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Finger Positions

This is small point.  I have noticed that if a student (or instructor for that matter), begins a kata with his fingers in an incorrect position, particularly his thumbs, he will probably execute techniques with his fingers in an incorrect position, usually his thumbs.

I had one Sensei who always said that if your opponent's thumb is sticking out, you should attack and break it.  Then he will not be able to punch or strike.

Students who never practice hitting makiwara or a heavy bag, are more likely to have incorrect finger positions.  Hitting air poses little or no risk of finger snags, jams, or injury.  But when you hit something, you quickly find that incorrect finger position leads to injury.  And don't forget that an attacker may try to twist, tear, or otherwise break your fingers!

As a teacher, I stress that students should begin a kata with the correct hand and finger positions.  That attention to detail with become ingrained in the students and will carry over to all the techniques of the kata.  A sloppy beginning will lead to a sloppy kata.  But a clean beginning will lead to a clean kata.

I also add that it is important to "feel" the positions of the hands and fingers.  You should have tactile feedback and confirmation.  You can visually check when you are learning, but it is important to get the "feel" for how it is to be correct and optimal.

Again, as small thing like the position of your hands and fingers (and thumbs) can be a very big thing.


Charles C. Goodin