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    Default Hand / Finger positions

    Hand positions.


    When you are in a ready position / fighting stance how do you hold your hands?

    What is the placement of your fingers, do they stand alone like a bunch of trees, or do they touch?

    Are your hands / fingers relaxed, or tense?

    Does it make a difference if the fingers or straight or bent?

    Can you feel a difference in the forearm if they are bent vs. straight?
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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    I will eagerly await replies on to this! Its probably because I'm just starting out, but every instructor I've seen says to use a fist, and yet every picture or video clip of an experienced Kenpoist shows more of an open hand, as you've described.

    jds
    "'The eyes are the groin of the head."

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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    Quote Originally Posted by bureau13 View Post
    I will eagerly await replies on to this! Its probably because I'm just starting out, but every instructor I've seen says to use a fist, and yet every picture or video clip of an experienced Kenpoist shows more of an open hand, as you've described.

    jds
    mmm Ive been teaching for a while, and I dont use a fist until impact.
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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    From what I've seen:
    Often a person who's new to the martial arts and Kenpo in particular is lead to maintain their hands in a closed fist position, the lead one about chin level or just below, the back on about chest level or just below. The explanation that I've heard is that it makes for less confusion as students can sometimes place too much 'analysis' and (Which in a NEW student, can lead to confusion) about where to place their hands and 'how' to hold them. It makes for a good, consistent point of origin. Also: When they're lead to start opening their hand or using open handed strikes/parries...they're often taught to have their fingers tight together. Again: The reason I've been told often times is that new students have a tendency to be imprecise and therefore can hurt their "loose" fingers very easily. Having them together and tight can help them keep from getting them hurt. As their skill and finesse increases, they can begin to really loosen up their fingers as they see fit.

    ME?
    I prefer to have open hands that are not 'straight' but slightly curved, my thumb hooking forward in front of the palm as though to make the sign language sign for the letter "C", the index finger almost straight (like when you do an eye gouge) the middle finger bent more than the index, the ring finger bent more than the middle finger and the pinky almost pointing back to it's own palm. ( This was the formation that Mr. Parker shared with me at a seminar of his that I attended. There weren't that many people there and he gave us a bit more individual attention. I specifically asked him about HOW and WHY he formed his fingers that way. He congratulated/complimented me on my observation and showed me about 6-7 ways to use this specific hand formation. )
    Arms: Elbows pointing downward, lead hand usually no lower than the solar plexus and not higher than my nose. The angle: The fingers of the lead arm tend to point toward my opponents forehead unless they are too close or too far. The back hand? It floats, usually, between my waist and sternum, in front of my solar plexus or lower/front ribs.

    This is all very "General". I think that the KEY to a Kenpoists hands is that they should be...
    .....where they NEED to be!

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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    Hand positions.


    When you are in a ready position / fighting stance how do you hold your hands?

    What is the placement of your fingers, do they stand alone like a bunch of trees, or do they touch?

    Are your hands / fingers relaxed, or tense?

    Does it make a difference if the fingers or straight or bent?

    Can you feel a difference in the forearm if they are bent vs. straight?
    "Chop hand" position. Fingers touch, middle two slightly bent but the hand is relaxed. Arms are bent and also relaxed.

    To me it makes a difference whether you're relaxed or not for the basic reason that any tension in your hands and arms will translate up to your shoulders etc... Slows you down, wears you out.
    Be careful what you say, some may take it the wrong way.

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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    Quote Originally Posted by bureau13 View Post
    I will eagerly await replies on to this! Its probably because I'm just starting out, but every instructor I've seen says to use a fist, and yet every picture or video clip of an experienced Kenpoist shows more of an open hand, as you've described.

    jds
    If your hands are not in a fist shape, it is more likely that you can jam or break a finger. As a beginner, it makes very good sense to use the fist shape. If you were to jam a finger, there would be considerable pain, which will certainly 'short-circuit' your thinking.

    As you progress in your studies, you will learn of the times we use open hands; such as push-down blocks, parries, and finger thrusts.

    As you progress further still, you will learn one method of keeping kenpo "explosive" is to be relaxed between the points of impact. When impact is made, the body should tense immediately, and then relax immediately. My guess is that the experienced practitioners you have witnessed are photographed in the 'relaxed' time (which is quite a bit greater than the tensed time).

    This is why the hands and fingers should be loose; with their natural, relaxed, curvature when in the ready position.

