Open hand or Closed Fist?

The advantages or disadvantages of using a open palm vs close fist has been a topic of polarizing discussion but most agree there is a time and place for both.  Obviously I would not advocate one of the other everyone has their preferences as to why and when they prefer use each method of striking.

Guro Burton Richardson touches upon many reasons in the following articles:
These 10 Silat Strategies Will Expand Your Consciousness and Make You Better at Self-Defense! Part One

These 10 Silat Strategies Will Expand Your Consciousness and Make You Better at Self-Defense! Part Two

When people doubt the power of the open palm slap I like to refer them to this video:

One of the techniques I like to teach in class comes from Jesse Glover; Datu Worden affectionately refers to it as the “B*itch Slap” you can find similar techniques taught in other systems where it may be known as the “dead arm slap” which is not to be confused with those ridiculous dead arm punching videos where two guys punch each other in the arm.

Here is a nice clip of Jesse Glover demonstrating techniques he always shared at camps:

The empty hand strategies fit well within the Filipino Martial Arts; one of the things I like to do first is use the sinawali pattern known to most as “Heaven” to correlate the weapon movements to empty hands, at first we begin sticking to form just to get the movement down; we then translate it to the empty hand drill from Modern Arnis known as Brush, Grab, Strike and progress from there.

Another Sinawali that I refer to as “two count” teaches the student to target the head and knee is great reference for the correlation of weapons movement to empty hand.

Datu Worden breaks it down very nicely in this excerpt from his DVD titled “Bridging Hands Striking Relations.”

You can purchase the DVD here at

I probably could go on and on as this is a favorite topic of mine but I’ll stop here so you can enjoy the clips.

If interested in learning more stop by the school:

Warrior Collective of WA
12401 NE 60th Way #A7
Vancouver, WA 

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