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 are incredibly simple to perform; they require little skill.
  • Some people have dainty hands, which cannot handle the rigors of punching. Likewise, some people (e.g., artists, guitarists, and surgeons) 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. All four ways are essentially variations of a reverse punch, where the hand rotates in different directions to different angles, because certain weak points require different final hand positions to prevent hyperextending your fingers backwards.

Rising palmheel strike

Rising palmheel strikes are thrown much like a reverse punch, but the hand only 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 cause instant death by driving the nosebone into the brain. 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 are thrown much like a reverse punch, where the hand turns until the fingers point straight down. This allows for safe striking to 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

Downward palmheel strikes are thrown with the fingers pointing to the outside, so there is no turn-over, much 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 to strike 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 much 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.]