Monday, July 16, 2007

Today's TDA Tip: Protect your hands!

The hands are critical to self-defense, as well as more mundane, but important things like shaking hands, signing your name, and typing. But for self-defense purposes, they can mean the difference between life and death. The fingers allow gripping of a weapon, countering or initiating grabs, and striking, therefore, it's critical to protect them.

For those who box, a common mistake is punching as if you're still wearing gloves when you aren't. Gloves all but ignore the thumbs, so those who use them most of the time tend to forget to clinch them either alongside or under the fist. Also, with gloves, it isn't as critical to squeeze the fingers and make a hard fist when punching because a fight or training wrap makes such skills unnecessary.

If you do find yourself having to fight without hand protection, remember the following:

  • If striking, keep the fingers together and the thumbs tucked alongside the fingers, similar to a knifehand, but Protect your handswithout tension.

  • If making a fist, remember to clinch all of the fingers into the palm, then wrap the thumb or place it alongside the fist (there are different approaches, so consult your instructor). Tighten the fist before impact to increase the damage your punch inflicts, but also to protect your hands, wrists, and fingers.

  • If you do a finger strike or eye jab, relax the fingers, keeping some tension (not much), but let your fingers give way if they strike a forehead or fist. Better to give a little than let the stiffened fingers be sprained or broken on impact.

  • When training in grappling, exercise great control if using small joint (finger) manipulation, and agree on an intensity level beforehand. If the recipient of a fingerlock, tap before taking possibly permanent damage. If in competition or training, keep the fingers closed and together to avoid the opportunity for a lock by your opponent.

See also:
What My Broken Finger Has Taught Me
Hand protection: what is the cost?
Blue Wave TKD's post, "we can rebuild him..."

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