Palm Strike vs. Fist Punch

Discussion in 'Boxing' started by lonerider9, Aug 6, 2013.


Palm or fist strike?

  1. Palm Strike

  2. Fist Strike

  1. lonerider9

    lonerider9 You only live once

    I have heard a lot of ideas about why one is better then the other. Palm strikes seem to be safer especially for beginners. Fist strikes have more knockout power, ect.

    I am curious to know that this forum has to say regarding the pros and cons to both strikes.
    Vldz and cqcacademy like this.
  2. Pedro

    Pedro Baek Doo San

    Both use the same arm motion, the only thing that I'm aware of is that the palm strike is softer because the part of your hand that hits has more meat and fat underneat, and the area of the strike is also bigger, therefore the pressure is smaller.
    For beginners and for light sparring is safer indeed. :)
  3. Sensei Martin

    Sensei Martin Warrior Monk

    It's really a simple rule ... "IF Hard target - use Soft weapon ... IF Soft target - use Hard weapon."

    This is a universal rule for Both beginners and advanced.

    Just think what a closed fist punch to the teeth will do to your fist.
    Aaron, Vldz, SifuPhil and 7 others like this.
  4. RJ Clark

    RJ Clark Tree Ninja Staff Member

    For beginners and advanced the fists have the "pop", the knock-out power, the ability to bust up unto themselves.
    A con for beginners with fists is it takes some time for them to learn to remain loose until the instant before contact. They tend to clench the fists and tense up their whole upper body which bleeds speed, power, and flow from their combos. A pro is that punches can stand alone and still be very effective.

    Incorporating palm strikes into the mix allows for a strike that can also act as taking hold and/or unbalancing of your opponent for a follow-up throw, general control of their body, joint lock, or choke while still remaining standing. The open hand for self-defense is a great tool as it can allow for the fingers to target the eyes, and whether you gouge the eyes or not the palm follows up to strike and/or control.

    To summarize: fists bring the boom, but palm strikes have the edge in diversity. I think it comes down to your own personal strengths as to which you should use more. Good grapplers should use a lot of palm strikes to set themselves up and good strikers should jackhammer their opponents with fists.
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  5. Tuan

    Tuan Initiate

    My main go-to is the tiger claw so I vote palm strike with that in mind.
    SifuPhil and Fahim Ferdous Promi like this.
  6. Alice Okasan

    Alice Okasan Disciple

    This! I'm not going to punch someone in the face. I'd much rather palm strike. But I'm going for a punch to the softer targets, midsection, groin, kidneys, etc. That being said, I like a hammer fist, but that's because I'm working on strengthening my wrists. My style uses straight punches rather than twist punches, so I'm not sure how that factors into my weak wrist excuses, but I wonder if my gender has something to do with weak wrists since I know a lot of women suffering from the same issue...
    hamdanshihan likes this.
  7. Sneaker

    Sneaker Warrior Monk

    I have done both fist and palm strike in self-defense ... one fist punched in the mouth ... he's done and I helped him to get back in the car so he won't get run over in the traffic dizzy :)

    Fist strike ? Ideal for face, ribs, biceps, thighs, etc ...

    It is important to know HOW to execute the target with a first 2 knuckles only fist punch (that fist lined up flat inside and top of the forearm) at any angles ... example: try do push up with first 2 knuckles ONLY ... it will harden the knuckles, strengthen the wrist and punch properly after training.

    Palm strike ? Ideal for nose, groins, ears, joints, under chin, break etc

    I agreed.
    Vidadi likes this.
  8. Caneman

    Caneman Test all things.

    I will have my cake and eat it too.
    I think the question is more open or closed hand.
    As a closed hand is a punch, backfist or hammerfist, technically you could ridgehand that way too.
    Open is a palm thrust, knifehand, spearhand, ridgehand... even eye flick... not to mention plier hand, web hand, etc...
    If I am toe to toe in a strike fest... punching rules as you gain about 2" distance vs. a palm strike...
    But (once inside) I live for open hand, open hand, closed hand, closed, closed, open hand cup behind the neck or grab, then knee, knee, sweep, elbow, arm bar types of progression with kind of high/low alternations, etc.
    If you make me choose, I take the fist.
    If you tell me I wont be allowed to grab without open, well then I take the palm (open hand)...
    If you are welding my hands into one position or the other... well at least give me one of each ;).
    Vidadi and hamdanshihan like this.
  9. Tuan

    Tuan Initiate

    The goose fist allows you to keep the hand open, but the hand needs committed training and conditioning to support full power blows. Its the only fist form I use when a fist is called for.

  10. Eric Dufurrena

    Eric Dufurrena The Iron Fist of Fun

    I like the palm strike for in-close, self defense situations, you can rapid fire them without really worrying too much about the target, overwhelming quickly. Hammer fist is great, also. Nice thing about knuckles on the nose and face is the ripping, bleeding and pain, even though I think the palm strike makes better swelling.
  11. Sherratt

    Sherratt Disciple

    the happy medium of hammerfist's :) with palm strikes theres also the chance, if its not formed or targeted properly, of the fingers catching in the oponents eyes, nose, mouth :sick: - or being caught in an item of there clothing. generally though I prefur palm strikes. they just generally feel safer and more vercitile
  12. The Little Lion

    The Little Lion Hard Wing Chun - The Music Of Bones

    I can appreciate this logic but i'd still 9/10 go for the fist/mouth combination it's much more damaging and hilarious then a palm strike to the mouth.

