching. I don't wrap them hitting either focus mittls or heavy bags.

In all the fights I've ever had I've broken my right hand twice.  Once hitting a guy wearing a motorcycle helmet (he refused to take it off...I still split the helmet and knocked him out) and the other was when I clipped a guy with the knuckle of the little finger which is the worst knuckled you can hit with.

N
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Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am attacking.
--Ferdinand Foch-- at the Battle of the Marne

Kentbob

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Re: Punching
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2006, 11:04:19 PM »

Just like everything else, punching has its place.  Against soft targets, preferably.  Remember, don't be a headhunter.  Learn how to punch, and I feel that you will learn how to throw a number of other strikes.

Kent
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mleone

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Re: Punching
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2006, 07:46:10 AM »

 I have learned and taught to hit targets that often "present themselves". Combat scenarios are awesome for this or hit based off of a basic reaction.(we all react different). Now I am not talking about some "scars" bullshit.


Im talking about if you web strike the guy in the throat. You have options to his else where when he is choking on his tears. Just capitalizing off some open targets. But what I see with novice students is the lack of committment after the first shot. You must follow up with a flowing attack.

The least expected actions disorients.
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Ed Stowers

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Re: Punching
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2006, 08:07:00 AM »

I've suffered two metacarpal fractures in my time punching things.  One was pretty serious, the other less so.  While I agree that punching does have its place and is sometimes the only option to you have in a given situation, I can't recommend it as the best way to do things retgarding hitting the head.  I should point out, too, that both of my fractures were during training, not during a fight, so there was no adrenline rush, and my experience certainly wasn't anything like Ninor's.  I did all of the karate-style knuckle conditioning, too, withthe makiwara and doing knuckle-pushups. 

The problem with the first incident was that it was a structural misalignment caused by me doing some experimentation during training, in that I was mixing a katate techique for punching with a Wing Chun technique, and it was a bad combo.  The karate style uses the heads of the first two metacarpals for punching with a strong wrist alignment.  The Wing Chun Chung Choy punch uses the smallest two metacarpals with a bullwhip type delivery and no hip movement.  When I added the powerful karate hip twist in with the Wing Chung alignment...ow, it broke, and it broke good.  The second time was an accident and only a minor fracture...however, both hurt a lot and put me in a cast for 6 weeks and have left minor residual effects.

I think the problem is two-fold.  One is the ever-mentioned muscle memory.  You do what you train to do when you're not thinking.  The other is that people are--men in particular--by social conditioning, head-hunters.

I believe the first one is the real problem, which is exacerbated by the second.  The head is simply harder than your hands will ever be.  You can hit it okay under the right conditions, and get away with it, but in my opinion if you do this a lot a broken hand is a matter of when, not if.  In the swirl of a slugfest, getting the proper alignment and execution may be problematical.  I think conditioning an auto-response of punching the head into your muscle memory is setting yourself up for a self-imposed injury.  A target of opportunity, like a heart shot or a bladder shot, may indeed be an appropriate target for a punch.  But most people fire them off automatically and almost always aim for the head.  I think that is a bad idea, strategy-wise.  At least my own experience seems to back that up.  One of the objectives of delivering any blow is to hurt the enemy, not yourself. 

The most important aspect of this is that punching usually isn't necessary.  There are other ways to hit that are just as powerful and risk your hands far less.  The problem is our social conditioning: we're all taught that punching is how you fight like a man.  That's the way Pa did it.  That's the way movie stars do it.  That's the way boxers do it.  This bleeds into your psyche over time.  Then you lock that into your muscle memory and as soon as a fight's on, that's what you do without thinking.  Pow!  Potential broken knuckle or wrist.

I'm not so sure that punching becoming a lost art is a bad thing in terms of self-defense.  It might well be so in TMA, where it is the core of some arts.  I do know I can hit much harder with a palm or elbow than I can ever hit with a punch...at least at power levels that would seriously hurt my fist.  It may or may not deliever as much damage potential to my target, but it delivers an equivalent amount with far less risk to me.  But I also know that when the scatalogy hits the oscillating turbine, you will do exactly what you trained to do if the need is fast and furious, because you won't have time to think.  Because of that. I think it's best to load your auto-responses with things that don't poentially hurt yourself if you can.  I've really de-emphasized punching in my own toolkit for that reason.  But that's me, and we each have to find our own way along the path.

