Punching for Self-Defense
1. Should I punch?
Many self-defense courses first teach how to punch in their classes. Punching can be a valuable tool for people to learn. That said, its valuable when it’s taught secondarily to other strikes. Generally speaking punching shouldn’t be the primary striking method taught for self-defense. In this article I’ll explain why! Read on!
2. Punching can damage your hands
Punching with a closed fist in a street fight will generally result in a broken hand. This is because the bones in the wrist are susceptible to being broken when in the position of a fist. This is the reason boxers, MMA fighters and other sport-fighters wear wraps around their hands. Also they will put padded gloves over their hands that range in size depending on the sport. These gloves further ensure that the fighters wont break their hands.
3. It takes a long time
Punching properly takes a long time to learn how to do. To do it you have to practice extensively on keeping your wrist straight. This ensures the bones don’t break upon impact. Also, you must learn how to squeeze your hand as tight as possible when your hand makes impact with its target. This takes training and practice and still you can break your hand when hitting harder surfaces like different parts of the head, the chin etc.
4. It doesn’t cause as much damage
Punching delivers less damage than other forms of striking. This is due to the fact that it’s very difficult to hit full-power with a fist. Intuitively to not break your hand you’ll tend to punch less hard. This is evidenced by early MMA fights wherein the participants didn’t wear gloves or wraps. They frequently broke their hands and weren’t able to hit full-power.
5. Strike with the open-hand!
Therefore, due to these reasons punching isn’t a good strategy for self-defense. If you’re assaulted damaging your hand can be disastrous. Also you need to be able to deliver powerful strikes quickly without fear of harming your hands. Therefore, a better option is to use open-hand strikes such as palm-heels, chops to the throat, eye strikes, pokes and elbows. All of these strikes can be delivered full-power with minimal damage of harming your own body. Therefore any self-defense class that you take should begin by teaching it’s students to strike with open-hand blows primarily.
The good news for punching enthusiasts is that it can still be used for self-defense. However, it should be used for softer targets like the solar plexus. These targets can be struck with limited fear of damaging the hand to the same degree that hitting the head can have. So happy striking people! Keep those hands open when hitting.