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avatarrules123
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 05 Aug 2020
Posts: 6


PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 7:44 pm    Post subject: Pros and cons of closed hand strikes vs. open hand strikes? Reply with quote

A friend studied Isshin-Ryu for 6 or so years, and when I was talking to him about it, he began talking about how many open strikes he used in tournaments and how they offer more force and power than closed hand strikes. (Maybe it was the style he was learning, but he made it seem like open hand techniques are much supperior to closed hand technique.) He also said that open hand strikes are also easier to learn and less likely to cause injury, though students progress to close fist strikes later on. My question is, what are the advantages (if any) of closed hand strikes? Is what my friend says accurate, or not so much? (He got to 2nd level brown belt) Any help/advice would be appreciated.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15511
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My most direct and simple answer is that the effectiveness of either, closed or open, depends not on the style and the like, and its methodology and ideology, but on the practitioner.

Either open or close hand techniques are equal and/or effective and/or its preference requires said practitioner to MAKE said technique effective, whether it be by choice or demand.

Imho!!



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Wastelander
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 2566
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It depends on the context and which open hand strikes you're comparing to which closed hand strikes, but there are definitely pros and cons to each. Consider a simple punch vs. palm heel example:

The punch has several inches of reach advantage over the palm heel, and makes contact with small, bony surfaces that can cause a lot of damage, BUT the small bones of the hand are prone to breaking if they make contact with a harder surface or at a bad angle, and the wrist can be prone to injury if it can't withstand the strain of the impact, and for those reasons it is more difficult to learn to punch correctly.

The palm heel takes the small bones of the hand and the complex joint of the wrist out of the equation, meaning that you can now strike with more power than you might have with the punch, without having to worry so much about injury, but you have lost several inches of reach and are now hitting with a larger, softer surface that will do less damage to the target, although this is easier to learn how to use properly.

This starts to change when you compare other strikes, like shuto-uchi vs. tetsui-uchi, for example, and you have to weigh the pros and cons based on what your intent is with them. Competition fighting often benefits significantly from a reach advantage, for example, where self defense benefits less.
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Kishimoto-Di | 2014-Present | Sensei: Ulf Karlsson
Shorin-Ryu | 2010-Present: Nidan | Sensei: Richard Poage (RIP), Jeff Allred (RIP)
Shuri-Ryu | 2006-2010: Sankyu | Sensei: Joey Johnston, Joe Walker
Judo | 2007-2010: Gokyu | Sensei: Joe Walker, Adrian Rivera
Karate Obsession | Arizona Practical Karate
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aurik
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 197
Location: Denver, CO
Styles: Shuri-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It depends greatly on your target, your style, and your degree of training/conditioning. For example, a closed-fist punch may seem natural, but for a relatively untrained student, it can also lead to various fractures (hand, wrist, etc).

A good instructor should teach you the proper ways to use the various strikes to avoid injury (to yourself) and maximize effectiveness in a self-defense situation. Our style preaches specific targets for our various techniques, depending on the weapon you are using and angle you’re attacking from, and our CI can give us a good reason based on anatomy for each one. At the beginning of each class, we practice each of those supplementary exercises, so by the time you are approaching brown belt/shodan, you can target those spots almost instinctively.

So again the short version is “it depends, but hopefully your CI is knowledgeable enough to teach you the what’s and whys”

I will say that a closed-fist punch from someone who has trained on the makiwara for decades feels like a sledgehammer when it lands. Part of our training involves our CI striking us (in a controlled manner) to the gut with a closed fist while performing Sanchin kata. I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that if he didn’t control it.
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Last edited by aurik on Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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RW
Green Belt
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Joined: 07 Mar 2009
Posts: 408


PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to wonder about this until I cross trained with Muay Thai.

Part of my MT training starts doing rounds on the heavy (muay thai) bag, which is longer than the boxing one and moves less.

