Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

Please take a look at my bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

Please take a look at my Notable Quotes

Hey, Attention on Deck!

Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!


When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:


I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn


Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung

WARNING, CAVEAT AND NOTE

The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.


Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.



“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated. - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources



“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames



“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne

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Karate Knuckles - Purpose and Effectiveness

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

In some recent postings there has been some discussions on the karate knuckles, you know what I am talking about because, after all, you are reading this because you are a karate-ka or at least interested in karate or a martial discipline enthusiast. I have several articles myself posted over the past ten years or so and I included it in my books (don’t go looking, I printed them in pdf and gave them away to the few who were interested - so far).

If you are interested in my past mindless meanderings on this subject, you can read them at the following links.


Now, as to several aspects of karate knuckles beliefs:

  • Karate uses the fist, ergo karate or empty hand, as one of its main weapons.
  • As a rule, the two primary knuckles are used to hit the targets.
  • Makiwara and heavy bags are two items used, along with knuckle pushups, to develop the fore-knuckles - karate knuckles.
  • Karate knuckles are why and how we can successfully block a, “Short front kick” with a double punch block. 
  • I (the author of this statement, not me) know this is possible because of how long I have done this over the past forty plus years.
  • How does a karate-ka forge the karate knuckles of the fist, i.e., Makiwara, heavy bag, bean/rice bag and knuckle pushup training. 

Karate uses the fist, ergo karate or empty hand, as one of its main weapons: Yes and no, it all depends because the term or reference of empty hand is more philosophical in nature because all karate-ka that I have been exposed to or met or trained with all understand that karate is about the use of the human body in a manner necessary for fighting, self-fense, combatives and a way of life (the way - or “doah (do)” is a modern concept for karate) and so on. As a matter of fact, empty hand, is so modern that it can be hypothesized or theorized with confidence that the term empty was used simply for convenience since the original “China Hand” made it easier to change by simply changing the character/ideogram so the actual Japanese term could, would and did remain the same, i.e., “Karate [唐手] to [空手].” I do concur that here in the West, and now more so in Okinawa, karate-ka assume that the fist is the one of the main weapons. The question then comes to mind, is it truly the most effective weapon for defense and is it truly effective in a clinch using the karate knuckles and are those knuckles actually usable in fense, fighting and/or combative situations?

  • The question then comes to mind, is it truly the most effective weapon for defense and 
    • No, the open hand that is more appropo to the use of karate or empty hand is more effective. The karate knuckles do have their benefits and uses but not actually for fense (I will assume that means all forms such as fighting, self-fense, combatives and sports). If you need to understand a more expanded explanation as to why I feel this is true, send me a private email and I will explain my theories and perceived proofs. 
  • is it truly effective in a clinch using the karate knuckles and 
    • Maybe, I tried in self-defense as well as matches to make use of the karate fist and use the karate knuckles as a tool to hit a target but truthfully when it comes to out of the dojo actual reality - not so much. In the last clinch I was in a while ago I can tell you that my karate knuckles were far and away from any thoughts both conscious and unconscious because of the chaotic adrenal stress-conditions of the situation where my lizard was thinking, I gotta survive this mess and stop the attack (truth be told, my lizard and human brain were filled with other thoughts in that moment but I am trying to convey a point here).  This is one of the reasons the teachings of professionals through there books and articles led to to teaching about methodologies and principles over the proverbial karate-knuckles, etc. 
  • are those knuckles actually usable in fense, fighting and/or combative situations?
    • Yes and no, it depends and is often left to the chance of luck in each and every situation because to apply those karate knuckles to a specific target in the chaos of battle with a moving, aggressive and committed adversary trying to kill your ass using the karate knuckles as one of your main weapons with the assumption the mere fact of application leads to success is just plain ludicrous. It just does not work that way. 

As a rule, the two primary knuckles are used to hit the targets: Well, in most karate dojo that is the goal but in reality, not so much. There are many reasons and beliefs given to the training and application of karate knuckles but one fact, of personal experience, is if any one or number of factors that make for a karate knuckle fist is off by even a smidgeon then the whole succumbs to the many pressures and dangers of the fist in a fight. I made use of the makiwara, the heavy bag and some other tools to toughen the knuckles, strengthen and develop the support or stabilizing muscles and other such things to only, and in sparring in the dojo to boot, not combat or the fight, ended up causing an injury of my hand. Most professionals talk about the hard-to-soft/soft-to-hard rule and even with karate knuckles that rule still applies if you intent to not suffer a hand injury that, could, result in you losing the battle when it does get injured. 

Makiwara and heavy bags are two items used, along with knuckle pushups, to develop the fore-knuckles - karate knuckles: I believe the makiwara is an intricate tool necessary to study, practice and apply karate in all its forms. I do not believe in or advocate telling students that it creates the ultimate deadly fist of karate that will take out your adversary with just one blow because that is just foolishness. It is one of those promotional legends that instill a certain attitude, or stimulate and satisfy a certain attitude, in those who would sign up for lessons thinking they will become deadly warrior assassins able to defend the - whatever. It isn’t that simple. 

Karate knuckles are why and how we can successfully block a, “Short front kick” with a double punch block: First, especially with the addition of Youtube video’s and Facebook, I have never witnessed, experienced or viewed any street oriented situation of violence where one used such a kick and it was even remotely blocked by the double or single fore-knuckle block. I have come to believe that blocking is stupid in a fense situation where grave bodily harm or death is possible and all the references I provide will say just that, blocking is better served by utilizing movement and deflection when it is possible to use those tools.  As I stated elsewhere, I have witnessed many injuries using the karate knuckles and that most of those were in the controlled environment of the dojo or tournament when controlled demonstrations are performed. They do a good job of hiding it until they leave the floor but still - injuries even with the makiwara developed karate-knuckles. Karate knuckles to my mind are developed to assist the person in learning and applying both fundamental principles and multiple methodologies along with confidence and a stronger body - to mention just a few benefits, but as to one of the main weapons having this belief that karate knuckles are this awesome totally effective killing tool - not so much.

I (the author of this statement, not me) know this is possible because of how long I have done this over the past forty plus years: Well, that depends on what kind of experience they are talking about over the last forty plus years, i.e., in the dojo in practice form; in a seminar demonstration often controlled; or in a chaotic predatory attack with surprise, loss of balance and structure and while being pounded from behind while your mind/brain tries to find a focal point from which to launch a counter (oh boy, not a good place to be and very, very, very few can recover and succeed from this point). 

How does a karate-ka forge the karate knuckles of the fist, i.e., Makiwara, heavy bag, bean/rice bag and knuckle pushup training: Yep, with proper instruction and guidance this will relatively and safely get you to the awesomeness of the “Karate Knuckle Fist!” But, don’t you like it when someone says, BUT, don’t be fooled by the legends of what, when, where, why and how this awesome karate knuckled fist can achieve some awesomeness in death dealing stopping power in self-fense - take a reality pill first. If I had to add one more bit of information it would be about the makiwara for many assume one type of makiwara but there is another that is made up of a large log like hanging free type that may be more apropos to development that may, might or is possible in some small way of achieving a karate knuckle fist that is useful as only one tool of the multiple principled based methodologies necessary for legal, relevant and effective self-fense. 

In closing, in my early years I head plenty of comments that said, “If you don’t have karate knuckles, you are not doing karate.” Balderdash is all I can say. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)




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