Palmheel strike

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Teishō-uchi (literally “bottom-palm strike”), the palmheel strike, uses the heel-of-the-hand (teishō) to smash several different vital areas from close range. To form the teishō, bend your wrist back as far as you can, and curl your fingers at the second knuckle. The picture below will guide you:

[Picture of a palm-heel, use MS paint to make a circle to highlight the striking area]

Palmheel strikes (along with elbow strikes) are an essential part of any self-defense course because:

  • Palm-heels strikes require little skill to perform.
  • Some people have dainty hands, which cannot handle the rigors of punching. Likewise, some people (e.g., artists, guitarists, surgeons, etc.) cannot earn a living if they suffer a hand injury. Since the teishō is the most robust part of the hand, anyone can use palmheel strikes to defend themselves without risking injury.

There are four ways to throw a palmheel strike, because the hand must rotate to different angles when striking different vital points to prevent hyperextending your fingers backwards.

Rising palmheel strike

Rising palmheel strikes are thrown much like an uppercut, but the hand turns until the fingers point upward. This will protect your fingers as you strike the opponent’s philtrum, chin, or collarbone.

Please note that palmheel strikes to the philtrum will not drive the opponent's nosebone into their brain and cause instant death. That is an urban legend.

[video of rising palm-heel strikes from the front and side, fast and slow.]

Downward palmheel strike

Downward palmheel strikes extend out like a reverse punch, except the rotates the opposite direction, until the fingers point straight down, to allow you to safely strikr the opponent’s abdomen and groin. Downward palmheel strikes are also the perfect setup for groin grabs, which can be used to start a number of simple-yet-utterly-horrific combinations.

[video of downward palm-heel strikes from the front and side, fast and slow.]

Outside palmheel strike

Outside strikes are thrown with the fingers pointing to the outside, so the hand does not turn over, like a tate-tsuki. This is commonly used to strike the opponent’s kidneys. Also, the most efficient way to push some away from you is by striking their hips with outside palmheel strikes; this is useful when escaping from bear hugs or to jam an opponent's hip throw.

[video of outside palm-heel strikes from the front and side, fast and slow.]

Inside palmheel strike

Inside palmheel strikes are thrown like a reverse punch with a 270° turnover, ending with the fingers pointing to the inside. Inside palmheel strikes are typically thrown to the sternum, to stop a rushing opponent, or to knock an opponent off-balance. At its highest level, the shock of an extremely powerful inside palmheel strike could send the opponent’s heart into fibrillation.

After executing an inside palmheel strike, immediately close your hand to grab the opponent’s clothing, jewelry, or chest hair. Then, the reciprocal action of your rechamber pulls your opponent into your next attack, doubling its power.

[video of inside palm-heel strikes from the front and side, fast and slow.]