Wednesday, 11 November 2020

58 - Training - Basic open hand skillset

The past month's workshops have focused on developing mastery of basic, aggressive unarmed skillsets that target the attacker's face – specifically the eyes.

Both open and closed hand (fist) tactics have been explored.

This extra skillset uses open hands.

It is easy to learn, effective with consistant practice and is low risk to apply for a person with little training.

The set is ideal as a tactic for women trainees as it doesn't rely on strength alone but rather aggression and inflicting pain and damage.

This article is shared for information purposes only as an add on skillset to the work you've already done to play with – experiment for yourselves with adding it to existing ideas or as a stand alone set up.

The training dummy has been set to 6 feet to simulate size differential to the trainee who is 5' 4” – never assume equal size or numbers!

The context of the confrontation is not covered in this article .

A clear attack is assumed for technique purposes other situations, legalities and communication are covered in depth at workshops.



The trainee stands and keeps her hands as close to the assailant's face as possible during confrontation.

This is not done in a static and obvious way but rather (as studied in workshops) in a dynamic and deceptive way that will appear in keeping with fearful body language.

Elbow joint should be angled to allow explosive movement – (not locked out or too flexed).

Fingers are spread and bent.


The first strike here is from the trainee's left hand and is a straight thrust with bodyweight driven in with it.

The hand is turned out to 9'clock to allow:

  • The thumb to impact (nail first) the right eye of the attacker.

  • The heel of the palm to transfer force to the face.

The hand then returns to a defensive position as the second strike is applied.


The right hand delivers a heel palm strike to the face, again with weight behind it. 

The fingers are turned up to 12 o'clock.

The trainee is attempting to drive the heel (boney part) of the palm as hard as possible into the face.

If the impact area is higher up towards the fingers the trainee risks hyperextending the wrist joint and also losing power.

In the picture the trainee was learning to target the jaw of the attacker so that the finger nails could also impact the eyes.

The nose is also a target along with the rest of the head as the impact may enable the trainee to cause brain splash and disorientation in the attacker.

Care should be taken – if the attacker's head is raised and the mouth open – the edges of the top teeth may punture the trainee's palm.


The right hand is retracted as before to a defensive postion and this palm strike (step 3) can be repeated with the other hand and then as fast and hard as possible with both hands until opportunity to escape has been achieved.

Eg the pattern could be 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 4 and run etc.

Experiment with adding:



Drop me a line and let me know how you get on.


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