A dexterity exercise with the keys for the use of the knife

A ridiculously simple exercise to start to build fingers dexterity

The one we are going to describe is an unorthodox (read The use of unorthodox methods) but effective exercise that:

  • We can perform everywhere and every moment during our day
  • It is completely safe and easy to learn
  • It has to be executed with a bunch of keys (of our car, house, etc.)

Why perform this conditioning practice?

The goal is:

  • To gain the basic finger capability to manage the flow of the knife in a dynamic context
  • Not to learn to fight with a knife but simply to have a good starting point to work on
  • To make this type of movements an instinctive second nature that does not need any type of specific concentration (we have to do this like breathing)

How to execute the exercise

Let’s take a bunch of keys (with one bigger than the others and 2-3 rings), then let’s follow these steps:

  1. Let’s take the bigger key in its vertical middle point with the tip of the index and the thumb (at the height of our chest)
  2. Let’s let the bunch fall downward
  3. While it falls let’s follow harmoniously its movement with our hand
  4. When the bunch overcomes the height of our abdomen, let’s grab it again
  5. This time we should “capture” the bunch in its central vertical bending point
  6. While we grab, we instantaneously return (with the hand) at the chest height
  7. Done this let’s bend the big key inside our hand and let’s close our fist
  8. Now, let’s throw with a lateral rotation the big key outside the fist (as the blade of a switchblade)
  9. Our grab is again at the middle of the vertical bending part of the bunch (as in step 5)
  10. The last phase of the loop is to leave the bunch to slip down to grab again the big key (we are as in step 1)
  11. Let’s repeat the drill

A note by Master Kongling – In this case, the textual explanation is ten times more complex than the execution (see the video).

Variants, evolutions and details

  • Let’s always opt for elastic and soft motions (following, diverting and channeling the flow of the bunch of keys, read also 6DKF’s interactions: from the strong blow to the light touch)
  • Let’s do not work on the other hand until we have gained a bit of practice with the dominant one
  • As we improve, we can add additional motions in the middle of each phase (like rotations / manipulations of the keys, wrist, forearm, etc.)
  • Let’s play with it, let’s do not transform it in a juggling performance (eg. throwing keys behind us) but let’s experiment and expand what we are doing

Final notes

A few conclusive thoughts:

  • The keys naturally are not the knife, there are a lot of fundamental differences (weight, shape, danger level, etc.) but they a good and safe starting point for a beginner
  • As always we aim to condition our body to be able to manage dynamics more complex than the ones we will face in a real context; the reason we perform this practice is that in certain moments they flexible flow of the keys is harder to manage (there are a lot of different moving parts, etc.)
  • Another important detail to stress is the fact that the bunch of keys is more connected with flexible weapons than with the rigid ones and exactly in this resides one of the secrets of 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s weapon approach, we learn to see rigid weapons as flexible and vice-versa

In the next article of this series, we will see other knife exercises.

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Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • Is this exercise simple or hard?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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