What is the correct part of fist to make contact with?


Aug 31, 2005
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When punching, in traditional karate you are supposed to strike with the top of the first two knuckles. Now, I bought a book by Mark Hatmaker that said that you should strike with the last three knuckles, that it will put your arm into the correct position. Maybe King Kabuki can help me out with this question.
Last 3 knuckles sounds almost like wing chun. If you were to box on the street, I'd reccomend using your first two knuckles (as your last 2 are likely to break on impact with someone's skull.)
As for ring boxing, I'm not sure what the classic position is.
The Hatmaker book was a book on western style boxing. I don't know if they take into account that you'd be wearing gloves.
I've always been told to hit with the first two knuckles. They're a lot more sturdy and do more damage, I dont know about hitting with the last ones putting your arm into position, but I find I hit much more solidly with the first two.
It's probably not worth worrying about either way.
If you're in a street fight, it might be worth using open palm strikes if you're going off on their head or are GnPing. Otherwise just punch how it feels best for you, you don't really have that time/ability to micromanage where your fist is going to hit exactly (on your hand) and if you do, then the fight is yours anyways.
I've heard the three knuckle theory before. That might be a great idea with boxing gloves on but I wouldn't want to do it bare fisted or with lightweight MMA gloves.

Palm strikes are another matter altogether.
I trained in boxing for a long time, and the discussion of what part of the knuckle to hit with was never, ever even discussed....it seems irrelevant with gloves on, and you have a lot bigger things to be worrying about when facing good opponents.

For the street, you can go through the other thread I started on punching in the street, with the reasons why I believe open palm strikes are better than knuckle punching (when striking to the head) on the street.
Palms of your hands, (most powerful) or first 2 knuckes of index and middle finger. But easy to break. Stick with palms (unless you are boxing as a sport, otherwise you may resemble a female).
You don't get power from the part of the fist you strike with, so I don't think you would lose power from striking with the last three like Hatmaker says. The goal of striking with the last three is to put your fist in alignment with your arm, so that you don't break your wrist and the force coming from your hips and shoulder is transmitted properly to the target. That's for a straight punch of course, it might be different for hooks.