“Hello, this is Randall and Glenda with KravMagaTraining.com. And with this video we’re going to discuss the proper hand positioning for the 360 block.
The hand positioning is, quite frankly, is often screwed up by a lot of our Level 1 students. Even though we teach it to them, they kind of don’t do it consistently because I don’t think they appreciate the importance of the proper hand positioning.
Now before I explain the reasons for that, I actually want to show you the proper hand positioning. It’s basically a karate chop position. I’m going to bring it nice and close to the camera so you can’t miss this. This is exactly what it should look like. Your fingers should be together so they are supporting each other. All right, there’s a reason why some martial arts call this a “knife hand”, not a “fork hand”. Don’t do this. You’re going to get your fingers jammed up a lot easier. And also your fingers are supposed to be together to kind of support each other. The other thing is, an important detail that a lot of people miss, is this knuckle here on the thumb. You don’t want it hanging out like this. You’re more likely to get your thumb caught and bent back and get it jammed. You want to bend that knuckle on the thumb and tuck it in. Not only to protect it but also when you bend this knuckle on the thumb, you’ll actually feel your hand tighten up. This is like the equivalent of making a tight fist but with an open hand. As soon as you get that knuckle in the right spot you’re hand is going to feel nice and strong and stable. So this is the proper hand positioning.
Now, the reason why this is so important is there’s actually several reasons. Okay, the first is sometimes I see students doing 360 blocks while making a fist. The proper with the fist is that your defenses are going to be a little bit slower. It’s a lot faster to do your defenses when your hands are open compared to when your fists are tight because your body tightens up. Your forearms tighten up. So if your hands are open you’re going to move quicker.
The other reason is you have a larger margin of error. You have a larger blocking surface. When Glenda throws the big old strike at me, yeah, I know we’re supposed to block wrist to wrist. But maybe I’m a little off. As long as my hand is open like this, at least I’m blocking with my fingers. I know that’s not optimal. It’s not real strong as blocking with my wrist. But it sure as hell is a lot better than me having a fist, totally missing the defense, and getting clobbered with that strike. So if I’m a little off and I use a fist, I’m going to miss that. At least if I’m a little off and my fingers are straight, I’m going to block something. So, that would be, like I said, even though we’re supposed to go wrist to wrist, if you have your hand open it’s going to give you a larger margin of error.
And the other reason why this is really important is because these basics set up good habits in the future for your advanced training. An example of this is when you’re having to tie up because the person is attacking with a knife in their hand. So if Glenda has a knife in her hand. What I need to be able to do in a lot of situations is, when she comes in and strikes, I need the ability to tie up and control that weapon. If my hand is a fist, I’m going to have to open my hand up anyways to be able to grab that weapon. So why not just start with a good habit of having our hand open in the first place. So as that strike comes, I can immediately flow off the defense into a proper tie up.
So those are the three really important reasons to do those things. So your hand moves faster. So you’re less likely to miss the defense. And like I said, it sets up good habits for your advanced training. In this case you need to control the weapon when somebody has a knife in their hand.
Now, a little drill that can help you get more consistent with your hand positioning is to actually cheat and put your hands in these karate chop positions. All right, I know we’re supposed to have our hands relaxed when we’re in our fighting stance but at first go like this. I know it looks completely stupid, but sit there with your hands in a perfect position, double check that both are right. And then when your hands are in those right positions, then ask your partner to go ahead and attack. Go ahead Glenda. Okay that’s good. That way you don’t have to think about your hands being in the right place in the first place.
However, you can’t just do this forever. You can’t sit there and fight and go like this and telegraph your intentions. Once you master that, you’re going to have to go back to having your hands relaxed in a natural position like this. And then as the strike comes out, that’s when I make my hand in the proper position. So if I was going to slow that down, my hand is cupped like this and then as it it goes out that’s when the hand tightens up. The timing is right when you make impact with your defense, that’s when your hand tightens up in the proper positioning. Okay. So I’m loose, I’m relaxed, I’m relaxed, relax, “boom”, notice that my fingers straighten out and I tighten up. That will make your defenses even quicker. I want my body to be really loose until the moment of impact. And that applies to any strike. Whether you are punching, defending, kicking, throwing knees. Relax, relax, relax until impact. So one more time please Glenda. I’m loose, I’m loose, I’m loose, “boom”, it tightens up right there on the end. So that should be your eventual goal. Yeah, it’s okay to initially to start like this to make sure that your hands are in the right spot. But your long-term goal is to start with your hands loose and then tighten it up, tighten it up, tighten it up as you do the defense.
So please focus on that and it’s going to solve a lot of problems. Not just for your 360 blocks but to develop good habits for your future training as well.”