Ed
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raswic

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Re: Punching
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2006, 02:11:13 PM »

The major problem I believe is that punching is not being properly taught. Dempsey makes a great case in his book. Damage to the hand is decreased significantly when the hand, wrist and arm are in proper alignment. The use of the two lead knuckles (index and middle) leads to a weak, improperly aligned punch. When using the three lower knuckles the hand wrist and arm, all the way to the shoulder, is in alignment. This makes for a stronger, harder punch, causing less damage to the hand. There is a simple experiment Dempsey has in his book. Stand in front of a wall about 3 feet away. Extend the arm and lean forward. Let the fist land against the wall on the first two knuckles with a horizontal fist. Look at the bend in the wrist. Now do it and land with the three lower knuckles with a vertical fist. The hand, wrist, and arm make one strong solid line. Take the time to learn proper technique, and you will have less damage.
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Nick Hughes

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Re: Punching
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2006, 04:51:20 PM »

Rawsic,

I never did agree with Dempsey and his 3 knuckle method.  The japanese and Okinawans came up with the 2 BIG knuckles.  I've been hitting with them forever and only had two problems, once when hitting a motorcycle helmet and the second when I clipped a guy with the little finger knuckle and broke it.

All the karate mates I had who worked doors only ever broke the small knuckles of the hand.  Goes to reason, small is not going to stand up to impact as well as BIG.

N

Wing chun get away with it because they don't use hips in their punch.  Rotate the hips violently and punch with the bottom three and they'll shatter.

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Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am attacking.
--Ferdinand Foch-- at the Battle of the Marne

mleone

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Re: Punching
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2006, 06:21:08 PM »

I have always been into top 2 knuckles due to many "boxers fracture".

Ninor whats your view mate?
(I got a civil ware saber for ya)
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raswic

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Re: Punching
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2006, 07:32:29 PM »

Ninor,
 I had the opposite experiences. When I was doing the Asian way of using the two first knuckles I was constantly hurting my wrist. After I was introduced to the BKB way of the three knuckles, I was fine. I found I was hitting harder and more sure, and not hurting. The thing with the BKB three knuckle method, you aren't just using the knuckles, but the whole pad. If using just the knuckles then the danger of breaking them is there. But use the whole area and the energy is over a larger area not concentrated in just the knuckles. But I'm not here to try and change anyones minds or how they do things. I respect what and how you do things. Obviously it has worked well for you. Just stating what I have observed and experienced.
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Nick Hughes

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Re: Punching
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2006, 08:18:57 PM »

Not a problem mate...that's what forums are for.

My problem with the whole pad deal is that you're spreading out the force over a larger area which means less penetration.

The principle behind breakfalls is, rather than fall and land all your weight on say your hand, you aim to land with as much asyour body hitting the ground at once as you can which spreads the shock around.

Same with a broomstick and a spear.  I poke you hard with the broomstick and you'll get a bruise.  Poke you hard with the spear and it'll go through you and come out the other side.

Re the wrist injury..that's what the knuckle pushups were for..not so much to condition the knuckle as to build up and strengthen the wrist.

Still, as you say, each to their own. I'm sure people have been knocked out with both methods.

N
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Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am attacking.
--Ferdinand Foch-- at the Battle of the Marne

Ed Stowers

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Re: Punching
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2006, 02:42:46 PM »

Ninor, you must be awesome, shattering a motorcycle helmet with a punch!  What do they feed you guys down-under?   :o

Yep, I added the twist of the hips to the Wing Chun technique and that's what broke my hand (the first time).  The break itself wasn't nearly as bad as the "treatment" for it was.

I believe Bruce Lee came to this same assessment about punching heads--to a degree-- when he fought (sport dueled) Wong Jack Man in his kwoon in California.  From what I've read, he had to chase the guy around the room and he kept shooting punches into the back of Man's head, and it wasn't very effective, which was supposedly one reason he decided to modify his style.

Raswic, I don't think the problem is so much that punching isn't correctly taught or practiced.  Certainly every karate class I've ever been in spent days and days on it.  In my opinion, it's just that you can't set it up consistently in a real fight when things like punches are flying fast.  Sometimes you can, but sometimes you can't.  So, you end up with an automatic way of striking that risks your hands as much as the opponent's body.  It can and often does work.  But I still don't think it's the best strategy to follow relative to hitting the head.

