Is the chain punch good for the hand-bones?

Discussion in 'Kung Fu' started by Hazmatac, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. Hazmatac

    Hazmatac Valued Member

    Hi. I recently did a thread where I found out that if you do a boxing punch in the wrong way you can break your hand bones (metacarpals), the ones of your 3rd and pinky finger.

    My question is: is the wing-chun chain punch safe, as you hit with the ring and pinky knuckles? I was thinking that if you bend your hand in the right way then you may be positioned so the bones don't break, but I am not sure. Any opinions on this?
  2. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    A chain punch is a series of connected punches - the same theory could be applied to any 'style' of punching.

    I think you mean, "is the Wing Chun vertical fist punch good for the hand bones?"
    As with any punching, it will depending on your technique, and how you land the punch.
    If your collection of relatively small bones makes awkward contact at speed, you can expect some kind of damage, regardless of which martial art you practice.
  3. Hazmatac

    Hazmatac Valued Member

    I hear that when you do the vertical punch you are supposed to bend your hand at the wrist, so your thumb is brought towards your face along the line of the inner forearm bone. What I am asking is if this aligns the ring and pinky metacarpals so they won't break.
  4. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    This is a very close quarter punch and isn't designed to knock anyone out.

    It's great for creating that bit of space between you and your opponent. Once that space is created you should be punching in the same way as a boxer, so with the 2nd and 3rd metacarpels (some prefer flat fist).
  5. Hazmatac

    Hazmatac Valued Member

    Thanks for your reply Simon. I'm still not sure though: if you did hit hard with your last knuckles with your hand bent up, would it do damage to the metacarpals?
  6. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Yes, if what you make contact with is harder than your knuckles, or if you make a poor contact.
  7. KaliKuntaw

    KaliKuntaw Valued Member

    The placement of the chain punch and the structure in which you use it is important.

    In my home gym i have a couple of wall bags that i punch to toughen up my wrists and knuckles.
  8. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    I would imagine that hitting anything as immobile as a wall bag is going to cause some long term issues, whether you strike with good form or not...
  9. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    Three important factors that affect the impact of a punch on the hand._

    The alignment of the knuckles to the bones of the fore arm. If the knuckles are aligned to the arm bones the force of the strike is distributed evenly through the hand and forearm reducing the point force at any location.

    The density of the bones. Over time repeated striking of heavy bags, wall bags (which should have a little bit of give in them), makiwara etc. leads to an increase in bone density. Note this happens within the bone, there should be no visible sign of callousing or bone deformation in the hands.

    The strength of the tendons / soft tissue in the hand. As the fist makes impact the force of the strike works to splay the bones of the hand apart. This can cause bruising and tearing of the soft tissue in the hand. It also increases the likelihood of a break. This is the principle reason for wearing wraps, they help give the hand structural stability under the pressure of a strike.

    Used in conjunction with conditioning exercises traditional Chinese training medicines known as hit medicine or Ti ta, help to increase bone density, strengthen soft tissue so increasing the structural stability of the hand, and most importantly, prevent injury due to the conditioning exercises themselves. A correctly conditioned hand should appear soft, un-calloused, and without deformity.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013
  10. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Has any reputable medical group ever published any clinical trials to show that traditional items like Ti ta have any more measurable benefits than placebos?
  11. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    At the very least it works as a heat cream. It also contains stuff like camphor which appears to have some effect on pain response and local blood flow (evidence is mixed).
    I'd suggest that it probably works in that it allows you to keep training, which improves your bone density and tendon strength, as opposed to actively causing those things.
  12. jorvik

    jorvik Valued Member

    You have to be aware that not all Wing chun groups use the same kind of punch. Wing chun is a close in style that relies on being close in, so stuff like boxers punches or long range kicks are not included.
    I have been taught the chain punch in different ways but the best way was heavily reliant on structure and stance and was closer in resemblance to an uppercut....also there is a Wing /chun maxim which you don't hear very often is " We are not hungry to punch"....also if you look at the forms you will find that the style is more reliant on open hand strikes, many people that /I speak to do not use punches at all now because of the dangers to your fist from fracture or cutting your hand on teeth etc.
  13. Wooden Hare

    Wooden Hare Banned Banned

    Yes, there are plenty of modern studies that aren't specifically related to dit da liniments that would apply to any use of the active compounds used in them.

