How to make a clinched fist:
- Hold arm straight out in front of the body with hand held flat (palm down) with fingers straight and together with thumb sticking out.
- Starting with the little finger, tightly roll all the fingers inward until they are tightly curled.
- Fold thumb firmly down over first and second fingers and tighten the entire fist by squeezing all fingers and thumb inward, into the curl and by squeezing the thumb/index finger and little finger horizontally toward each other.
- Keep fist in a straight line with the forearm with wrist locked.
- Tighten fist, wrist, and forearm until they become an integral unit.
- Individual fingers and wrist cannot withstand much force, but, as a part of a solid integral unit, they can withstand tremendous forces without injury.
- Keep thumb tightly curled so it does not snag on something while punching and does not give the opponent something to grab.
- Four-Knuckle Fist
The four-knuckle fist concentrates the striking force on the knuckles of the first phalanges, or finger bones. While weaker than the clinched fist, it may slip past blocks, penetrate deeper, and separate bones, such as ribs. It is mostly used to attack softer, deeper, targets such as the throat, organs, and pressure points.
Thumb sticks out between first and second finger of the fist.The thumb fist concentrates the striking force on the tip of the thumb. It is only used against soft targets, such as the eyes or pressure points.
The one-knuckle fist concentrates the striking force on the middle finger knuckle; the index finger knuckle may also be used. It is often used in a twisting, "drilling" manner against pressure points.
The Isshinryu fist is an Okinawan variant devised by Tatsuo Shimabukuro, the founder of Isshinryu karate. He claimed that by locking the thumb atop the index finger, the thumb was protected and the wrist was stiffened.
The punch is launched from the side, keeping the fist vertical the entire time. The elbow is kept close to the side and the shoulder is relaxed and dropped. The punch is usually practiced targeted at the solar plexus. The punch strikes with the first two knuckles of the hand, keeping the elbow slightly bent, and is then snapped back, much like cracking a whip.
The bent elbow prevent its injury if the punch misses or practicing without striking an object. The bent elbow also maximizes the blow as it permits the punch to be driven into the body. The bent elbow limits this a close-range punch.
The fist is made by holding the hand open and then slowly curling the fingers from the most distal knuckle until tight fist is formed. Then the thumb is pressed down on the second knuckle of the index finger. Styles which practice a twisting punch frequently wrap their thumb down over the fingers, which is how how Shimabuku taught a twisting punch. Since Isshin-ryu punches straight ahead, the vertical thumb position allows for cleaner alignment of the wrist and arm bones, supports and protects the thumb, and allows it to be used for jabbing pressure points.
The Motobu fist is another Okinawan variant; this one devised by Choki Motobu, a master who believed in heavy makiwara (forging post) training. In this punch, the index finger is folded straight, not curled with the other fingers. Motobu claimed this made the fist smaller and tighter, allowed the index knuckle to protrude, and it backed up and supported the thumb. If a clinched fist is struck directly on the thumb, the thumb may be pushed into the hollow of the fist and dislocated or broken, however, with the Motobu fist, the thumb is supported by the index finger.
In his master text, Karate-do Kyohan, Gichen Funakoshi teaches this fist (seiken) as the regular fist to be used as the primary hand weapon..
The Hikuta hand is fist variation supposedly used in the ancient Egyptian art of Kuta that was supposedly developed by the bodyguards of the pharaohs and then passed on to other royal bodyguards in Asian countries. Kuta is so ancient that apparently no one had heard of it until it was explained by DOK (Defender of Kings) Lee in 1993. Lee was supposedly taught the art by one of the last surviving members of a secret commando group that had disbanded in the 1940s, a man he called "Pappy Joe." The Hikuta hand is included here as an example of how far some people will go to gain attention, and how gullible some people can be.