The Palm, is it a Superior Weapon to the Fist

Most people think of the fist as the main tool of unarmed fighting, and while it is likely the most common human weapon, Baguazhang practitioners feel that the palm is a much better weapon for both offensive and defensive techniques. While many martial arts do utilize the open hand to at least some extent, Jiulong Baguazhang makes exclusive use of it.

The closed fist is a club with relatively limited use except for pounding. The open hand, however, can offer numerous surfaces for a variety of striking techniques: sharp, pointed fingers can be used as a spear, the edge of the hand can be used to slice across targets like a knife or chop like an axe blade, and  broad surfaces like the palm or back of the hand can impart devastatingly powerful fluid shock blows. In addition, the soft cushion of the open palm is much safer to strike hard, bony surfaces with than the knuckles or fingers of the fist, which are well-known to break. 

The open hand can also catch, lift, scoop, hook, press, deflect, or grab in defensive maneuvers with only a minor adjustment of angle. All of this can be done with the hand opened and in a relatively relaxed position. Relaxation is critical for speed and the ability to change from one action to another. The open hand does not have a tendency to tighten up the forearm and shoulder as does the fist and therefore is better suited for quicker responses.

In all, while the fist can be a useful tool when utilized correctly – and indeed, it is used in other of the Dao Qi Quan arts, such as Xing Yi Quan – the open hand’s flexibility, not to mention the extreme force it can handle, truly makes it a superior weapon for self-defense.