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CHAPTER's 3 & 4 THE FIST AND OPEN HAND TECHNIQUES General Warfare Tactics. For Public Information and Research Only.

General Comments on The Fist

The skin and bones of the fist are liable to suffer much more trauma than then objects they connect with in a fight. The skin covering the knuckles is very thin and liable to break open when it strikes a solid surface. When you punch an opponent in the mouth, the skin will cut open by the opponent's teeth. This will lead to other health problems, including infection with AIDS, hepatitis, jaundice, and other debilitating problems. Compared with other weapons of the hand the fist is not a reliable, long term, general-purpose weapon. Despite this reality, the fist remains the principal weapon in close combat for the novice fighter. This is because it is a natural, nurtured and cultural expression of aggression.

Natural It is a natural expression of aggression because most people will clench their fists when they are under stress. In many cases, individuals will telegraph their intentions by approaching you with their fists clenched. In conflict resolution, where the minimum amount of force is required, the approach of the individual who intends resolving the situation is open handed. This is instantly recognised as non-offensive. The individual who intends using a sucker punch will also use this open handed approach.

Nurtured A false sense of security in the use of the fist can be nurtured through success in childhood fistfights. The bones of a child's fist are more pliant than adults. There is much more give when a child's fist strikes another's skull. Adult bones are much more solid. When bones connect in a fight they do not bend or spread, they will splinter and break. Success in playground fights will not prepare you for adult combat.

Cultural From a cultural perspective, the sport of boxing is very popular and the media, to represent aggression, uses the fist. These factors can lead to individuals emulating their screen or ring idols by using their fists. It must never be forgotten that boxing is only a sport. It is now a sanitized version of a very practical form of close combat. Boxing originally included; cross-buttocks, choking, eye gouging, foot stamping, tripping, head butting, spitting, headlocks, kicking and arm locks.

Because of these cultural and natural tendencies, it is inevitable that individuals will have to either defend themselves from or resort to fist fighting in close combat. For that reason, this chapter will illustrate several fist techniques. When the fist is used in combat, it must be protected with a knuckle-duster or sturdy gloves.


For the purposes of both defense and attack, spend at least one month in daily practice of the basic punch. This practice will not be wasted; you will develop your attacking muscles so that you can deliver more powerful attacks. Coordinating the following seven principles will develop your power punches:

• Defend yourself with both arms in front of your body, close to the centre line.

• Keep your arms only slightly tensed.

• Wait until your fist moves out. Then increase the impact by moving your shoulders, hips, legs and feet towards the target.

• Breathe out during the punch.

• Just before contact, tense the fist and lock your wrist so that the hit is solid.

• To reduce ligament and joint damage, the arm is never thrown out to its full extent. Finish the punch with your arm still slightly bent.

• For the recovery and your defense, relax your retreating arm slightly and get back on guard.

The Basic Punch

The basic punch starts with the fist palm up against the hip (Fig1). Your feet should be in line and shoulder width apart. Imagine that at arms length there is a centre line from head to toe and you direct your punches into it. On the full thrust of your arm, the palm of your hand is facing down. To lock your fist for the impact, push the thumb side of your fist forward. The back of your fist should be straight with the forearm and locked so that the wrist can cope with the impact.

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