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TMA UnderGround >> The vertical fist


7/19/06 6:11 AM
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ChanceDuBois
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Edited: 19-Jul-06 06:13 AM
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What are the advantages/ disadvantages of vertical fist punching as seen in many chinese traditional arts and eg isshin ryu and other Okinawan karate. Usually practitioners of these styles stress either the safty aspects of the vertical fist (less hand breaks) or the structural advantages (connection of elbow to hips through the structure). Why is vertical fist punching so prevalent in these trad styles but so completely absent from modern sports MA like boxing, muay thai and MMA? If these sports were fought bare knuckle would we see vertical fist making a comeback? What are the disadvantages of vertical fist? I can think of 2: it creates a different feel to punching that may be less natural and it limits protection for the head. Discuss.
7/19/06 11:43 AM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 19-Jul-06
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The chinese styles employing it are usually ones that rely heavily on the centerline concept. I think centerline playes little role outside trapping range. Obviously, the centerline is better protected while punching with a vertical fist. This aspect is completely unimportant when using boxing gloves. Horizontal punches have more reach because you can add upper body movement easily. I think it's also easier to fire from many body angles. Vertical punching styles are usually very inflexible in the torso area. The placement of the arms after throwing a horizontal punch allows IMO to enter the clinch more naturally. The vertical fist has advantages when firing from very close range. There is no one-or-three-inch-power-punch with a horizontal fist. But at very close distance, clinching is usually employed in all the modern sports you've mentioned. Interestingly, the vertical fist was once heavily employed in boxing. Here's a pic of Jack Dempsey using it.
8/1/06 7:17 AM
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Samatikan
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Edited: 01-Aug-06
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^Not true, only a matter of training/getting used to it. Just like you got used to turning the fist over.
8/1/06 11:32 AM
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ChanceDuBois
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Edited: 01-Aug-06
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I don't understand the hand breaks side of the issue..surely it is safer to punch with the larger two knuckles rather than the smaller 3 and rist breaking the pinky metacarpal? People that do a lot of bare hand striking (kyokushin/enshin/shidokan) always use the big 2 knuckles and usually a horizontal fist.
8/1/06 1:42 PM
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ChanceDuBois
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Edited: 01-Aug-06 01:43 PM
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I agree on the hip torque, just tried both and the turn makes it easier to put the hips behind the shot. What about the large vs small knuckles issue? PS one power benefit I can see with vertical fist is connection of elbow to hip via structure. maybe that counters the negative of less hip behind the shot? Elbows are more prone to flare out of a twisted punch which is not good mechanically but I still feel a regular punch is harder.
8/1/06 3:28 PM
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Samatikan
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Edited: 01-Aug-06
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"I agree on the hip torque, just tried both and the turn makes it easier to put the hips behind the shot." Like I said, you are used to doing the horizontal. You think you can just switch and be just as effective? Not going to happen, you need to practice. Otherwise, it is the same. Punching with the big knuckles is NOT a problem with the v fist. Put your fist in the proper h-fist position, now rotate to v-fist. You are now ready to punch with the two big knuckles. There is NO mechanical and/or physical advantage/dissadvantage to v-fist versus h-fist. The only difference is in the fact that you are used to doing one and not the other. For the same reason you would not wear a pair of brand new shoes to a race, you should not try the v-fist in a fight without adequate practice. "There is a reason styles that use vertical punches(e.g. Wing Chun, Issin Ryu) use fast, "snapping" punches; because it is more difficult to get your hips (torque-wise) into a punch using a vertical fist." This is just bullshit. WC uses hips as much as others. "I don't really think this is debateable" What you mean is that you don't really have an argument for it and you don't want to debate it because you can't put any facts behind your statement.
8/2/06 10:18 AM
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Willybone
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Edited: 02-Aug-06
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I feel more comfortable with a vertical fist when doing an uppercut, like Dempsy. When I'm in the head range, horizontal feel right.
8/5/06 3:37 PM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 05-Aug-06
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With me, it's exactly the other way around.
