Ba Gua Lesson 3: Proper Hand Orientation for Close Combat

A slight difference in the way you hold your hand toward the opponent will determine if you are injured or killed; or walk-away untouched. This has to do with a VERY SERIOUS ISSUE IF YOU ARE STUDYING THE INTERNAL ARTS FOR SELF-DEFENSE. It has to do with the "default hand position," in other words, the way you will reflexively hold your hand out toward the opponent when you are attacked.

Those comparisons present two questions and a challenge. What is the correct hand / palm orientation in the internal martial arts.

1) What is the difference between an open (toward opponent) vs. edge (side of palm toward the opponent) orientation.

2)  What is the reason (use) of the open — opponent facing — palm

* See note below for comment on why and how the open palm toward the opponent became so common.

These photos are of the late Fu Zhongwen, senior disciple of t’ai-chi master Yang Cheng-fu. Notice his practice of holding the edge of the hand toward the opponent. We propose that this, for the espression of power, effective body mechanics, and pratical self-defense, is the proper hand angle for all the internal martial arts. Please consider the following photos and the hand angles shown there.

The above photos demonstrate how the outside aspect / or edge of the palm faces the opponent.