    Open hand techniques are great though theres so many good defensive/grabbing techniques that can be done with an open hand for example - Pak Sao which in laymans terms is pretty much a palm strike used as a block. The problem with the range argument is when at range i'm more tempted by forearm strikes than palmstrikes because its a stronger technique
  13. hamdanshihan

    hamdanshihan Initiate

    Sensei Martin gave a very good, straight to the point comment on how to apply your weapon for a particular target. I just want to add that for closed or open hand striking techniques, you are always open to variations.

    For open hand techniques, we can (use if the situation allows it) a knifehand, ridgehand, spearhand, finger jab, or simply just slap from either side of the hand etc.

    For closed fist techniques also you have a lot of variation but the main usage for the closed fist includes punching from any
    angle, backfist and hammerstrike.

    Just go with the flow and remember, be wise and precise how you apply your strikes. Also keep your weapons conditioned just like keeping your blade sharp but that is another topic now.
  14. dmach

    dmach Martial Archivest

    For me palm strike - and in this case a heel palm has one major advantage over a clenched fist...

    RJ and Sneaker both alluded to the fact that it takes time and training to deliver a punch properly and consistantly. If you have ever instructed a raw beginner, someone who has never done any training before in their lives, you would know the time it takes to teach them sometimes how to even make a proper fist, much less delivery of the strike. Any variation can cause damage to your knuckles as well as your target. Heel palms are basically more fool proof and can actually deliver the same "bang for your buck" as a closed fist.

    If you ever find yourself teaching a Self Defence course - rather than a pure Martial Arts Lesson, then Heel Palms are the way to go.
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  15. Wastelander

    Wastelander Initiate

    In competitive fighting/sparring, I'll go with punches over palm strikes unless I'm throwing a hook to the head (I throw Bas Rutten style hook palm strikes instead). As a taller person, I like to make as much use of my reach as possible when closing the distance, and with gloves and mouthguards I don't have to worry about hand injuries.

    For self defense, where I don't have gloves on, my attacker doesn't have rubber covering his teeth, and I am probably already inside striking distance, I'll go with palm strikes over punches. I can hit harder with palm strikes than with punches, despite training to punch things for 7 years, and I don't have to worry too much about injuring my hands. Another plus is that I can easily transition to traps, grabs, and gouges if my hands are open while striking. If I'm going to strike the body with my hands, though, I'm sticking with punches--I also follow the "hard vs. soft/soft vs. hard" school of thought.

    This is all excluding other strikes, of course--hammerfists, forearm strikes, small-surface strikes, elbows, knees, etc., are all different animals from the punch vs. palm strike debate.
    Vidadi, SifuPhil and cqcacademy like this.
  16. cqcacademy

    cqcacademy Initiate

    I agree with Wastelander's reasoning on this topic. One thing everyone has missed is that the palm strike has more structure behind it. This is achieved by eliminating the wrist joint from the energy chain. The energy of the strike has a more direct path, thus more of the power is delivered to your target. I almost exclusively use palm strikes when not wearing gloves. Although I am a fan of palm strikes my favorite striking surface is still my elbow.
    Vidadi, Sabomnim Dan, DeeD and 2 others like this.
  17. Alice Okasan

    Alice Okasan Disciple

    Me too. I love to throw me some elbows!
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  18. RJ Clark

    RJ Clark Tree Ninja Staff Member

    Punch someone in the mouth and most of the time you knock out their teeth. Once in a long while you get a tooth stuck in your hand if you come in at an odd angle and their mouth is open. But 99% of the time if you punch someone in the mouth it isn't
    it's "Just look at the damage his fist did to that guys teeth"

    As for the wrist - there is just as much chance of the rest of your hand (other than the palm heel) getting deflected/making contact with part of their body and compromising the wrist as there is for a punch to land at an awkward angle, from using both in my experience. Of course others may have different opinions, but I only go on my own empirical feedback.
    You're also striking with the same force. The mechanics of each strike are essentially the same. The difference is that palm heel hits like a rubber mallet and a punch hits like a couple of ball peen hammers. Of course this is just my take on the pros and cons listed. An opinion like everyone else's except mine happens to be 100% correct:LOL: I kiiiiid, I kiiid!
    MattCMMA likes this.
  19. Bad Karma

    Bad Karma Warrior Monk

    It would depend on what's being called for. Tailor your weapon to the target. I would also have to consider my follow up. Strike with an elbow, strike with a re-direct or a frictional pull etc. It's all contact manipulation.
    Vidadi likes this.
  20. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    With a palm heel you have, what - 1/2" more contact surface than the two knuckles of the fist? Won't make much difference.

    Structurally you're basically still removing the wrist joint from the equation. You're twice as far from wrist to knuckle as you are wrist to palm heel: that's half the liability of a broken / jammed wrist. Think of trying to balance a bowling ball on the end of a baseball bat, versus balancing that same ball on a yawara.

    Of course in my style there's also the jing or torque that you apply with a palm heel by dropping the wrist and lifting the fingers at the moment of impact. Similar but not quite the same as the torque of a punch, in that the palm heel jing is linear whereas the fist's torque is rotational.

    I suppose it depends on how you train, because I would put my palm heel strikes up against anyone's fists as far as generating and transmitting power.
    cqcacademy likes this.

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