It is very easy to damage your wrists if you don't wrap your hands correctly, wear the right gloves, and even then, your technique must be good or else you'll damage your wrists anyway.

Imagine hitting such a heavy bag full force using a nukite - that's a recipe for broken fingers. What about a shuto uchi? Not much risk of injury there, but you won't have much effect on the bag (trust me, I tried). What about a haito? If you use a traditional haito (ridge hand), you won't do much damage either and your knuckles tend to squeeze against each other, and the wrist feels unstable.

The only strike I could do full force vs the heavy bag was the tensho (palm) strike.

Another issue I found is that punches can be thrown without telegraphing much, while for some reason the angle in which one would throw a shuto uchi or tensho seems a bit telegraphed to me.


Coming to think about it, did we see many haitos/shuto uchis/nukites at full contact karate matches?
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RW
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 07 Mar 2009
Posts: 408


PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wastelander wrote:
It depends on the context and which open hand strikes you're comparing to which closed hand strikes, but there are definitely pros and cons to each. Consider a simple punch vs. palm heel example:

The punch has several inches of reach advantage over the palm heel, and makes contact with small, bony surfaces that can cause a lot of damage, BUT the small bones of the hand are prone to breaking if they make contact with a harder surface or at a bad angle, and the wrist can be prone to injury if it can't withstand the strain of the impact, and for those reasons it is more difficult to learn to punch correctly.

The palm heel takes the small bones of the hand and the complex joint of the wrist out of the equation, meaning that you can now strike with more power than you might have with the punch, without having to worry so much about injury, but you have lost several inches of reach and are now hitting with a larger, softer surface that will do less damage to the target, although this is easier to learn how to use properly.

This starts to change when you compare other strikes, like shuto-uchi vs. tetsui-uchi, for example, and you have to weigh the pros and cons based on what your intent is with them. Competition fighting often benefits significantly from a reach advantage, for example, where self defense benefits less.


I saw the link in your webpage and came across this:

https://www.karateobsession.com/2019/06/the-scissor-wedge-throws-of-tachimura-no-naihanchi.html

This is AWESOME. I am so excited to read this, naihanchi is one of my fave katas, I can't wait to drill this... thanks!
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1872

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Open hand and closed hand strikes are best compared to tools. Both are effective when applied effectively to appropriate target. A hammer is effective and so is a screwdriver. Yet, a hammer would be quite ineffective for inserting screws. It is a question of adapting one’s technique to the situation.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29040
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spartacus Maximus wrote:
Open hand and closed hand strikes are best compared to tools. Both are effective when applied effectively to appropriate target. A hammer is effective and so is a screwdriver. Yet, a hammer would be quite ineffective for inserting screws. It is a question of adapting one’s technique to the situation.
I agree here. And there have been lots of good points made throughout this post. I've heard it said that hard striking tools are best to use on soft targets (fists:body) and softer tools are better to use on harder targets (palms:face). I don't think this is necessarily a hard and fast rule, but I think it's worth considering when training, and when thinking about how you might hit someone if you every actually have to hit someone.

I like the idea of striking different targets with the same strike in practice. Focus mitts vs heavy bag, makiwara if you have it available (I never have, unfortunately), and even striking boards (starting with just one, and working up).

The next thing is to consider strikes in combination. Punching combinations feel very different when you switch to open hand palm strikes in the same combinations. So although a reverse punch and a reverse palm strike may be done mechanically the same, when you get in front of a bag with each, they dramatically change. It's difficult to hit a hanging heavy bag with a palm strike without putting an upward trajectory on it. On a standing bag, you can hit with the palm right at the top of the bag, if you can get it to be straight out from the body, and then it will be more like a straight punch. An uppercut punch is pretty flexible on the heavy bag, but an upwards palm strike has different usages (like breaking anatomy).

I guess what I'm getting at is to train and dink around with these things in various ways, and see what you discover about all our wonderful striking techniques.
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