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To Slap, Punch or Hammer: A Practitioner’s Guide

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The internet is full of videos showing self-defence techniques.

And then you have ‘worldviews’.

People who believe in a shared collective viewpoint.

‘Pressure points won’t work’, ‘Aikido is terrible for self-defence’, ‘that move won’t work’.

It goes on and on.

And we have this with punches, hammer strikes and slaps.

People who swear by a punch, people who say the hammer strike is the way to go and people who say you should never strike with a closed fist.

So, which are right?

In this article, we dig deep and discuss the reasons behind the views and who is right.

 

To Punch Or Not To Punch

The easiest thing to do in the world is to give advice on self-defence when you have never met an angry person.

The world is full of these sorts.

For this reason, we have a lot of misinformation.

So let us address the first myth:

 

If you punch with a closed fist you will break your hand

The answer to this is yes; you can break your hand.

I have broken my hand around 7 times over the years, first when I was a schoolboy in a fight.

I started boxing at aged 11, so when I fought, I tended to hit quite hard.

But….my accuracy was terrible.

I hit on the forehead, the side of the head and even the back of the head.

Pretty much all the thickest parts of the skull.

And so, I last broke my hand when I was 16 (in a street fight).

That is ooooh 23 or so years (where I have had to punch people, both in boxing matches and self-defence ) and I have not broken a single bone.

That is not to say it can’t happen, it can.

But in truth, a lot depends on where you land your strike.

So, yes you can break a hand when punching, but it doesn’t always happen.

 

The Hammer Is More Powerful Than The Punch

This myth is quite common and based on a straightforward test.

You stand with a punch pad and compare the power of a hammer strike with the force of a punch.

The hammer always wins because on average it is a harder strike.

But does that mean it is the best strike to use?

Yes and no.

Striking with hammers can cause a broken fist every bit as a punch can.

You can also break your wrist and forearm.

But as with the punch, a broken limb will not happen all the time.

So the slap is better?

 

Slap Time

And so we have reached the slap or open handed strike.

This is the one that people say works, no matter what. That you have a large weapon and you can generate excellent power.

The risk to breaking your hand is so low that it makes it the preferred weapon of choice.. or is it?

 

It All Depends On The Opponent

When I hear people with ‘fixed rules’ about self-defence I shake my head.

There are no rules. I once heard of a young female who was attacked and put her hand out to protect herself against a knife attack.

The knife stuck in her hand.

Was that a good defence?

Hell no, but it saved her life.

Self-defence is not fixed, it has no ‘fixed rules of combat’ as such you need to adapt to the circumstances and what your attackers bring to the table.

By saying ‘I would never do this’ and training with only one method of striking you severely limit yourselves.

 

But I Might Break My Hand

Ok, so let me get this one off my chest…boo hoo, you might break your little hand.

Yes, and they might kill you.

If you break your hand, then you have one more. You also have forearms, elbows, knee strikes, kicks, headbutts and so on.

Stop restricting yourself by NOT using specific techniques.

This is not a sport, this is your life, and you get ONE chance to defend yourself, so give yourself the best options.

 

Does This Mean You Should Never Slap

No, this is not the case. Personally, I have this motto:

If something is worth striking, it is worth smashing to bits.

You can’t smash anything with a slap, the sole purpose of the slap is to knock out the attacker.

If you don’t knock them out, they are coming right back at you with a punch.

So for myself, my default tool is hammers and punches.

BUT……

There is a time and a place for slaps and open hand strikes.

They can serve as a KO strike that takes the attacker straight out cold.

They can serve as a ‘rattler’, that sends a warning to the attacker ‘that was just a slap, imagine what a punch can do’.

And you can always throw a punch or hammer afterwards.

 

Never Take A Slap To A Fist Fight

The big question is ‘if they are punching you in the face with a closed fist would open-handed strikes be a great counter?’

The answer is a resounding no.

And it is not because of impact; it is down to destruction.

A punch hits you with the knuckles of a hand closed.

In essence, their hand is a ball of bone being propelled at speed into your face.

This will start to cause severe trauma to your soft tissue and bones in the face.

So, your teeth can be broken, your jaw and cheekbone fractured, your eye damaged and so on.

All while you are slapping their face?

Bring your A game to the street.

 

The Myth Of The Street KO

I have seen thousands of street attacks, and they don’t end in KO’s all the time.

In fact, most incidents end it what I call the ‘no mas’.

This is when a person literally turns their head and says ‘no more, I am done’.

And surprisingly it happens after a few strikes.

Why? Because after all the bravado when you end up getting smashed in the face, your ego shatters.

And they realise that they are not as tough as their mouths said.

 

So, what you should do?

The answer is a resounding ‘do what you can to survive’ and don’t limit yourself.

If you hit really hard with a closed fist then this could be your go-to technique, perhaps your hammer is like Thor wielding Molijnor, or possibly your slaps feel like being hit with a bus.

You have a duty to use your best techniques, the ones that are more likely to get the job done.

As we have seen, you might break a bone or two and you might not.

The idea is to stay alive, not win a debate on Facebook.

 

Conclusion

Defence Lab has a wide range of techniques that will allow you to find and discover the best version of you in a self-defence situation.

From our online training to a physical Lab, we have the solution for you.

 

Thanks for reading.

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