One of the problems with using traditional Bujutsu methods of hitting (in my opinion) is that traditional Japanese warriors were willing to take a lot more physical punishment just to deliver thier shot than the average modern person is.  In a society that revered seppuku (ritual disemboweling) merely for honor's sake, taking a few bone-breaking shots would not have been considered a very stiff price.  Compared to dying, it's probably not.  But I'd rather avoid it.  The point is that samurai didn't really care if they lived or died as long as they did their duty and got their opponent.  Most of us are simply not... like that.  I guess there is a certain sense of western manliness in feeling good about knocking the guy out even though it broke your hand...on the other hand (pun intended) fighting is something I do as a last resort; it's not my primary occupation and certainly not my hobby.  Having broken my hanhd twice--despite LOTS of training--I prefer not to do it anymore if possible.  I think there are simpler ways to hit as hard without risking your hands to the same degree.

Then again, I'm only a mere mortal.   ;D
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Nick Hughes

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Re: Punching
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2006, 09:28:33 PM »

Ed,

I didn't have much of a choice...he wouldn't take it off during the fight.  I had no intention of breaking it...figured if I hit him hard enough it would still cause "brain splash" and he'd go down.  As it happened it split in two but I have no idea as to the condition of it beforehand.  In other words, for all I know, it was fifteen years old and had been through several accidents.  I've never been tempted to try it again with a new one because my hand was fooked up for a LOOOOONg time.

I did see Dave Arnold in England break a US football helmet belonging to a crew member at the Cowes Yachting Festival with a hammerfist.  They were working out in his gym and said something disparaging about karate.  Dave grabbed the helmet out of the guys bag  and smashed it wich put an end to the coments ;D

N
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Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am attacking.
--Ferdinand Foch-- at the Battle of the Marne

raswic

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Re: Punching
« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2006, 05:50:06 PM »

 I look at it from multilpe angles. One is that for centuries professional BKBoxers fought this way and had minimal hand breakage. The use of the three knuckle pad and the vertical fist are proven through hundreds of years of actual fighting. The Chopper or Hammer was one of the most common punches used in BKB. Also the head as a target was saved until you wore the opponent down or created an opening for the KO. The majority of the strikes in BKB are to the body. These are all part of what I ment by improper teaching. Even though most karate schools spend days on it, is that really enough time? Most people I know who took karate can not punch at all. In BKB everything we do concerns safety to the hands as they are your tools. Break em and your out of work. I do believe you can set up punches in a real fight. I see it all the time. It comes with practice. Most people don't practice enough. Granted they aren't training for a pro fight, I understand, but they still don't go over it enough to have it ingrained. I firmly believe if you want to learn the proper, safe way to punch, look to those that did just that.
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Trainer

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Re: Punching
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2006, 06:34:43 PM »

Ninor! I know who you are now! I remember reading an article you wrote a looooooooonnnnnggggg time ago. It made good sense to me as a teenager, in a martial arst mag whos name I no longer remember, it was a veerrry long time ago (not to suggest that you are old ;D). It actually helped to put me on the path that im on now, so thanks mate!

"Goes to reason, small is not going to stand up to impact as well as BIG."

I call this the small bone, big bone theory which basically states that a small bone will break/dislocate etc before a big bone will IE knuckle (small bone) to jaw (big bone) in comparision that is
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Hock

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Re: Punching
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2006, 03:17:05 PM »

I call this the small bone, big bone theory which basically states that a small bone will break/dislocate etc before a big bone will IE knuckle (small bone) to jaw (big bone) in comparision that is


I do think that is true. I think this, that you can look at person's hands and predict whether they should primarily be punchers or not. If the hands look "fine," if the knuckles and joints are boney? As compared to the those hulk, meaty hands we see people have.

I have always had problems with my hands, wrists, (and ankles) in this regard, but there are some folks who won't that much. A good instructor should oversee this when a student starts to build their own 6 to 12 survival tricks.

But if the student wants to start teaching? he has to work on and know the meaty hand material too!

I try to teach both ways in the big picture.

