Monday, June 26, 2006

Punching: Request for Advice/Information

I started taking Judo when I was about 15, and have taken some kind of chop socky off-and on ever since. Coupla years of Judo, coupla years of Tae Kwon Do, coupla years of Hapkido, coupla years of Brazilian ju-jitsu and MMA. Now I'm trying out boxing. Thing about most of the striking-style chop socky I've taken is that their approach to fighing is completely unrealistic. After many years of thinking about and messing around with this stuff, my conclusion is that the grappling styles are far more practical and useful.

But, anyway, here I'm interested in the striking styles. Punches in Tae Kwan Do (and the derivative Hapkido) and similar styles are kind of a fact, lots of stuff in TKD is a joke. When people ask my advice on this stuff, I sometimes tell them that 'Tae Kwon Do' is Korean for 'how to get your ass kicked.' I learned some important stuff from TKD, but I'm really, really glad it's not the only thing I ever studied.

Now, one thing that most chop socky has in common with boxing is that the CW is that you have to twist your fist at the end of a punch, so that your knuckles are horizontal. This is supposed to give your punch a "snap." Thing is, this doesn't make much sense. I mean, I do it that way because, so far as I can tell, it's just as easy as leaving your knuckles vertical, or in an intermediate position. But I just don't see how rotating the fist around the x axis is going to do anything to the speed along the x axis.

Now, there may be some physiological thing here that I don't know about--given the way the muscles etc. are, this may be a more natural position and have advantages because of that. Punching with knuckles horizontal feels rather more natural to me, but not a lot, and twisting the fist at the last instant, rather than from the beginning, adds nothing so far as I can tell.

Anyway...anybody know what's up with this stuff?


Blogger Big Ben said...

I can tell you that a lot of the old ninjutsu styles and the aiki variations that include striking tend not to do the snap, and leave the fist vertical. But those punches are mostly designed to move the opponent's body rather than to do striking damage, so there may be something to the twisty thing.
I once had a long beer-fueled argument with a karate dude about this, where he kept insisting that the snap added power and focus, but the mechanism was never realy explained beyond "it's like how tennis players put spin on the ball to make it go faster", which is clearly silly. I've read that the snap "creates torque" and "adds snap", but I've never seen a good explanation for this.

1:53 AM  
Blogger rilkefan said...

Well, there's always the tearing-the-skin hypothesis - but if your arm musculature is like mine, you can verify this by simply extending your fist and comparing the vertical, 45-degree, and horizontal positions. You'll find there is less tension in the latter. This translates to less striking force in the vertical position because you're fighting that tension.

Being exhausted from lack of sleep and having one's arms tired due to having to hold a beautiful lonesome baby may make the above expt easier to perform.

I likely won't be commenting much for a while given the last.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"it's like how tennis players put spin on the ball to make it go faster"

Yep, silly. Mistakes need for cause.

Tennis players put spin on the ball so it will curve and they can therefore hit it harder without hitting it out.

2:32 PM  

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