Principled Instruction: Making a Proper Fist
Some schools of thought insist that the best way to execute a perfect punch is to punch a million times until you get it right. To some degree this is okay. Repetition is known to improve muscle memory and eventually lead to the relaxation and tension of only the necessary muscles to execute a perfect technique.
But for now, let’s consider another, complementary training method: practice based on principles, not necessarily repetition/time. Take “punching” for instance.
We are taught that a perfect punch is executed when the muscles tense at the moment of contact and perfect form is observed. This is far too much detail for a single blog post, so lets take only one principle from this for now: clenched fists.
In last evenings class, Sensei got us to relax completely and hold our fists together with the pinky-fingers touching. We then did nothing else but clenching our fists and held it for about 8-10 seconds. After a 5 second break, we clenched again. We then rotated our wrists and held our fists together with our pointer-fingers touching. We repeated the clenching, then rotated again, and so on.
This is just a single principle of a good punch. After doing just this for a couple minutes, I found my punches to be more powerful and more coordinated (with the rest of my body) without any additional effort. Even throughout the rest of the class I observed this very slight, VERY important improvement in my technique. I’m sure others did as well.
Others more well-versed than I could write many pages about how to execute a perfect punch, but this is one aspect of it. My goal now: identify more principles of punching, break them down into an individual part, find a way to isolate and improve it, then re-integrate it back into my technique.