Learning how to punch is probably the first form of self defense everyone learns. You might have learned how to punch during schoolyard fights. Or, your father might have taught you how to punch while you were young. You might even have learned it in the dojo as your first martial arts move. But, no matter where you learned how to do it, the punch is the most common self defense technique that is taught. There is a problem, though …
Does a Punch Do Any Good in a Real Street Fight?
Most punches people throw in a street fight are instinctively directed at their attacker’s head. Subconsciously, we know a punch to the head is our best chance to take out the bad guy. Unfortunately, although your attacker’s head encloses his brain, it’s protected quite well by his very hard skull. And, when your opponent senses a punch is on the way, he will instinctively respond if he feels his head is in danger. This instinctive response involves tucking his head and chin to protect his throat and his eyes, which also positions his hard, bony skull as the landing zone for your much more delicate knuckles. The skull is about as “bulletproof” as any body part can be.
Why a Punch in a Street Fight Can be Dangerous
A traditional punch thrown to your opponent’s head during a street fight means you’ll probably hit his skull. Your fist will be clenched during the punch, and when your knuckles hit something as hard as a skull during a street fight, they’ll probably break. Broken knuckles will decrease your ability to defend yourself because now, any blows you strike with your injured hand will be less powerful. Unfortunately, you’ll also lose more than just your ability to throw a hard punch if your knuckles are injured.
Weapons and Broken Knuckles Are Not a Good Combination in a Real Street Fight
It’s possible that you carry a weapon – something like a gun or a knife – for self defense. Or, maybe your attacker is carrying a weapon and you’re able to take it away from him and use it for your self defense. However, if your knuckles are injured by punching, you might not be able to use a gun or a knife nearly as effectively, if at all. Your hand will be crippled so you won’t be able to open or hold a knife very firmly. Basically, you won’t be able to aim a gun, much less pull the trigger, after you’ve broken your knuckles by punching your opponent’s head. That means that knife or gun, which could have been an effective self defense weapon, is now useless!
Three Techniques Provide Better Self Defense than a Punch
Although you can use a variety of blows for self defense, the three best choices during a street fight are the hammer fist, the palm heel and the edge of hand blow. All three of these blows are more powerful than a traditional punch, and mastering them for self defense is easy. However, being able to strike your opponent with any of these techniques and have a much lower risk of hurting yourself than with a traditional punch is just as important as the power they pack.