Have you ever sparred opponents who fought with open hands and would periodically slap their chest or other parts of their bodies? Sometimes it may be a tic or bad habit the fighters picked up somewhere in their training, but sometimes it is because they have been taught that way. Taekwondo instructors do not teach this technique, but if the person using it has had prior training in martial arts, such as in American Kenpo or Shaolin Long Fist, they may have been taught it there.
Kenpo is often called the slapping art; they perform what has been called a “slap dance.” If you watch Kenpo students practice hand attacks, as one hand strikes outward, the other hand slaps the chest and then rebounds outward into an attack. Sometimes this is repeated at a high speed.
Some reasons Kenpo gives for using the slap check are:
- To get a rebound effect when bouncing you hand or arms off your body and the opponent’s body.
- To return your hands quickly to a protective position and give them a starting point from which an attack may be launched quickly in any direction.
- To train yourself to recoil your attacks inward as fast as you strike them outward.
- To minimize harm done to your training partners while you practicing in class.
- To indicate where your attack will land on your opponent’s body by striking your body on the same spot. This helps you train yourself to strike this point accurately on the opponent’s body.
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