A pencil dexterity exercise for the use of knife

An exercise to develop the soft touch skill

6 Dragons Kung Fu has no juggling purposes but a basic level of dexterity is absolutely fundamental: especially managing sharpened weapons. During combat is not so strange to lose the control of ours or opponent’s weapon and this eventuality must be managed in the correct way.

Particularly in the case of the knife, before starting to train with a real one we should educate our body and our mind:

  • Improving the instinctive defense – Our body must instantaneously (and correctly) decide if it is better to grab, to deviate, to avoid or to protect its weak parts
  • Making extremely sensitive our touch – We must be able to instantaneously change the state of our structure (read 6DKF’s interactions: from the strong blow to the light touch)
  • Optimizing the spatial intelligence – We must be able to perfectly decide the right position to occupy in the space and reach it with extreme precision (read The most important skill in combat)
  • Learning how to predict the movements of a flying object – Our brain must be able to distinguish rapid motion sequences and starting from their trajectory, weight (etc.), understand where it will go and when
  • Enhancing our reflexes – Also timing and correct reaction are mandatory skills to manage a weapon (to start, read Shaolin training for reflexes)

The exercise

This exercise is very simple and relatively not dangerous (but it should be executed only after a certain practice with the fabric cloth training, read Basic tools: the cloth):

  • Let’s take a sharp pencil or a pen (to start is fine also without tip)
  • Let’s launch the pencil in the air with one hand and with the other let’s recover it
  • The goal is to firmly grasp the pencil without touching the tip
  • We have to launch the pencil without interruption and quickly (grab and throw)
  • We need to move dynamically and launch pencil in spots / directions difficult to reach
  • At the beginning, we do not want the pencil to rotate (let’s do it after sometimes)
  • Let’s dynamically move in the space, we do not have to remain still
  • Each session has a duration of 10 minutes


  • The only risk (not too remote) is to injure ourselves accidentally pressing the pencil’s tip on our body
  • The most useful thing (at the very beginning) is to wear protective goggles and, in any case, to proceed gradually/slowly

The purpose of this practice

This exercise has been developed to teach us:

  • To clearly distinguish fast rotating movements (this is good even for free hands combat)
  • To clearly distinguish the top from the bottom of a knife’s “similar” object
  • To understand how to grab a sharp object without harm (even if small, eg. a splinter of broken glass)
  • To perceive the stimulation of pain / risk / danger even before it becomes a real detriment
  • To generally insight into the mechanics of an object similar to the knife

A note by Master Kongling – Again,  when we talk about dexterity and weapons we never allude to juggling (we never talk about tricking), we refer to the attitude to handle a weapon not only in our hands or in the opponents’ hands but also (and above all) to a broader concept of “fighting scenario’s interactions” (in the air, colliding with other objects, etc.).

In-depth articles


Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • Can you do the exercise with both hands?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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