8/8/06 5:23 AM
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ChanceDuBois
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Edited: 08-Aug-06
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Why does wing chun advocate landing on the three smaller knuckles?
8/9/06 11:20 AM
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Samatikan
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Edited: 09-Aug-06
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Do they? I worked out regularly with a WC guy along time ago and I never saw him do anything like that. I can't say for sure, but it may be a single type of punch in the arsenal? For example, there are well over a dozen ways to strike in Shotokan, yet the regular closed fist is used almost exclusively.
8/9/06 12:04 PM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 09-Aug-06 12:05 PM
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In the Leung Ting style it is strongly stressed to punch with the lower three fingers (and aim with the second lowes) when using the fist. One can read about it in the book "On single Combat" by Kernspecht, the second highest ranking guy in that style.
8/9/06 12:13 PM
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Samatikan
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Edited: 09-Aug-06
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"In the Leung Ting style it is strongly stressed to punch with the lower three fingers (and aim with the second lowes) when using the fist." Sheesh!! How prevalent is this system and what have they done to show this as a viable punch (besides theory)?
8/9/06 12:54 PM
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ChanceDuBois
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Edited: 09-Aug-06 01:07 PM
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Samatikan, while I commend your skeptical approach, it gets a bit pointless past a certain point. WT is possibly the most widespread form of wing chun. It is the method practised by Emin Bozwhatever the guy who pussied out of fighting Royce. It is perhaps the most commercialised type of wing chun. All of the major wing chun groups advocate the three knuckle landing for the standard sun character punch. You can find this out pretty easily. Its just the way they do it and I'm not sure why. When I've asked I've been told that its a similar theory to the Dempsey straight jolt advocated in his "championship fighting" book. I personally trained the WSL method and this is how they punched mostly. I always wondered why given the supposed fragility of the smaller knuckles. Wong himself fought quite a few bare hand matches using this type of punch. Some JKD lines also punch this way reflecting Bruce Lee's wing chun background. Wing chun people tend to argue that the smaller 3 knuckles are better supported than the top two. I don't know if I buy it.
8/9/06 1:46 PM
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Samatikan
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Edited: 09-Aug-06
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"Samatikan, while I commend your skeptical approach, it gets a bit pointless past a certain point." Why? I'm skeptical because a) even though I haven't actively trained in WC, I have practiced with a few guys and NEVER saw this as a part of their attack, and b) in my more than 30 years of MA practice, which include amateur boxing, I have seen MANY broken hand-bones, and ALL of them involved the area of the three lower knuckles. In fact YOUR reply pretty much agrees that my skepticism is well founded, so I don't get the snide remark. I have not claimed to be knowledgeable in WC, so my comments in this regard are strictly that; skepticism. My personal experience with WC however, goes contrary to the lower knuckle theory. So my question still stands, what have they done to show that this is a viable punch (again, besides theory)? Oh, and btw, regarding the Dempsey comment: They wore gloves, and STILL suffered (then and now) broken hands.
8/9/06 2:09 PM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 09-Aug-06
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"How prevalent is this system" It's the most prevalent Wing Chun style wordldwide. It's extremely popular, especially in Europe. "and what have they done to show this as a viable punch (besides theory)?" I punch with a vertical fist, so don't ask me... "the guy who pussied out of fighting Royce. It is perhaps the most commercialised type of wing chun." ??? Actually, he never got a chance to fight Royce.
8/9/06 3:32 PM
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ChanceDuBois
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Edited: 09-Aug-06 03:33 PM
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Samatikan, I'm not trying to be snide..its just that wing chun punching with the 3 knuckles is commmon knowledge. I wonder what kind of wing chun guys you were training with, thats all. Most of them actually put a lot of emphasis on the superiority of the 3 knuckle landing. Regarding viability, the WSL place I trained at did land punches in sparring this way, it just never felt right to me. Wing chun challenge matches (of which there were a lot in the past) also used the vertical fist and 3 knuckle landing. I don't know how common hand breaks were in these matches. Personally I don't like the 3 knuckle landing because it feels wrong, that's why I asked if anyone has a good reason for doing it, besides feel and personal preference. Personally my larger knuckles feel more solid to me.
