Martial arts from across the world have a massive number of various techniques and styles that can be learned by a practitioner.
Many of these can take years to be perfected and are signs that you have finally achieved a level of control, discipline, and knowledge that signifies that you are an experienced martial artist.
However, some skills and practices are encouraged to be learned at much earlier stages. They are considered essential for even starting to learn the rest of a discipline’s techniques.
In Kungfu, it might be the ability to block effectively. In Judo, it might be the nage or katame waza, a simple throw or grappling technique.
In Karate, there is no technique that is more important than the ability to throw a proper punch. or, more specifically, to be able to make a Seiken and use it correctly.
Without this knowledge and technique, you will be unable to advance much further. As a result, this is usually one of the first things that are taught in a dojo to beginners.
If you want to get a head started before you head to your first training session, then you should read the rest of this article. We are going to explain what a proper (Seiken) fist is, as well as how to do it for yourself.
We will also explain why this is a vital technique to know, and why it is dangerous to continue to practice karate before understanding this simple fist shape.
What Is A Proper Fist?
First of all, we should probably explain what we mean when we say a proper fist or Seiken when it comes to the world of Karate.
A Seiken fist simply refers to the position that your hands should be in when you are attempting to use your fist for virtually any kind of maneuver, whether it is for practice, for learning forms or Katas, or if you are in contact sparring.
Karate teachers generally considered the positioning of the Seiken to be the safest way to throw a punch, especially when it comes to Karate. For the rest of this article, we will be referring to this technique as both the Seiken and proper fist.
How To Make A Proper (Seiken) Fist?
So, as you can see, as a technique that will be used throughout your journey as you learn Karate, this is a pretty important technique to learn for yourself.
Fortunately, learning how to make a proper fist is very simple, and is easy to practice for yourself once you have learned the basics.
- First, you bend each of your fingers in half, starting from the little finger, and moving on to the rest of the hand, finishing with your index.
- Once you have your fingers folded in half, you can start to roll your fingers one by one, until they are in a fist shape that is held as tightly as possible. Start with the smallest finger again, and work your way up the hand until your index finger is rolled as well.
- Lastly, make sure that your thumb is held tightly in position. The correct position should be folded and pressed against the index and middle finger.
- As a note, do not tuck your thumb under your fingers as they roll into the palm of your hand. As we will discuss later, this can be a dangerous move for you.
- Hold your fist as tightly as you can manage, and make sure that the wrist is held straight from your forearm before you move them.
- Finally, curl your knuckles into your palms as much as possible.
And that is it! It is a very simple technique, but one that is as important as it is easy, as it will be used in many strikes and other techniques.
A few extra notes to keep in mind when practicing the Seiken for yourself:
- If you are wondering if your fingers a packed tightly enough, try and see if you can spot your fingernails. A correctly packed proper fist will not show the fingernails, making it an easy way to spot a correct technique. If you are unsure, try practicing before learning any strike moves.
- Most strikes lead with the first two knuckles, so make sure those fingers are as tightly curled and folded as possible when performing them.
Why Being Able To Make A Seiken Proper Fist Is Important?
There may be several people reading this article, and wondering why there is such an emphasis on learning this method of punching in the first place. This can especially be the case with people who are new to learning martial arts.
Well, there are a few reasons that this is the first technique that you learn.
For starters, the Seiken is the most effective striking method when using many of the other moves that you are taught in most karate styles, meaning that this is the best method of executing more advanced techniques.
Outside of simply making your technique more effective, however, it is important to earn how to use the Seiken correctly because an incorrect punch can be quite dangerous. Not just to your opponent, but more often to yourself.
We mentioned earlier that you should always tuck your thumb over your fingers when making this fist, and not underneath you’re curled.
This is because when you connect a strike with a thumb in this position, you run the risk of dislocating or even breaking, especially with a strike with a lot of force behind it.
Having your thumb stuck out whilst performing the Seiken also means that you may bend that it bends unnaturally when performing other techniques.
As you can see, learning to make a proper fist is one of the most simple, yet important skills for you to master in Karate.