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Is Punching Primal?
This question about if punching is primal is a question I think about from time to time. Usually because of a question asked to me. And depending on who you ask you will get one of two answers. Yes it is or no it is not. Pretty simple. But which one is the right one?
First let me real fast define punching.
A punch is a striking blow with a closed fist usually using the knuckles of the hand as the striking surface.
With that said, my answer to the question is absolutely NO. If you ever really study a small child, they will almost never ball their fist up to strike someone. It is all openhanded striking. Only if they have “learned” to ball their fist up do that use this. I have studied well over 2000 children from all walks of life and have found the same thing. Open handed striking.
Even my own children didn’t punch until they were shown. In fact you may have even heard someone mention to another something like “Hey, you should show him how to punch. He is old enough”. Sound familiar?
This really hit home when I took a trip out of the country to a small very remote village. This village was so remote that we couldn’t even get there by car. We had to take our stuff on horseback through some really dense forests. Anyways, while there I got to speak with the chief of this one tribe and also talk with some of the tribes “warriors”. To my amazement, not one of the demos the warriors put on showed any sign up a closed fist attack. I questioned this with one of them and they said that this closed fist attack they had never even thought about.
THEY HAD NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE!
I was dumbfounded to say the least. But then the chief asked a question and he said “wouldn’t that break your hand?”. I laughed and said, yes it can. To which he responded, “then why do it?”. I laughed my head off. You see, as a self defense instructor, I KNOW not to punch because it can break your hand. Which, by the way, I have done multiple times. But I did learn to punch.
After this encounter, is where I really started to question if punching was built into us naturally. Did we evolve to punch? And I could not find (and still not find) a single shred of evidence pointing to the fact that we are born knowing how to punch.
I see flinching every day. I see kids slapping everyday. I see a lot of natural and instinctive things every day. But the only time I see punching is from people that either got taught to punch or seen someone do it (maybe on TV) and copied them.
No comes another question. Should you punch?
Personally, I do not teach punching that much anymore. In my system, I teach to use open handed strikes. This cuts down on the risk of you breaking something. As well as open handed striking can be devastatingly powerful. And because you are not balling your fist up (tensing those muscles) your strikes tend to be a bit faster as well due to staying loose.
So what do you think? Do you think Punching is Primal? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.
STAY PRIMAL, my friends
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