8/10/06 7:37 AM
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Samatikan
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Edited: 10-Aug-06
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The science behind it all says that the two big knuckles are better anchored by the radial and ulnar bones. I broke a guy's hand by kicking his fist (not on purpose), and it broke at the bone over the pinky knuckle. This kind of break is just too common to ignore. I was a huge Bruce Lee fan. I read everything I could about him and obviously I read the Tao of JKD. Nowhere does he mention or make any reference to this kind of punch. He does however go into a lot of detail on the vertical fist. I'll review the book later just to be certain, but I'm sure my recollection is accurate. And IIRC (I might be mistaking him for someone else here), he even mentions something about the "square fist", which lands with the entire surface of the knuckle area. Apparently, his WC background was not important enough in that regard(?) You could see the strong WC influence in most of his work, yet NOTHING on the three-knuckle punch??? If you look at footage of his "one-inch-punch", you can see that he uses a vertical fist AND he punches with the top knuckles.
8/10/06 9:19 AM
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ChanceDuBois
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Edited: 10-Aug-06 09:20 AM
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Samatikan, not to make this a wing chun thread but your description of the inch punch is off. Initially the top two knuckles contact lightly with the body with hand cocked downwards and held vertical and relaxed. Stance is moved and connected through waist as elbow drives forward and bottom 3 knuckles are driven up from the wrist which explains why wrist force is important in WC. The force is issued through the 3 smaller knuckles. This is the standard wing chun inch punch Bruce learned to the second form level of wing chun from Wong Shun Leung, the main fighting guy in Yip Man WC. WSL wing chun most definately emphasises the vertical fist and contact with 3 bottom knuckles. Ring knuckle is the focus and aiming knuckle. I'm not saying this is the correct way to punch (in fact I think its wrong), but this is how wing chun people punch. I'm not sure why you are debating it when it is so easy to find out. I don't know what the WC guys you trained with were doing. Here is an article on the very standard wing chun sun punch. http://www.wingchunkuen.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=40 Note: other knuckles may be used for different types of punch: eg the first finger knuckle on phoenix eye fist.
8/10/06 9:28 AM
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Samatikan
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Edited: 10-Aug-06
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I'm not debating whether it is used or not, I'll cede that point since, as I already mentioned, I'm not trained in WC. I'm pointing out why I think it isn't a good punch. As a backup to this opinion, I mention the lack of any reference to said punch by some famous WC guy (Lee). Can you comment on that?
8/10/06 10:58 AM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 10-Aug-06
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Here is a article on the one inch punch. It would never work with the top knuckles.
8/10/06 1:47 PM
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ChanceDuBois
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Edited: 10-Aug-06
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Bruce Lee used the 1 inch punch as described by me and in Dogberts article. That is how it is done..it does not work with the top knuckles. If Lee never mentioned it I really don't know why. However, remember he was only an intermediate WC student and also cross trained in lots of other things..perhaps he just found a way he liked better. So we have 1 advantage of the vertical fist with 3 knuckle landing- it makes inch punching possible using WC mechanics. I am still not convinced of its safety though. The forearm bone on the pinky side of the arm (radius) is much thinner than on the thumb side (ulna)
8/13/06 10:44 AM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 13-Aug-06
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"So we have 1 advantage of the vertical fist with 3 knuckle landing- it makes inch punching possible using WC mechanics. I am still not convinced of its safety though. The forearm bone on the pinky side of the arm (radius) is much thinner than on the thumb side (ulna)" I think this is kina irrelevant with reagrds to the 1" punch, which goes to a soft spot on the torso. If you want to hit the solar plexus from very close, you know what to do. Which still leaves the question as to how to punch the head open.
8/14/06 7:10 AM
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Samatikan
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Edited: 14-Aug-06
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"Which still leaves the question as to how to punch the head open." See the thread on Hand Conditioning.
8/14/06 12:11 PM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 14-Aug-06
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...and still be able to stroke your girlfriends face.
8/14/06 12:17 PM
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Samatikan
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Edited: 14-Aug-06
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See the Hand Conditioning thread.

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