3 Forearm, Wrist & Knuckle Alignments To Improve Punches & Strikes

Below is a 3 part video looking at alignments of the bones in the forearm, wrist and knuckles that are seldom (if ever) explained in martial arts. Occasionally some techniques do not use the best alignments simply due to style dogma . . . . . . . “we do it this way in our style” . . . . . without critically thinking it through. Yet big differences in the effectiveness of your punches and strikes can be made with very small adjustments. If we take the attitude that we are a martial artist first, and whatever style(s) we practice second; then we can keep an open mind to learn from anybody and everybody. When we identify ourselves by style first and foremost we risk shutting ourselves of from learning better ways.

Part 1 looks at alignment of the forearm bones on impact (as opposed to completion) when punching. There are 2 bones in the forearm, the ulna and the radius. At completion of a Karate/TKD/TSD and some Kung Fu punch, these bones are rotated around each other. This is actually a weaker alignment to actually connect your punch with, it’s stronger if these bones are straight. Yet very often, particularly for competition, we are taught to connect the punch after the forearm is rotated. We should connect whilst the bones are straight and rotate into the opponent AFTER contact/impact has been made.

Part 2 looks at the hand position whilst performing elbow strikes. Why does that matter?
The thing is, although we call it an elbow strike, we don’t usually actually strike with the elbow; we usually strike with the lower forearm just below the elbow joint. Now if we strike with the little finger towards the opponent, then the ulna bone comes to the front. If we turn the back of the hand towards the opponent as we strike, then the muscles comes to the front. It makes more sense to strike with a hard bone than a muscles!

Part 3 will be a bit more contentious. Most styles punch with the 2 big knuckles on the fist and would never consider punching with the small knuckles. There is a widely held fallacy in many martial arts (and I’ve heard it from some very senior martial artists) that the small knuckles are delicate and if you punch with them you are likely to break them. Yet styles such as Wing Chun primarily strike with small knuckles all the time, with a slightly adjusted wrist/forearm alignment and do so very effectively. So this belief does not hold up to scrutiny! There are time when it’s best to punch with the big knuckles and other times when it’s best to punch with the small knuckles, regardless of style. It all depends on the angle of attack and which knuckles are closest to the the target.

Anyway, more detail in the video below. Please keep an open mind and leave your comments and feedback.



Multiply your effectiveness with more impact for less effort and where to hit for best effect.

Bonus: Historical look at Bassai Dai, one of Karate’s most pivotal katas




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