Do not pre-shape your hand for an attack. For example, if you normally fight with closed fists, do not open you hand into a knife hand shape before using a knife hand attack. Your hand should shape into its striking shape while it is on the way toward its target. This way, you do not telegraph your attack, and you may change the hand shape into a different attack shape if the opponent does something that precludes your using the originally intended attack. However, you may pre-shape the hand as a fake to make your opponent think you are about to use a technique.
Some people fight with closed fists, some with open hands. If you fight with open hands, keep the fingers bent and thumbs tucked in. When I fight an open-handed fighter who has straight fingers, I accidentally smack their fingertips; it discourages them very quickly. If you see a thumb sticking out, then accidentally snag it; it is difficult for an opponent to fight effectively with a strained thumb.
Hand Moves First
When attacking with the hands, the hands move first. For example, in a jab, the hand directly at the target, with elbow pushing it, then the shoulder pushes the arm, the torso twists as the hips snap into the movement, and finally the legs drive into the movement from the soild floor. Do not think of the fist moving first and dragging the elbow behind; instead, think of the elbow driving the fist toward the target. This motion will add power to the punch and minimize telegraphing the attack.
Power can be concentrated properly only when the hips, chest, shoulders, arms, wrists, and fists are firmly linked, and all the necessary muscles are used properly. By proper use of the summation of forces the power flows smoothly from the legs and hips out through the fist at the point of contact. For this to happen it is necessary to release all unnecessary tension from the arm and the hand at the start. This allows the power to flow freely up through the body to be released in a concentrated blast at the moment of impact.
The correct path is determined by the position and angle of the target surface in relation to the attacker. To be most effective, the hand attack must strike the target surface at a 90 degree angle, going straight into the target, so that maximum force can be concentrated into the target. Striking the target at an angle may still be effective, just not as effective as an attack that travels straight into the target.
- Keep the upper body perpendicular to the ground. Do not lean.
- Form the attacking hand correctly and firmly.
- Be sure the hand travels to the target along the most direct route.
- When withdrawing the hand to the side, pull it back as if to hit the hip. Withdraw the hand at maximum speed.
- Keep the shoulders relaxed and in a natural position. There is a tendency for the shoulders to rise or for one shoulder to move ahead of the other.
- Tense the abdominal muscles at impact.
- Breathing should be coordinated with the attacking motion to develop effective focus.
- The stance from which the technique is delivered must be strong and stable.
- Power comes from the use of the hips and the pivot leg, not just the arms and shoulders.
- To extend the range of a hand attack, either move the entire stance toward the target, or widen the distance between the feet and lower the hips. Don't lean forward with the upper body, or reach with the shoulder.
- Only strike the head with open hand strikes. Save punches for the soft parts of the torso and neck. The exception to this rule is when you use a hammer fist. You can close your fist and still hit to the hard parts with the bottom of your fist without damaging your hands.