My last blog talked about the inherent weakness of the fist. So, if not a fist, what? The palm heel, that’s what. The palm heel is the area at the base of your palm. To find it put your arm out straight, bend your hand back as if you are going to push open a door. That’s it. That’s the palm heel position.
The palm heel is proof that God loves us and wants us to defend ourselves. It neatly fits under the chin. It fits into the temple. It fits into the soft tissue behind the ear, the indentation at the base of the skull, the eye socket, the area under the nose, and even the solar plexus. It’s effective as a kidney blow. And after an upper strike to the chin, the fingers are right there to rake the eyes, pull the hair or pull the ear (yes, the ear).
Form a fist. Look at it. If you’re looking at the knuckles, you are looking at the weakest striking surface. They are unprotected by fat or muscle. They are small. They are vulnerable. The back of the fist is a stronger striking surface, but against a hard target like the human skull, there’s still the danger of fracturing the small bones of the hand. The lateral, or outside, edge of the fist (known as the hammer fist) is stronger, but against something like a skull, there’s still the danger of fracturing the small bones on the outside of the hand. The impact would hurt like heck, but you would retain use of some of your hand, if you’re lucky…and have dense bones.
Here is a post by my American Combato Instructor, Bradley J. Steiner, who has forgotten more about hand-to-hand fighting than I’ll ever know–although I’m sure he hasn’t forgotten one bit of martial arts knowledge.
No doubt about it, fight scenes are an exciting and essential component of just about all thriller fiction. What would From Russia With Love have been without that terrific hand-to-hand battle between Donovan Grant and James Bond on the Orient Express? And thank heavens that great author, the late Don Hamilton, gave his hero Matt Helm realistic unarmed combat, knife and gun skills with which to assist in the carrying out of his missions!
Unfortunately, many fight scenes in novels and in the cinema lack authenticity. Motion picture and TV shows provide sound effects for unarmed fights that would be more appropriate to a film depicting the battle for Iwo Jima. Damn! The slamming and the banging sound like the ordnance of an attacking marine battalion; way over the top for two men in a struggle.