Strike with the Elbow

The effectiveness of Kempo lies in its ability to produce effective power and accurate targeting in strikes. Those two elements are the basis for all martial arts training – how hard can you hit and where do you hit. Power in your punches is increased incrementally starting with proper posture and arm rotation. There are many components that make up a proper punch.

In fist guard position

In fist guard position

A key component of the punch is striking with the elbow. The chisel and hammer illustrate this point very well. The chisel doesn’t have any force by itself. It’s just the point of impact. The power is the hammer, which sends its power through the chisel. Likewise, the fist is just the point of impact. Use the power of the elbow to hammer the fist into the stone wall of the enemy’s defense.

The elbow is also a vessel for chi (ki or qi). It is kept bent so the chi can pool up, ready for use in the punch. Like a garden hose you bend to stop the flow of water. When you release the hose, the pent up pressure burst out.

When you practice on the makiwara board or on the bag, utilize these two components. Visualize the water pent up in your elbow, ready to burst out of your fist. And drive your chisel hand forward with the power of your elbow. Hammer the fist home. Rinse and repeat until the enemy is down or gives up.

And always strike with the strength of the elbow behind the fist. Thought it meant to actually strike with the elbow following Kenpo Joe’s elbow sets, eh?