Hock

Nick Hughes

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Re: Punching
« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2006, 05:03:28 PM »

Trainer,

Glad I had some impact :D  That would have been Fighting Arts International where you read the piece.  Yep, it was a loooonng time ago :) and yes, I'm not old - yet.
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Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am attacking.
--Ferdinand Foch-- at the Battle of the Marne

Trainer

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Re: Punching
« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2006, 06:25:06 AM »

Ya I think that was it, you were dressed in DPMs and squared off against another guy with a blade. From memory, i think you were talking about what "normal" is is someparts of the world, then gave an example of some people who killed some guy in a bar and then tried to play soccer with his head all th ewhile laughing. I believe that he made a fairly decent attempt at removing the head. I think that was it anyway!

The upshot was it had a real impact for the future with respect to gaining and keeping real world skills and thus far has kept me alive in the various shit holes i have worked in.
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Irishtacticts

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Re: Punching
« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2006, 01:12:55 PM »

The bottom three knuckles are the best due to the wrist bing hurt. as long as make the punches act like punches not wrecking balls then they shouldnt get hurt. and if you practice punching they wont break. on rule about striking weapons soft to hard, hard to soft. like palms to fore head and fist to nose, that way you can get the most out of your tools.

also develop callaces so as to keep them from dammage.
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Ed Stowers

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Re: Punching
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2006, 08:49:07 AM »

I can't agree with the lower knuckle theory.  I've have hurt myself seriously twice using the bottom three knuckles with power blows.  That is, using the Wing Chun-style Chung Choy punch with a lot of body power against a non-yeilding target.  Something as solid as a skull bone has proven harder than my hand more than once.  And the metacarpals of the lower handbones are especially unforgiving in this regard.  Oh, it worked fine in Wing Chun practice where you punched focus mitts or aimed at the opponent's rather soft nose, but if you crank in a lot of twisting body power (admittedly NOT a Wing Chun tactic) you can definitely hurt yourself.  I know; I've done it.  I don't recommend it for anyone else.

Besides, I always kind of wanted my punches to be "wrecking balls."  Otherwise, why am I using them? Unfortunately, they also possessed the potential to wreck my hands as much as the other guy's head.  Callus helps with not breaking the skin, guys.  It has nothing to do with not breaking bones.  It's like wrapping leather around a club; sure , it gives you a little more protection, but if the blow is strong ienough the club will still break.  If you use your knuckles a certain way and you hit hard enough, it's a matter of how strong the bones are and the angle the force is applied at.  At some point in power or angle, the metacarpal--particularly the "neck" of the metacarpal bone--will break.  This is why I believe if you must punch, then you should punch softer (body) targets, not hard ones, and you'd best use the first two metacarpals, not the bottom three, especially if they are power shots (as opposed to whipping, backfist-type shots).

I'm not saying you should never punch.  I can't make a blanket statment like that.  In some situations, that may be what is called for or the target that's available.  You can usually, however, with a little forethought in training, auto-load a better option (provided you have any "fore" thoughts about this subject).  But I, for one, want to de-emphasize it in what I do as much as possible.  It's just too easy to hurt yourself if you start slugging at high speed and with little control, no matter how much callus you have.  It's simple physics, as far as I'm concerned.  I guess we all believe what our experience teaches us, and apparently not everybody's experience is the same.  My experience in this regard has been painful.  Every time that old Templar knight from Indianna Jones and the Last Crusdade appeared by my side and said: "You chose...poorly."

I may be slow, but I get the message eventaully.
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mleone

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Re: Punching
« Reply #27 on: June 08, 2006, 12:53:40 PM »

Recently my opinion is changed in regards to punching.
Body mechanics is crucial top 2 knuckles seem to really cause a metacarpal problem.
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Ed Stowers

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Re: Punching
« Reply #28 on: June 08, 2006, 02:43:09 PM »

Care to expound upon that ,Mario?
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mleone

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Re: Punching
« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2006, 04:34:10 AM »

The only thing I can tell you Ed is Hit a really tight and stiff heavy bag. Something with no resistance. A very very stiff bag. You will feel it if you fall off line...The wrist will bend a bit and effect the metacarpals.
Top two are supposed to align with the straightness of the forearm. So if your off a bit you feel it up in the metacarpals.


Basically if your offline from your target a bit you will feel it in your wrist.

Mccaan showed me a new way.... Something I would have to physically show and share.
Couldnt be explaiined really. So Im working what he showed me!

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