Open Hand Basics – Part 1 Of 2
The teet lung pai system taught at Clear’s Silat Schools includes pentjak and kuntao silat, tai chi, and aspects of shaolin chuan kung-fu, hsing-I and paqua. Although these systems are diverse in both origin and substance, they share one key similarity – the open hand concept.
This article will concentrate on the benefits of the open hand strike in general and five ways to strike in particular, as well as how they are utilized in specific styles.
1. Whipping Hits
Chi-petjut – South Javanese silat, monkey and some tai chi;
2. Slaps with arm weight from elbow or shoulder (The way most people slap)
Wing chun, choy li fut, praying mantis, tiger, tjimande, and tjikalung;
3. Open hand striking with waist power (all of the styles mentioned above)
4. Whole body power open hand striking
Hsing-I, paqua, tai chi, Tibetan systems and drunken style, kilap, kilat, pukolan, and tjimande.
5. Internal power Hitting
Open and Shut Case
These systems form the backbone of teet lung pai. The open hand offers many benefits over fist techniques. Compared to punches, open hand techniques are said to be faster, cover more surface area, deliver more knock-out power by transmitting greater shock and offering greater versatility.
Open hand techniques can become grabs, finger pokes, or fists faster and easier than fists can become something else. An open hand can also be used to defend against an elbow or knee while a fist would be powerless against such a strike.
The soft open hand molds itself around the hard parts, and the force of the hit is transmitted through the skin and into the hard inner core. Stylists use boards, bricks, hand-held striking pads and heavy bags to check the power, speed, and accuracy of their techniques.
They have found out that the small bones in the fist will not stand up to the power that the vast majority of open hand strikes can generate. This is not to say that the fist will always be weak and slow. It is just that all things being equal in the paper- scissors, rock game, the fist looses to the open hand most of the time.
Whip It Up!
The whip is a technique that can be found in most Silat styles. Some styles that commonly incorporate this technique are Kuntao, Chi-Petjut, Madi, and Tai Chi. In America, Kuntao Silat master Guy Savelli has developed the art of the whip hand to a high level.
His ability to whip strike someone to the chest, disrupts their nervous system to such an extent, their vision often becomes blurred. If full body power had been added, the subject might have died.
Among excellent teachers of the monkey form are si tai gung Tyrone Jackson, whose distance / reaching techniques allow him to hit a person from a distance of six to ten feet away and ba pak Willem de Thouars for rapid fire monkey strikes.
Also, the art of Kuntao is kung-fu that is practiced in Indonesia and Malaysia. There are over 250 Kuntao styles. Most of these styles have been modified over the centuries because of the exposure and mixture with Silat. We prefer to call these modified versions Kuntao Silat.
The mixtures of these systems in Java and Bali occur frequently enough that Malays think of the two as interchangeable. In his book The Weapons and Fighting arts of Indonesia, Don F Draeger makes the same kind of reference to “…Pentjak Bali (sometimes even Kuntao Bali)…)
There are Chinese and Indonesian styles that use slaps with arm weight from the elbow or shoulder. They include:
Wing Chun — Tan sao and press down.
Praying Mantis — Wu sao then punch.
Tiger — Sitting in a booth-arm wrapping technique and / or choy li fut
Tjimande — Juru 1 (first half) and passing techniques
Tjkalong — Cross grab and underarm elbow break.
To Be Continued in “Open Hand Basics – Part 2”