Thursday, April 16, 2009

Striking Points

In a continuation of my previous post, I'll discuss some of the areas used to deliver those proper strikes. Instead of particular techniques (jab, reverse punch, side kick, etc.), here I'll discuss particular parts of the body.

There are a few different schools of thought when it comes to the part of the fist one should strike with. Probably the most popular in the martial arts (karate and taekwondo immediately come to mind) is the first two knuckles. Others emphasize using the last two knuckles (as in some styles of boxing), while some others teach using the flat surface created by the three knuckles running from the middle finger to the pinkie. Whichever you use, the best target areas are the solar plexus and the sides of the body.

Extended knuckle
The extended knuckle works well in both striking motions (like throwing a punch) and also by digging into areas like the throat (as a last resort of course) and the sides of the body right under the ribs.

Hammer fist
Personally this is one of my favorite areas (the palm is the other) and one I tend to teach to novices in self-defense seminars because of the decreased chance of injury to yourself and the strength in the techniques. Because of it's versatility, it can be used to strike virtually any target area. Some of my favorites are the bridge of the nose and the collarbone.

Heel of the palm
I like this one for the same reasons as the hammer fist. Probably the best target area is the chin from below.

Elbow strikes are best delivered when thumb is parallel to the target area, for example, when striking on a horizontal plane (like striking the temple) the thumb should be horizontal as well. This places the forearm bones (radius and ulna) in their strongest positions. Another versatile area, the temple, solar plexus, and the throat are viable targets.

While not commonly taught outside of various kung fu styles, the bent wrist (also referred to as crane head or chicken wrist in some styles) creates a hard surface that can attack soft areas such as the groin.

This may be the area that everyone has used at some point in their lives. The groin, the solar plexus, and the thigh (especially the front and inner thigh) are great target areas.

Bottom of the shin (where the shin and foot meet)
Muay thai specialist love this area when performing leg kicks to the inner and outer thighs, which are also the most practical area to strike.

Along with the elbow, the heel is one of the two strongest bony areas in the body (anyone who's ever had their feet stepped on can second this). The most practical target area is the instep, but it can also be effective at the knee and thigh areas.

Edge of foot
A forgotten area outside of taekwondo styles, two of the best areas to target with this are the knee and shin.

Toes (while wearing shoes of course!)
Think of striking with the toes as being akin to extended knuckle strikes with the hand. The thighs are outstanding target areas for this weapon.

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