Self Defense Techniques : Hammer Fist Strike

Basics of the hammer fist strike

1. Strike with a clenched fist, the point of impact is the lower pad of the palm below your little finger.

2. Line up your hammerfist strike by pointing at the target with your elbow.

3. The power is generated by your body mechanics driving through your shoulder down your bent arm into the fist. It is not gained by straightening the arm.

4. Effective targets for the hammer fist include the collar bone, the bridge of the nose and the upper lip on the centerline. The hammerfist can also be used for an angled attack to to the temple, the jaw and the neck especially when the opponent is pulled forward in the clinch [eg. after delivering a knee strike ].
One other target from krav maga techniques is the throat, this is applied after breaking out from a side headlock, you reach up and pull the attackers head back then use a hammer fist blow to the throat…

As well as being a powerfull strike the hammerfist has the advantage of being a safe method of attack; because you are striking with the fleshy part of the side of the hand there is very little to damage. Unlike hitting with the knuckles of a traditional punch, where you are striking with the small bones of the fingers and highly likely to break something in your hand if you hit a hard target.

Hammerfist demo

video clip by Steve Jimenez, Filmmaker: Murlin Evans

‘Reverse’ Hammer fist

Executed from a ‘neutral’ passive guard

Whipping Power

Ok that last technique was powerful but it was what I call a very ‘stiff’ technique, there’s a lot of body movement and he’s even ‘cocking’ the hand before launching the strike. I think the hammer fist lends itself really well to high impact short range striking, using ‘soft energy’ there are various names and and allsorts of eastern mystical fuss around this type of strike, some of it’s manifestations include ‘waveform’, ‘fa jing’ etc. Basically it involves creating a lot of power in a short distance, using a whipping or wave action. One Krav Maga application for a soft hammerfist that I like to use is to go from a high 360 block [ eg. to stop a roundhouse type punch ] straight into a downward whipping hammer fist to the jaw/ neck.
i’ll try to find or record a video to demonstrate, but for now this is the type energy I’m talking about…
[ you need to watch the first 8 seconds ]