The question is often asked; what is better in a self defense situation, to hit with an open palm strike or a closed fist, i.e. a punch? Asking this question is a good sign, it means one is thinking about self defense and exploring one’s options. It is important to note that different solutions might be effective for different people. Factors such as mentality, strength, size, and training must be taken into account. This question, fist vs. palm, has been asked and answered many times. Naturally there are two sides to this argument, some favoring the open hand and some favoring the punch. The arguments are as follows;
The plus side of the punch
• With a good punch you can knock out your opponent.
• The punch seems very natural to most of us. It is as if we have been born punching. To switch to another technique would be unnatural.
• You are using your bones, the hard knuckles. This is very powerful.
The Down Side of the punch
•Many people actually do not know how to throw a proper punch. Teaching someone for the first time how to make a proper fist can be a challenging task.
• Broken hands – Many people in real life situations actually break their hands while punching. Even experienced boxers have broken their hands in street fights. Without the protection of a boxing glove the hand is rather fragile. If your fist meets the person’s hard head, for example, the fist loses and you break your hand. If you are a police officer this means you will have trouble shooting your hand gun.
• Using a punch effectively involves training and understanding where a punch can work and where it can not. As noted, certain body parts are not good targets for the punch, such as the top of the head.
The plus side of the open hand
• Using the open hand involves almost no risk of injury to your hand. If you strike with your palm it is very unlikely you will break your knuckles or fingers even striking hard targets. Thus, it is relatively risk free.
• Almost every part of the head or neck can be an effective target and little training is necessary to use the palm strike.
The down side of the open hand strike
• For people used to punching it may be difficult to adjust to an open hand strike.
The best solution is to learn both techniques and see how they feel on your body. As long as you are thinking about this topic you are on the correct path.