    Also, I prefer to be seen by the bad guy with my hands open, in a non-threatening manner; both hands up, and open. Although I will have my forward hand a bit higher than my rear hand, allowing me to quickly jump into zone protection .... or to step into the passive defensive position.

    Always keep your hands above your opponents.

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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    mmm Ive been teaching for a while, and I dont use a fist until impact.
    We teach a relaxed, closed fist to beginners and then allow them to open their hands after they have some experience. A lot of the strikes and blocks new students learn are closed hand techniques. It's also easier to injure an open hand then a closed fist. Later on, open hand parries start to become more prevalent, the student has developed a good chop hand and so we let them hold their hands open.
    Be careful what you say, some may take it the wrong way.

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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    Quote Originally Posted by michaeledward View Post
    If your hands are not in a fist shape, it is more likely that you can jam or break a finger. As a beginner, it makes very good sense to use the fist shape. If you were to jam a finger, there would be considerable pain, which will certainly 'short-circuit' your thinking.
    As usual Mr. Edward, SPOT ON!

    I'd just add ONE thing:
    NOT only would the pain of a broken finger inhibit the neophytes training, but having one or more fingers in one of those metal splints sure would mess up the process as well!!!!!

    Your Brother
    John
    Last edited by Brother John; 12-10-2007 at 11:15 AM. Reason: B-kus mah spelin taint no gud no houw
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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    Quote Originally Posted by jdinca View Post
    We teach a relaxed, closed fist to beginners and then allow them to open their hands after they have some experience. A lot of the strikes and blocks new students learn are closed hand techniques. It's also easier to injure an open hand then a closed fist. Later on, open hand parries start to become more prevalent, the student has developed a good chop hand and so we let them hold their hands open.
    I agree, makes one wonder why I asked the question.
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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    I agree, makes one wonder why I asked the question.
    Simple. To illicit feedback and enhance the discussion.
    Be careful what you say, some may take it the wrong way.

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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    Quote Originally Posted by jdinca View Post
    Simple. To illicit feedback and enhance the discussion.
    Correct sir, so lets take it to the next level.

    Does the posistion of each joint of the finger activate different muscles in the hand and forearm? How would this interact in determing a linear strike vs a circular strike? Can one feel the difference, and can one determine an attackers intent or path of travel by the shape of their hands ?
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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    Our instructors teach us to use fists. But as the ranks progress, the hands start to open as more techniques and forms require either chops or captures.

    I'm a blue belt and I just started getting techniques requiring sword blocks and one that captures the attackers hand.

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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    Quote Originally Posted by Saxman1819 View Post
    Our instructors teach us to use fists. But as the ranks progress, the hands start to open as more techniques and forms require either chops or captures.

    I'm a blue belt and I just started getting techniques requiring sword blocks and one that captures the attackers hand.
    How does it feel in the forearms when you met with resistance?
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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    Quote Originally Posted by michaeledward View Post
    If your hands are not in a fist shape, it is more likely that you can jam or break a finger. As a beginner, it makes very good sense to use the fist shape. If you were to jam a finger, there would be considerable pain, which will certainly 'short-circuit' your thinking.

    As you progress in your studies, you will learn of the times we use open hands; such as push-down blocks, parries, and finger thrusts.

    As you progress further still, you will learn one method of keeping kenpo "explosive" is to be relaxed between the points of impact. When impact is made, the body should tense immediately, and then relax immediately. My guess is that the experienced practitioners you have witnessed are photographed in the 'relaxed' time (which is quite a bit greater than the tensed time).

    This is why the hands and fingers should be loose; with their natural, relaxed, curvature when in the ready position.

    Also, I prefer to be seen by the bad guy with my hands open, in a non-threatening manner; both hands up, and open. Although I will have my forward hand a bit higher than my rear hand, allowing me to quickly jump into zone protection .... or to step into the passive defensive position.

    Always keep your hands above your opponents.
    I am with you up until the last line about always keeping your hands above your opponent.

    There are few absolutes. Some of the advantages are lower hand position include keeping them out of the vision of your opponent and starting from a more relaxed position. This will allow you to accelerate out of the curve and hide the technique until it is too late.
    More Shugyo!

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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    Correct sir, so lets take it to the next level.

