How to minimize the chance of hand breaking while fighting?

Punches: the difference between self-defense and sport competitions

Let’s start with a few premises in relation to Sports competitions and self-defense.

Sports competitions:

  • In most of the full-contact combat sports where striking is allowed (boxing, MMA, etc.), protective gloves are worn (read How to do sparring)
  • The gloves are provided with a padding that serves not only to limit the incisiveness of the blows but also (and above all) to protect the integrity of the hand bones (read The basic equipment for training in 6DKF)
  • This protection allows the fighter to do not worry about damaging the fragile and thin structure of the hand, or having to limit his strength or to “waste time” to condition himself
  • This security allows the fighter to better express his power and speed, thus ensuring a high-level show (read The 6 types of martial clash)


  • In most of the self-defense scenarios, protective gloves bandages, etc. are not at our disposal (read for example Self-defense: brawl in front of a grocery store)
  • Often those who are not prepared to fight are not precise (read The most important skill in combat), they do not know how to dose the strength and have less “dense” bones than necessary
  • Without protections after the first 1-2 punches even against a not so strong bone, the improvised fighter is totally unable to continue the fight (pain, micro-fractures, etc., read Hands conditioning: first approach with a bag of rice)
  • In the worst case, if the inexperienced fighter manages to load a certain force or simply accidentally hits a very hard element of the scenario (a wall, a cheekbone, etc.) he can damage his hand bones more seriously (breaking, etc.)

This is the raw truth. Fortunately, there are proportionally effective solutions available to everyone (practitioners, amateurs, normal people, etc.).

A note by Master Kongling – It is not uncommon for those who practice combat sports to break their hands by facing street self-defense situations (brawl, etc., read 12 tips on how to survive in a brawl).

How to minimize the chances of breaking our hands while punching someone?

Let’s see now a few tips about how to decrease the risk of hand breaking while fighting:

  • Do not hit with the closed fists – If we have no conditioning, no experience, no desire to train or simply we are unsure on how to hit, let’s attack with the open palm; we simply have to bend our fingers (all the phalanges except for the lower ones) and use the palm of the hand as point of impact; this is a very secure and effective way to fight, especially in self-defense
  • Do not hit in the wrong way – If we want to hit with the knuckles let’s close our fingers in the correct way (read /// Subscribe (it's free!) or Login to see this content ///) and let’s hit with the right technique (read How to punch (simple explanation)) choosing the right times, spaces and targets (read Hitting effectively: distances and targets)
  • Start conditioning for the impacts – If we want to follow a right and complete martial path it is important to start thinking about hands conditioning (at least at a basic level); it is not mandatory to transform our hands into metal hammers (read ) to reach a profitable resistance (read Conditioning check for the impact)
  • Control the strength of the blows – In any case, even after developing advanced skills like, for example, the iron palm (read Iron palm conditioning) we always have to measure the intensity of our blows in relation to risks of missing the target and minimum necessary energy; even the highest level of conditioning does not mean to become indestructible
  • Use the states changes – In 6 Dragons Kung Fu we focus on instinctively and instantaneously change the state of our body elements (read 6DKF’s interactions: from the strong blow to the light touch); even if this is not a panacea, it helps a lot to avoid hand’s injuries

A note by Master Kongling – Using these techniques (and especially the changes of states) I saved my hands and the other limbs of my body on several occasions (even in training). In short, the solution is to mix strategies by preparing body and mind with rationality and awareness.

Special thanks

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Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • Have you ever hurt a hand (in training, etc.)?

Author: Master Kongling

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