Thursday, December 01, 2005

Hammerfist Strike

In Wing Chun the hammerfist is an often overlooked and under utilized striking technique. There are a few main concepts that I would like to firstly point out in order to outline how an effective hammerfist strike is done.

1. You are striking with a clenched fist and your point of impact is the lower pad of the palm below your little finger.

2. You point at your target with your elbow to line up your hammerfist strike.

3. The power is delivered by transferring your weight through your shoulder down your bent arm into the fist and is not gained by straightening the arm.

4. Your most effective targets are the collar bone, the bridge of the nose and the upper lip.

The hammerfist is an excellent breaking weapon and when used correctly will break what it hits which makes it a very useful tool for the Wing Chun student as that is typically our intention: Engage - Neutralize the threat - Walk away. We are not interested in scoring points or limiting damage to superficial bruising and so when you practice the hammerfist technique (and any Wing Chun technique) you should always bear this in mind and practice accordingly, aiming to destroy whatever you are targeting.

Lets now walk through a scenario of using the hammerfist effectively:

A useful way to deliver the hammerfist or indeed any offensive hand technique is to not have your opponent be able to defend the incoming strike for example in a right stance:

Throw a low lead strike to the stomach and as their hand comes down to block you step in and trap with your rear hand and strike with your lead hand to the face. As the block this reach up with your left and lap sao there blocking hand which will trap their arms and expose there face by their shoulder extending forward and downwards.

Raise your bent lead arm upwards and point at their upper lip with your elbow and deliver the hammerfist strike downwards by transferring your weight from an elevated position down through your shoulder and into your arm and fist striking the upper lip. The typical response to being hit with a hammerfist is that they will move backwards one or two steps and lose their defensive form so any number of follow up techniques can be utilized to finish off your opponent should it be required.

Note: When you use the hammerfist to strike the upper lip of your opponent you are likely to cut your hand as you smash through their upper lip and smash through their teeth. The exchange of a cut on your hand against their smashed teeth is worth it as this will undoubtedly end the engagement and allow you to walk away.

by Glenn Hodgkinson


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