    The active ingredients in many dit da formulas are commonly found in OTC medicines. Examples would include camphor, menthol, ethanol, as well as powdered/crushed herbs with analgesic and anti-inflammation effects. One example of such a widely used and effective herb is common broadleaf plantain (plantago major). You can find this herb almost anywhere grass grows, and although it looks like a common weed, crushing it produces a liquid containing aucubin (antimicrobial), allantoin (promotes cell growth and regeneration), and mucilage (a pain reducing chemical). Crushed plantain has been used for thousands of years to treat all sorts of topical injury and swelling, from bruises to bee stings.

    So, next time you're in the woods and get a bite/sting/cut and have no medical kit, look for this baby, crush the leaves, and rub the juice on the affected area.


    Traditional dit da practices also include using herbal compounds for clotting open wounds, setting and splinting broken bones, and so forth. Injuries like these were so common that martial arts instructors without such training were considered inferior to those that did.

    To even become a sifu in most Hung ga lineages, you have to learn these "field" techniques in addition to all the martial ones.

    Obviously they are not necessarily the only remedies required, but worked well as stop gap and emergency medicine until you could get to better treatment/facilities. But in ancient China, finding the local dit da healer may have meant life or death.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013
  14. Wooden Hare

    Wooden Hare Banned Banned

    Ben has it. Think ancient Chinese Icy Hot, goes on feeling cool (mostly due to the alcohol content), then it dries leaving a sort of herbal heat rub.

    The modern medical community traces these "folk" remedies back as far as 3500 BC. As it turns out, some of the oldest documents in the world are written accounts of the positive effects of herbs and natural medicines.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013
  15. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    I don't know of any specific work on ti ta of the top of my head, but over the years their has been extensive work on herbal remedies in general - Comfy for example, has been shown to significantly speed the healing of broken bones, which would explain its common name - Knit bone. Comfy however is hardly ever used in European herbal medicine any more as it is very easy to overdose on it by accident leading to a decidedly non placebo death from liver failure.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  16. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    Very true, my teacher tells of how his teacher would take him around Hong Kong showing him the locations where the different plants grew, explaining how to identify the plants, and how to process them for use in medicines.
  17. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Thanks Ben. What I'm looking for is hard data though.


    Is there any reputable evidence or studies that show that the active ingredients themselves can be absorbed effectively through the skin? Or that they work properly in conjunction and remain active rather than just forming a sharp smelling paste?
    We feel and smell the effect from the immediate chemical reaction on the skin surface, and gain increased surface circulation from rubbing it in, but does the medicine actually get in? With ibuprofen gels tests have been done to show whether it penetrates effectively - have the same tests been done?

    How do we know this isn't just a heat rub?

    I was hoping for something a little more solid. I'm very much in favour of herbal and natural remedies where the active ingredients have been proven to be absorbable and effective in the manner in which they are applied, but without that evidence I can't help but feel that a healthy diet packed with nutrients and a simple rub on the sore area would be more effective.
  18. Wooden Hare

    Wooden Hare Banned Banned

    Good question. For some of the individual compounds/herbs, there is definitely strong evidence of absorption, but I don't know of any clinical studies examining entire jow mixes...I think such a study would be hard to control given the wide variety of jows. Jow recipes are typically homemade, family recipes and some have dozens of different ingredients. Whether someone's jow recipe was "effective" or not was typically spread by word of mouth, so that if you made a good jow back in the day, people came to know you had the real stuff and came to you for healing. Wong Fei Hung's father, Wong Kei Ying, became famous for the healing effectiveness of his dit da jow, and opened one of the most well-renowned healing clinics in Chinese history, the Po Chi Lam. These same dit da jow recipes are still handed down in Hung ga lineages to this day, like cooking recipes, and you can pick up the ingredients in most Asian food markets.

    So if you narrow it down to effects of individual herbs, like plantain, there is a lot more hard data, and pretty recent studies on effectiveness (when not mixed in a jar with alcohol of course).

    Some of the herbs/compounds (like plantago) are also astringent in nature and have immediate, noticeable effects on the surface of the skin. This kind of thing isn't limited to China...Native Americans once ground and boiled the bark of Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) shrubs because it reduced the swelling of bruises, tumors, and hemorrhoids...even post-partum genital swelling and bleeding from new mothers.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  19. Fujian Animal

    Fujian Animal Banned Banned

    i didn't even read this whole thread, sorry for the quick relay, but the answer i have is short, since NO punch is ever good for the hands don't know if anyone already said that or not but if so it's true

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