Most of our intent is channelled into the material world via our hands. Practicioners of any method of massaging or Qigong will also tell you that energy, positive or negative, are easiest detected with and channeled through the hands.
It is therefore no surprise that humans, when they wish to attack each other, would inevitably use their hands to do so.
It is unfortunate that with the development and modernising of martial arts a lot of emphasis has been placed on the fist. One of the reasons for this is that most martial artist deem the fist the safest weapon to use in a contest. The result of this view is that a wide array of striking, thrusting and grabbing techniques get lost.
Personally I do not think it's any use if you practice a martial art only to find out that you are not equipped to dispose of adversaries above your weight class, or adversaries that are stronger than you. A simple punch may cause a lot of harm to an opponent of the same build as you, but will it work on a person with a more muscular build? The one knuckle fist and half fist (shown in the video) concentrate a lot of force into a small area and are ideal for attacking fleshy areas and the ribs. The one knuckle punch (known in kung fu as the "Phoenix Eye Fist") can damage an opponent's eye, overload a pressure point or paralyse muscle. The half fist (known in kung fu as the "Leopard Fist") can be used to traumatise ribs or crush a larynx. It can also be used to apply pressure to the philtrum (under the nose) to push an opponent's head away.
This note on using the one knuckle fist, half fist or finger tips: Do not thrust these weapons into a target with your body behind them! They were not meant to take the same strain as a clenched fist.
Rather keep the hands relaxed before attacking, then shooting the weapon towards its target with the quick snap of someone knocking on a door or tapping on a table top. Upon impact,send your energy into the blow as you harden the weapon. Do this right and you will give a powerful sting to the strongest of adversaries!
Karate and Kung Fu stress the importance of stance. Once again I will refer you to the discussion on the horse stance in the chapter on Force Training. A more detailed discussion on stance will follow in a separate post on footwork. Suffice it to say for now that the stance used should maintain tension in the legs, making them ready to spring towards the target. The upper body, arms and hands are relaxed, with some tension in the abdomen. At the end of the strike the whole body hardens as destructive energy passes through the weapon into the target. Both feet are rooted firmly to the ground and with sharp exhalation while performing the strike, qi is sunk, making the body heavy and hard.
Multiple strikes rely on a muscle's ability to twitch or contract and relax multiple times with rapid intervals. Qigong training is very helpful with this.
Grabbing techniques (known in Chinese as "Qin Na") serve as an attack in itself or as a pre-emptive attack to joint locks and throws. The squeezing motion should be sharp and sudden to cause the most damage. Joint locks rely on firm rooting and short movements. A sharp twist of the wrist is also necessary to make most joint locks effective.
Have fun practicing! Next post will deal with kicks!