    Does the posistion of each joint of the finger activate different muscles in the hand and forearm? How would this interact in determing a linear strike vs a circular strike? Can one feel the difference, and can one determine an attackers intent or path of travel by the shape of their hands ?
    Certainly. It depends on the point of origin and the point of insertion of the muscle in question but yes, it will activate other muscles and other parts of the arm.

    I'm going to have to ponder #2 a bit. From a mind/no mind point of view, I don't think this question would come into play, at least it shouldn't. From a learning/teaching aspect, I'm going to have to give it some thought.

    You can definitely feel the difference. Example; heel hand with half curled fingers vs. extended fingers. Curled will also tighten muscles in the forearm, giving you a more solid backing for your strike, but it may make it slightly slower as a result. Extended fingers will give you a little more speed. Both can do damage and redirect but, to me, the priorities are flipped based on the hand position. Curled fingers, more damage, extended fingers, less damage, but quicker to set up the attacker for the next strike (we're really splitting hairs here!).

    I wouldn't want to try and determine intent and path of travel based on hand shape. I have no idea what the attackers knowledge is, if any, or if that's just the way he's alway held his hands. A closed fist can become an open hand, and vice versa, during the hands travel towards your body.
    Be careful what you say, some may take it the wrong way.

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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    Quote Originally Posted by gakusei View Post
    I am with you up until the last line about always keeping your hands above your opponent.

    There are few absolutes. Some of the advantages are lower hand position include keeping them out of the vision of your opponent and starting from a more relaxed position. This will allow you to accelerate out of the curve and hide the technique until it is too late.
    Interesting points.

    I agree, it's not an 'absolute', but I will say it's almost always advisable, and tactically sound.

    I don't think I agree that having the hands begin from a lower position means that they are more relaxed. I can have my hands quite high w/out undue tension.

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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    Quote Originally Posted by jdinca View Post
    Certainly. It depends on the point of origin and the point of insertion of the muscle in question but yes, it will activate other muscles and other parts of the arm.

    I'm going to have to ponder #2 a bit. From a mind/no mind point of view, I don't think this question would come into play, at least it shouldn't. From a learning/teaching aspect, I'm going to have to give it some thought.

    You can definitely feel the difference. Example; heel hand with half curled fingers vs. extended fingers. Curled will also tighten muscles in the forearm, giving you a more solid backing for your strike, but it may make it slightly slower as a result. Extended fingers will give you a little more speed. Both can do damage and redirect but, to me, the priorities are flipped based on the hand position. Curled fingers, more damage, extended fingers, less damage, but quicker to set up the attacker for the next strike (we're really splitting hairs here!).

    I wouldn't want to try and determine intent and path of travel based on hand shape. I have no idea what the attackers knowledge is, if any, or if that's just the way he's alway held his hands. A closed fist can become an open hand, and vice versa, during the hands travel towards your body.
    Now we are having fun.

    If the index finger is straight the brain says push. If its bent it says pull. YES / No ???????
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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    Now we are having fun.

    If the index finger is straight the brain says push. If its bent it says pull. YES / No ???????
    Which direction is the finger pointed? Is the palm facing in, or out? If you're pointing the finger, then I would agree.
    Be careful what you say, some may take it the wrong way.

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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    [quote=bureau13;75879...every instructor I've seen says to use a fist, and yet every picture or video clip of an experienced Kenpoist shows more of an open hand...

    jds[/quote]

    Good observation, and an important one. Hand positions get particularly strange when the camera comes out (photo op? - note that even EP was not without his poses). And, video clips are a departure from violent reality as well, as they are designed to illustrate / demonstrate something, not exemplify a life threatening situation.

    I personally use the fists as it is a primal default and the safest way to protect the (very delicate) digits in a violent maylay. I'll open a hand as needed to achieve a particular weapon (or grab, etc.) , but return it to a fist (though not necessarily clenched) as a neutral starting point. When evaluating our basic platform, which hand and fingering positioning is a part of, we should consider it not from the perspective of a technique line, on the mats or when facing an "opponent" (as opposed to an enemy), or demonstrating something, but in a situation where we (no matter what your level is) are under extreme life-threatening stress. Fanciful motions and positions disappear when you put someone at their wits end, no different for hand positions.

    Good topic,

    Steven Brown
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    Default Re: Hand / Finger positions

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    can one determine an attackers intent ... by the shape of their hands ?
    While I am not really skilled or practiced enough to do so reliably on the fly, I understand that you can indeed tell an intended push from a grab, for example, by the shape of the hand.
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