Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Why do wuxia martial arts emphasize the palm much more than do real martial arts?

  1. #1
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    22,521

    Default Why do wuxia martial arts emphasize the palm much more than do real martial arts?

    In wuxia, it often seems that half the external unarmed combat arts are palm attacks: Hong Lung 18 Palms, Heart-Penetrating Palm, various Shaolin palms, Iron Sand Palm, Sad Palm, etc. Palm, palm, palm.

    In real world Chinese martial arts, however, the open palm doesn't seem to have much of a place. You'll much more frequently encounter closed fist techniques.

    Why do wuxia martial arts emphasize open palms while real world martial arts favor the closed fist?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    4,782

    Default

    Possibly, wuxia emphasizes qi or inner energy. With an open palm, it is more realistic for qi to come out, compared to a closed fist.
    In real marital arts, the emphasis is strength. Getting hit by a closed fist is definitely more painful than an open palm.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    171

    Default

    Getting b*tch slapped also hurts.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    472

    Default

    When you have an opponent who is moving quickly and unpredictably, the last thing you want is to keep your fingers extended as they might accidentally hit a flailing limb, or hook the opponent's sleeve while he is turning, or simply just catch the opponent's moving body at the wrong angle... CRUNCH! I found this out the hard way years ago while free-sparring (though luckily I got away with just a sprain).

    Martial arts emphasising the palm (e.g. Tai Chi, Baguazhang) typically work at close range with the limbs in contact, which limits the possible range of movement and makes it safer to employ an open hand. One exception might be Piguazhang (which uses large sweeping movements with an open hand), but I have never studied it, so I have no idea how that is supposed to work.

    Compared to a fist, the palm is a good natural weapon:

    • It takes a lot less conditioning to strike hard with (would you rather hit a wall with the heel of your hand or with your knuckles?).
    • It doesn't require an exact wrist alignment - a bent wrist with a punch can break it.
    • Taking an extra joint out of the equation means less overall power loss.
    • The inevitable tension in a tight fist tends to slow it down, meaning less power delivered. This can be mitigated somewhat by tightening it at the last instant.


    The disadvantages are:

    • Shorter range.
    • The force is dissipated over a greater surface area.
    • Increased risk of injury to the fingers.


    The vulnerability of the fingers and reduced range means that the palm is not a good front-line weapon in the way it is usually seen in Wuxia series/films. It is best employed as a weapon of opportunity after you have controlled the movements of the opponent.

  5. #5
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    22,521

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Kwok View Post
    When you have an opponent who is moving quickly and unpredictably, the last thing you want is to keep your fingers extended as they might accidentally hit a flailing limb, or hook the opponent's sleeve while he is turning, or simply just catch the opponent's moving body at the wrong angle... CRUNCH! I found this out the hard way years ago while free-sparring (though luckily I got away with just a sprain).

    Martial arts emphasising the palm (e.g. Tai Chi, Baguazhang) typically work at close range with the limbs in contact, which limits the possible range of movement and makes it safer to employ an open hand. One exception might be Piguazhang (which uses large sweeping movements with an open hand), but I have never studied it, so I have no idea how that is supposed to work.

    Compared to a fist, the palm is a good natural weapon:

    • It takes a lot less conditioning to strike hard with (would you rather hit a wall with the heel of your hand or with your knuckles?).
    • It doesn't require an exact wrist alignment - a bent wrist with a punch can break it.
    • Taking an extra joint out of the equation means less overall power loss.
    • The inevitable tension in a tight fist tends to slow it down, meaning less power delivered. This can be mitigated somewhat by tightening it at the last instant.


    The disadvantages are:

    • Shorter range.
    • The force is dissipated over a greater surface area.
    • Increased risk of injury to the fingers.


    The vulnerability of the fingers and reduced range means that the palm is not a good front-line weapon in the way it is usually seen in Wuxia series/films. It is best employed as a weapon of opportunity after you have controlled the movements of the opponent.
    Best answer. Thanks, Doc.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    24

    Default

    Btw, I have also a question. How can we imagine Hong Lung 18 Palm, if it's a real martial art? In the book and tv series, they said that Hong Lung 18 Palm was the most direct, simple and powerful attack. But there is no another explanation about the technique at all beside of that.

    So how would Hong Lung 18 Palm really work? I know that the technique is a fantasy one. And there is no real Hong Lung 18 Palm in real world martial art. But still, it's fun to imagine how it work.

    Can anyone say anything about this?

  7. #7
    Senior Member CC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    4,995

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Brainsuker View Post
    So how would Hong Lung 18 Palm really work? I know that the technique is a fantasy one. And there is no real Hong Lung 18 Palm in real world martial art. But still, it's fun to imagine how it work.

    Can anyone say anything about this?
    According to some media interpretations, you just flail about a bit and point your palm/s at the target.

    Then low resolution CGI dragons fly out from your general body area and towards the target (not always in a straight line) and does whatever you require, from blowing an enemy backwards to un-buttoning some chick's blouse.
    Its BIxie Jianfa Gawdammit you guys!!!!

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    4,782

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Brainsuker View Post
    Btw, I have also a question. How can we imagine Hong Lung 18 Palm, if it's a real martial art?
    OT: If it's real, can it "shoot" down missiles too?

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 03-13-19, 07:51 AM
  2. Replies: 62
    Last Post: 09-17-13, 07:05 AM
  3. Difference between palm wind and palm blast
    By TommyH in forum Wuxia Fiction
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 04-16-06, 06:11 AM
  4. GJ's 18 palm vs XF's 18 palm
    By Yeung Gor in forum Wuxia Fiction
    Replies: 135
    Last Post: 03-06-06, 04:12 AM
  5. Palm clash at Iron Palm Peak?
    By Ken Cheng in forum Wuxia Fiction
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 02-10-04, 07:47 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •