Hi there fellow Wing Chun fanatic —

It’s Rob here from WingChunLife.com and it turns out that apes such as the chimpanzee can’t make a tight fist like you and me…

Researchers David Carrier and Michael Morgan from the University of Utah suggest that the distinctive proportions of our hands evolved so that we could use them as weapons (and do Kung Fu, of course).

However, making a good fist isn’t nearly enough to survive a street confrontation. I have a quick tip about that in this issue of Wing Chun Life News as well.

In an article about their research published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, when chimps make a fist, their long palm, long fingers, and short thumb leaves them with an “open doughnut shape when curled.” The hollow doughnut shape is usually a no-no for making a tight fist for fighting.

Humans have a stout palm, shorter fingers, and a longer and stronger thumb (in relation, but not stronger than the chimpanzee’s). This enables us to curl our fingers firmly and wrap our thumb across the fingertips and clench our fists into a tight ball. Perfect for pounding things.


Warning: Doughnut hole or not, it’s not recommended to go mano-a-mano against a chimpanzee or other primate. They’ll still kill you with their goofy and “less efficient” fist.



A Little Criticism About This Research…


This study was funded by The National Science Foundation. Do taxpayers really need to be responsible for footing the cost for this kind of research? These scientists could have just called one of us and we would have told them the obvious, right?

According to Carrier and Morgan, tightly packing the human fist provides internal support, or buttressing as they call it, and protects the fingers from damage during combat.

In their experiments:

    • They rounded up athletes to beat up on a punching bag with various hand shapes including openhanded slaps and closed fists;



    • These warriors threw different kinds of strikes such as over arm, sideways, and straight on;



    • While measuring impact forces they found that peak forces were nearly identical whether hitting with a clenched fist or an open palm;



  • But hitting with a closed fist allowed the fighter to concentrate more of the force onto a smaller surface area (duh);


In another part of the experiment, they measured if the ‘buttressing’ stiffened or strengthen the structure. You guessed it, it did.

The fighters rolled their hands into various forms and the rigidity of the first (index finger) knuckle was measured with a “force transducer.”

For instance, with the thumb extended out sideways they measured the rigidity, and then they did it again with the thumb folded over the fingers.

The knuckle joint was more rigid when supported by the thumb. In fact, it was four times more rigid. So remember to keep your thumb in when you make a fist. Don’t let it hang off to the side. This’ll make a tighter fist, and help you avoid getting your thumb jammed or sprained (which I’ve done too many times).

The researchers also found that a tight fist can deliver double the force through the wrist and metacarpal bones (palm bones).


But A Tight Fist Isn’t Enough, Here’s What Can Help…


Using a tight fisted punch effectively is important but is not enough to take down a sociopath. Striking with your full body weight makes all the difference.

Because even when you’re tired and you can’t clinch your fist as tight as you want, you still weigh the same. And you can drive that mass through a street thug and cause pathological injury.

You can find out more about delivering full body weight strikes here…


Rob, WingChunLife.com